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Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  1,761 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
Here at last is a coherent, unintimidating introduction to the challenging and fascinating landscape of Western philosophy. Written expressly for "anyone who believes there are big questions out there, but does not know how to approach them," Think provides a sound framework for exploring the most basic themes of philosophy, and for understanding how major philosophers hav ...more
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published October 14th 1999 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1999)
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Mark Heyne Yes, its a good introduction to Philosophy. There are many others, but i like Simon Blackburn, especially his book 'Truth', which is a good attack on…moreYes, its a good introduction to Philosophy. There are many others, but i like Simon Blackburn, especially his book 'Truth', which is a good attack on relativism. Of course Russell's History of Western Philosophy is a potted overview, but it might be a good idea to do practical 'thinking about' rather than 'history of' .(less)
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Abdulla Awachi
Oct 18, 2016 Abdulla Awachi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
كتاب ممتع مع سايمون بلاكبرن
Leon M
Jun 27, 2010 Leon M rated it it was amazing
Shelves: priority, the_best
Who am I? What is the world? Does god exist? Do I have a free will? These are questions every single one of us has asked himself in the course of his life: some only to consider them as unimportant and forget about them, others countless times, dwelling on possible answers and becoming more and more fascinated with them. If you are one of the latter - and I certainly am - this is a book for you.

Though slightly arrogant, the sub-title of the book is the best description of its contents: 'A compel
Sep 03, 2012 Ali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
... Loved it!
Simon Blackburn surely did make me think...lots. At times easier than others, and there were many times I had to re-read bit several times. There were also times that lead me to crack open a few other web pages to find out more about certain things/topics that were new to me. So, for these reasons alone, this book was quite an education.
The were times that the book tested my curiosity in the sense of suspended my previously held prejudices, and unreasoned beliefs. These times were
Grasped in Thought
Jul 13, 2012 Grasped in Thought rated it liked it
A rather well structured introduction to philosophy, Simon Blackburn's book is a good read for anybody interested in an overview of the biggest issues that contemporary philosophers are working on. An issue that one may find when reading this book is a difficult writing style. Blackburn has an odd style and it takes time to get used to the way he tries to get his point across. If you can get past the difficult prose, it's a solid introductory text.
ثريا بترجي
Dec 08, 2008 ثريا بترجي rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
The kind of books you read when you are bored .. it will surly make you ..THINK!and re-think it all over again
Tomid Tomid
Jul 04, 2012 Tomid Tomid rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Pitched as an introduction to philosophy, this book is actually very heavy going. Time and again I found myself re-reading sentences several times until I concluded that I couldn't get what the author was trying to say, before moving on to the next sentence, with some amount of hope that the previous sentence wasn't important anyway. It seems to me that modern philosophers have all reached the conclusion that the big questions have already all been answered as well as they are ever going to be. ...more
Michael A
May 21, 2014 Michael A rated it really liked it
I find myself interested in philosophy, but very rarely do I come across something that keeps my interest. This is especially true of original texts -- they might very well be some of the most convoluted tomes to be ever written by man. I quickly give up trying to understand the content even with the best of intentions in mind.

Finding this book, then, was a bit of a godsend. In fact, reading it has given me an incentive to go back and try reading Hume and Descartes again (among others). Though,
Sep 06, 2016 Hasan rated it liked it
Finally! This book was handed over by a friend, was highly recommended by him. After going through 8 chapters filled with intense debates by past and today’s greatest philosophical minds, I came to the conclusion that the idea of ‘God’ should be left alone to the mind of one who feels to understand it. I don’t think this idea could ever be explained by science and even if we tried would leave more questions than giving answers.

Moreover, I think this book kind of answered the excuse most people
Mar 23, 2015 Adel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
This is neat. NEAT! A brilliant introduction to the major topics and problems of philosophy (the big questions),presenting some famous philosophers and their arguments, and counter arguments . The chapters that I liked most are the ones about epistemology (at least it will make you question things that you take for granted),the mind ,and free will (some serious things in this chapter,I had some views about it ,but determinism always rules). His approach on ethics is new to me ("plurality of conc ...more
Stone Pan
Jan 13, 2016 Stone Pan rated it liked it
This book covers many interesting philosophical topics. I Loved most of the chapters and arguments. And for the parts that I didn't like.. it was basically I couldn't understand them.. If the aim of this book is for "compelling" introduction, the author should have dumb it down a little bit more. Getting to the point straight and concisely is what matters. Not confusion or being smart.

I don't want to blame the author though, it's his style. All I'm saying if the readers want like a map that lay
Sep 18, 2013 Armin rated it it was amazing
Simon Blackburn is a terrific writer. This is philosophy writing at its best. I don’t know why more philosophers don’t try to write “popular philosophy” books. 'Think' is a superb introductory philosophy book for everyone. There are 8 chapters: Knowledge, Mind, Free Will, The Self, God, Reasoning, The World, and What to Do. I found the first few chapters better than the last few. You don’t need a background in philosophy to enjoy the book. However, it will be most beneficial to have read Hume’s ...more
Aung Kaung
Feb 13, 2016 Aung Kaung rated it liked it
Centered on Descartes, it gradually expands to the fundamental problems of epistemology, skepticism, free will and logic with arguments of Kant, Hume etc. As the writer said in the preface of the book, he dedicated the book for the general public and the book won’t scare someone who is not familiar with philosophy. However, I would not recommend it to someone who has already known the basic foundations of Western Philosophy. But the title, Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy is a bit ...more
Mark Fallon
Jun 04, 2016 Mark Fallon rated it really liked it
A short book that is a long read. While the author intends it to be an "introduction to philosophy", I believe it is better described as "general overview of philosophy", as the reader should have a good foundation in classical philosophy before reading.

The best part of the book - it fulfilled the premise of the title, it made me think.
John Martindale
Jan 12, 2011 John Martindale rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Blackburn is biased and does not seek to hide it. The book is written from a scientific naturalist perspective and thus argues against the existence of a soul, free will, a God or anything supernatural. I have enjoyed it for its spurred me on to further study and re-awoke an interest in Christian apologetics.
Wiebke (1book1review)
I did enjoy listening to this. It is very well done and in the beginning easy to follow. Towards the middle I had some trouble following, but I doubt that reading it in print would've improved that.
Oct 22, 2015 Bryan rated it really liked it
I like to think about the big questions of Philosophy. What am I? What is consciousness? Do we have Free Will? Why is there something and not nothing? These are just a few questions that roll around in my mind. The author does a good job of introducing these questions and the different philosophical schools of thought about them.

The first topic the author covers is knowledge. Specifically, he covers four areas, rational foundationalism, natural foundationalism, coherentism, and scepticism. He st
Logan Shreck
Feb 17, 2016 Logan Shreck rated it really liked it
From the first sentence to the last, author Simon Blackburn dissects the relation between the world we live in and the world we want. As he discusses things like knowledge, mind, free will, and self discovery we plunge into the basic ideals and principals of philosophy. Through basic examples and scenarios Simon grasps the fundamentals of ancient philosophers by tying the two worlds together in a more palatable form. For most people this book makes you question social normality’s that function i ...more
Charlie  Hix
Oct 04, 2013 Charlie Hix rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy, own
This is a basic introduction to philosophy. It's possibly a good intro for a college philosophy class. What sets it a part from others is that it's not a history of philosophy- it doesn't follow a timeline of famous philosophers and their teachings. Rather the writer - Blackburn- takes on a number of key topics: knowledge, reason, truth, mind, freedom, destiny, identity, God, goodness and justice. He poses problems through analogies to ordinary situations, then references how others (philosopher ...more
Allie Sheets
Think does exactly what it's title says- it makes you think. This is the first philosophy based book that I have ever read. It introduces many topics and discussions that philosophy is based upon. Questions such as, How do we know that what we do is really our free will or just that we think it is? How do we know if the color blue that I'm seeing is the same color that you see? How do we know if God truly exists? All these questions, plus more, are examined in this book. It was not a one-sided b ...more
Robert St.Amant
May 26, 2012 Robert St.Amant rated it it was amazing
Blackburn's subtitle, A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy, is exactly on target. The eight chapters in Think cover knowledge, mind, free will, the self, God, reasoning, the world, and what to do. The usual suspects are covered: Plato's cave, Descartes' demon, Theseus' ship, and so forth. Consider Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God (essentially, God is a being greater than which none can be conceived; if God existed only in our understanding, it would be possible to concei ...more
Jun 07, 2015 Sarah rated it did not like it
I've always wanted to learn more about philosophy, get ot understand the value of the field.
For a book that states in the opening that it's mission is to show people that philosophy isn't a waste of time, honestly 100 pages in that exactly what I started to think. An excess of time and thought has gone in over the ages to overthinking the origins or things like the soul and free will, and while the first couple pages of each concept were interesting, all the philosophers just start to walk in c
Kurt Douglass
Feb 08, 2016 Kurt Douglass rated it liked it
This little book is more challenging than it appears. While it's readable, it's much more cerebral and academic than I expected. Some chapters I skipped or skimmed because the topic was difficult to follow (esp. the chapter on Reasoning, which presents logic as mathematical formulae). Other chapters, like those on Free Will and God, were more accessible, although your comprehension will depend on your interest in the topic.

Although marketed as such, it is not the best introduction to philosophy
Jul 17, 2016 Ali added it
Okay first of all, this is not a beginner's book on philosophy. There are complex ideas explained in it that sometimes require prior knowledge on the subject.

Critically, the book can be divided into three parts. In first part, the author doesn't quite succeed in developing an interest in philosophy as a discipline, but rather presents it as a brain teasing way of finding answers to problems that today's physics, physiology and psychology have already answered much more efficiently. The second pa
Ashley Evans
Mar 12, 2016 Ashley Evans rated it really liked it
A great introduction into philosophy, at times the language used to can be difficult to understand and may require re-reading it a few times to understand what the passage is trying to say. I also want to say that Simon Blackburn has made it very easy to read at the same time by deciphering some phrases for people to understand relating to simple or life lessons that you have experienced. This book will change the way you look at life and help you understand and maybe intrigue the hidden philoso ...more
May 24, 2016 Seamusin rated it really liked it
I wish I had read this as a teen, when I first got interested in philosophy. A really nice whirlwind tour that leaves me with the sense that I have a good basic overview of the realm of philosophy, despite the countless philosophers, opinions, terms and -isms out there. Upon his suggestion in the introduction, I read Hume, Descartes and Berkeley alongside, and found the simultaneous reading to balance well. He would select out key passages from these (and other works), rephrase if need be, and b ...more
Jun 29, 2016 Jon rated it it was amazing
This book is one of my personal favorites. It lives up to its billing as a "compelling introduction to philosophy." Using plenty of accessible examples and clear prose, Blackburn surveys eight enduring questions: Knowledge, Mind, Free Will, The Self, God, Reasoning, The World, and What to Do. At 300 pages, it's long enough to provide an overview of the big topics, concepts, and names, but it's also short enough to avoid being ponderous. The small size of the book makes it even more inviting and ...more
Sep 18, 2012 Defaceo rated it really liked it
While The best introduction to philosophy is studying logic and then picking up an anthology concerning a philosophical topic (like Ethics or Meta-Ethics), this is second best from what I'm familiar with.
The History of ideas (i.e. the history of philosophy) genre tends to expand on ideas and not arguments. How people actually justified those ideas, how they argued in favor of them are usually not a part of the tale.
Blackburn does include those as a part of his tale. So this is an actual introdu
Alex Venditti
I have to admit that I skipped a few chunks of this books so I can't really class myself as having read it but as an introduction goes it was a bit dull at times, it is probably more useful for someone who already knows the subject or has a greater interest in it.

This book had some very interesting parts though, like the chapters on Free Will and God but the ones on Reasoning and The World I found were very dull. I may try to read this again in a few years in case I was just not ready for it.

Dec 24, 2013 Scott rated it it was ok
While not a bad book I feel this is thoroughly misrepresented as a introductory text. Blackburn presupposes a understanding of several philosophical ideas while offering what is best described as a recap. If I'd read this without my background I'd have probably gave up.

Thankfully I've got a degree in philosophy so this was a gentle recap. This is a book I'd recommend to a first year philosophy student to consolidate their learning. If you've read a handful of classic texts then this might be wo
Sep 11, 2015 Ietrio rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thought
Nice. Nothing special. But a good breath of air in the French publication environment. I have picked this book almost at random from a bookshelf. Being in French and about philosophy I assumed the worse, only to be faced with a text that is at least clear. I was particularly amused how easy could be done, even in French, the explanation that humans have or have not a free will. If only two bit clowns like Onfray or the other philosophers by diploma would read such books!
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Simon Blackburn is Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy in the University of Cambridge.
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“Imagination abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters: united with her, she is the mother of the arts and the source of her wonders.” 1 likes
“Our concepts or ideas form the mental housing in which we live. We may end up proud of the structures we have built. Or we may believe that they need dismantling and starting afresh. But first, we have to know what they are.” 0 likes
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