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The Philosophy Gym: 25 Short Adventures in Thinking

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  405 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
From Descartes to designer babies, The Philosophy Gym poses questions about some of history's most important philosophical issues, ranging in difficulty from pretty easy to very challenging. He brings new perspectives to age-old conundrums while also tackling modern-day dilemmas -- some for the first time. Begin your warm up by contemplating whether a pickled sheep can tru ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published December 16th 2003 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published March 3rd 2003)
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Mar 17, 2008 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Are you an armchair philosopher? Do you enjoy pondering life's great questions, such as the possibility of free will or the existence of God? If so, then this book is for you. Stephen Law has written a wonderful book that explores 25 great questions from the perspective of various philosophical approaches. His answers may surprise you. Can we expect the Sun to rise tomorrow? Is it art? Does God exist? Do we have free will? These are just a few of the many questions Law explores.

I particularly li
Paco Rodriguez
Jul 08, 2013 Paco Rodriguez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice and accessible introduction to philosophical issues, Law seems to be a good at popularizing some of the most interesting problems in philosophy. Showing that most of the times philosophy is not good because it gives us answers to such problems, but gives us thinking tools to try to deal with them. Although the chapters seem very brief, they give a good outline of what the mayor positions are for each topic, and how one can dig deeper to try to find the truth and falsehood of these positions ...more
Feb 08, 2015 Jibran rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
A fantastic intellectual adventure for those just getting started on philosophy. I read it many years ago. The book delivers on its promise. It got me into mental gymnasium to build my critical-thinking muscle. Uh, I don't like the metaphor. But this book indeed is a philosophy gym.

For those who are wary of the lingo, of the highly technical and formalised prose of philosophers, this book is a challenging as well as an entertaining read.
2.5 stars. Because the further readings are terrible: just compare them with James Rachels's Problems from Philosophy. Because the writing is unnecessarily repetitive and generally weak otherwise: entire clauses appear more than once within successive paragraphs, only partially modified. And because Law's only "dead cert" seems to be god's non-existence: almost every chapter has a "Conclusions" section stating that no definitive conclusions are possible for that topic. But because i so eagerly w ...more
Stan Bartkus
Oct 07, 2014 Stan Bartkus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really nice way to introduce the tools of thinking. The first 24 chapters each give a problem and the scripted debate over it. Putting a label on each new concept. One concept per chapter.

The final chapter puts the 'icing' on the cake with "Seven Paradoxes" some of which have been kicked around by the world's best minds for 2,000 years without really good answers.
Feb 27, 2008 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Really great, short exercises that illustrate philosophical quandries and all sides of the argument. For example, "What's Wrong with Gay Sex?" exposes the fallacies in the many common arguments against homosexuality. One by one the "arguments" by way of appeals to the Bible, "unnaturalness," "dirtiness," "unhealthiness," "corruption of the young," "family values," and alleged promiscuity are shot down for logical reasons, all via a hypothtical conversation with God.

Likewise issues of personal i
Mark Bates
Reading philosophy is confusing it a requirement that all philosophers be atheists?
Aug 13, 2015 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mid 3. Law deserves great credit for publishing this accessible guide covering 25 fundamental philosophical questions, ranging from the nature of art to the existence of God. The author has cleverly created fictional characters to posit conflicting interpretations of these central issues, before offering his own balanced assessment. Yet, as this reader explored`more of these questions, with the growing frustration at not being able to delve deeper into each question, the curiosity kept rising as ...more
Danny Borland
Jun 30, 2014 Danny Borland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An easy read every man woman and teenager should read this book.
Ooh - interesting! I like it :)
Sep 19, 2008 Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun book to practice thinking philosophically. It is not pitched at a very high level, but there are some really interesting questions addressed, the kind that you can spend a lot of time thinking about. If you spend an evening on each one of the chapters, you will get some idea of how little time we spend thinking about the underlying foundations of some of our beliefs and knowledge. A decent antidote to uncritical thinking, but it will leave you wanting more information. AND, that's ...more
Mehlab Jameel
Jun 16, 2012 Mehlab Jameel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book comprises of more than 20 most famous philosophical debates. Stephen Law has presented these debates in such a good and simplified style that one can't help appreciating him for this effort.
The language is simple, the thoughts deep and every chapter is in the form of a dialogue, which helps readers grasp the ideas in an efficient manner. This book is perfect for students who are beginners at philosophy. This can serve as an excellent text book.
Jun 16, 2010 Divasaurus rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
The book delves into philosophical questions and organised its theories and arguments clearly, succinctly and creatively. I thought it was a bit boring at first, but then I started to appreciate the way it was written- in plain English and with mini-stories too!- and its content. I definitely want to re-read it. Plus for those who want to read more 'academic' Philosophical arguments, at the end of each chapter, Law makes a list for the interested. [;
Nick Davies
This was quite light, and pretty populist, but has some interesting points. The nature of the book - in that it intended to make you think about several aspects of life and the mind.. as opposed to actually answering all the questions it posed - did limit the level of completion that the book could offer to those seeking to know more about philosophy, but it did contain thought experiments which were enlightening and challenging.
Apr 12, 2007 abatage rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A series of chapters that break down the popular philosophical questions and beliefs into simple terms and plain english. I really enjoyed the style of this book and the way that I didn't feel like I was reading something for idiots, but still found it simple and logical. A very apt title for a book that gets your philosophical mind thinking with some very ponderous questions and ideas.
Dave Wiebe
Philosophy is mostly silly and silly answers or no answers at all to the silly questions it asks. For example: do other people exist if all I know is my own consciousness? (no) Should we expect the sun to rise tomorrow? (no) This statement is false. It's a paradox! Oh no! Everybody panic! Just silly.
Feb 10, 2010 Sophie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really great book dealing with interesting philosophical questions. It doesn't supply any answers, though, it just gives the readers clues that help making up her or his mind, just like a good book on philosophy should. This one really makes you think, and it's relatively easy to read. Recommended.

Oct 27, 2009 Aziz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fledgling philosophy students
Recommended to Aziz by: philosophy lecturer
Doesn't go into huge depth on any of the subjects stated, instead it provides a background to many of the great philosophical questions. This, it does excellently in a variety of formats.

Perfect for the fledgling philosophy student or just anyone with a natural inclination to inquisitiveness.
Jul 15, 2011 RedSparrow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
An excellent introduction to some of the basic questions philosophy raises. I enjoyed Law's writing style, it particularly suited the nature of the 'exercises' and his scenarios were clever and engaging. A useful resource to make one's way into thinking philosophically.
Raditya Dika
a very very very interesting books on philosophy. i've made this one my bible tho i lost it now (figures i left it in my old apartment,anyhoo..). love the chapters on time travel and homosexuality and morality.. it simplifies what could be a very exhausting read.
Feb 02, 2011 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great resource for those just getting into philosophy/philosophical thought, especially for those in high school. Most of the thought experiments are presented in dialogue, in the form of a debate. I especially enjoyed the chapter on determinism.
Nov 29, 2011 Jay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book I used to get into philosophy when I was in high school. It's a really good book for that purpose and provides suggestions for further reading with each topic since the book is simply a survey of philosophy from 30,000 feet.
Aug 06, 2012 Joshua rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this book was required reading for my first year philosophy class, I've found myself picking it up from time to time and reading a chapter here and there. Easily accessible and self aware.
An excellent selection of imaginary philosophy discussions covering various important issues. I particularly liked the section demolishing the arguments for relative morality
Arbi Valentinus
May 06, 2008 Arbi Valentinus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you love logical debate both of scientist and spiritual person, you will surely find this book as adventurous as stated in the subtitle. Read it, like it or love it.
May 02, 2015 Aqsa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant arguments, easily understandable and fun to read. This is a rare book on philosophy which is as good as a bedtime story book.
25 fun, little, thought provoking scenarios. I didn't enjoy this one as much as Philosophy Rocks somehow but it was still good.
Aug 13, 2015 Farrell rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like the intro to this book better... But there are no prompts? I'm not sure how to complete the "exercises".
if i hadn't been required to read this for a philosphy class i probably wouldn't have bothered with it.
Aug 03, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this for Men's BS night. I loved it, but was 50/50 for the group.
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Stephen Law is a philosopher who teaches at Heythrop College in the University of London. He also edits the journal THINK, a source of philosophy aimed at the general public, affiliated with The Royal Institute of Philosophy.
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