In showing how the great philosophers of human history lived and thought – and what they thought about – Peter Cave provides an accessible and enjoyable introduction to thinking philosophically and how it can change our everyday lives. With a lightness of touch, he addresses questions such as: Is there anything ‘out there’ that gives meaning to our lives? Does reality tell us how we ought to live? What indeed is reality and what is appearance – and how can we tell the difference?
This book paints vivid portraits of an assortment of inspiring thinkers: from Lao Tzu to Avicenna to Iris Murdoch; from Hannah Arendt to Socrates and Plato to Karl Marx; from Kierkegaard and Nietzsche to Sartre to Samuel Beckett – and let us not forget Lewis Carroll for some thought-provoking fantasies and Ludwig Wittgenstein for the anguishes of a genius. As well as displaying optimists and pessimists, believers and non-believers, the book displays relevance to current affairs, from free speech to abortion to the treatment of animals to our leaders’ moral character.
In each brief chapter, Cave brings to life these often prescient, always compelling philosophical thinkers, showing how their ways of approaching the world grew out of their own lives and times and how we may make valuable use of their insights today. Now, more than ever, we need to understand how to live, and how to understand the world around us. This is the perfect guide.