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The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten: And 99 Other Thought Experiments
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The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten: And 99 Other Thought Experiments

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  1,541 ratings  ·  158 reviews
The author presents 100 thought experiments which pose a problem in a vivid and concrete way, and invites the reader to think about possible answers for him/herself. Experiments cover identity, religion, art, ethics, language, knowledge and many more. Baggini offers some ways of approaching each problem.
Unknown Binding, 306 pages
Published July 3rd 2006 by Not Avail (first published July 5th 2005)
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Here's a question for vegetarians: if a pig were raised in a comfortable and humane slaughterhouse, would you eat it? What if that pig were also genetically modified to want to be eaten - if being eaten was indeed its life's ambition? How about a genetically modified chicken that had lost its sense of self, environment, pain, pleasure etc.? It'd be like plucking a potato from the ground.

Another one, for everyone: let's say you're a doctor, and you have a patient who falls unconscious while on li
I thought this deserved 3.5 stars, but I'm perfectly happy to round up to 4 on the grounds that it was entertaining, thought-provoking, unpretentious and well-executed. Other reviewers have faulted it for lacking philosophical depth, but really - what could they have been expecting? The author makes no pretences, and the format of the book couldn't be clearer. It is what it sets out to be - 100 brief "philosophy" puzzles, each following a strict 3-page format, in which the puzzle/paradox/point o ...more
This book is like being forced to hang out with a high school philosophy teacher who tries to get the cool kids to like him by demonstrating how "crazy" philosophy can be.

Well, maybe it wasn't that bad.

But it wasn't that good either.
Sumit Singla
This one barely made it to my philosophy list. Barely.

I confess, I've been guilty of judging the book by its cover. I picked it up because I couldn't resist the lure of bacon that's practically begging to be eaten. For a meat-lover turned vegetarian due to issues of animal cruelty, a pig that wants to be eaten would be a blessing, right?

Not really, as it turns out. For, I found much of this book unpalatable and the rest indigestible. Ok, enough with the bad puns and onwards to the review. I thin
I bought this as with 100 short one page 'thought experiments' it looked like Martin Cohen's book of 101 short 'Philosophy Problems'. And indeed there are a lot of similarites, but I found the style repetitious and in places, condescending. I don't think it's as 'funny' as it wants to appear (with the quirky title and cover) and it sure ain't going to teach anyone much philosophy. Triumph of marketing over content, I guess. Bit like 'Sophie's World', in that respect.
Mar 15, 2009 Jason rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone standing in a bookstore with five minutes to kill
Recommended to Jason by: Wes B.
Amusing at times, but completely pointless at other times. Baggini's thought experiments seemed to repeat. He goes too far into "what if" land. Throughout the book he takes ideas from philosophers like Descartes and Plato and writers like Douglas Adams (hence the title) and Ray Bradbury and changes the philosopher's original scenario or vignette into his own version. I found this approach useless; I would have rather had the original at my fingertips.
Tim Williams
I have to steal another reviewer's opening sentence - Is it right to eat a pig that wants to be eaten?

The answer is - of course! Because even the ones that don't want to be eaten taste great. Mmmm, bacon...

I waffled on giving this a 4 or a 5. It has some truly great observations and discussion points. Most of the intro stories are outstanding. And writing a book like this just has to be really hard. But -

I had two things that kept me from rating this a 5. One was that some of the topics just di
Yasmine Alfouzan

This book delivers what it promises: engaging 100 thought experiments that are a wonderful introduction to the most basic philosophical puzzles. It is a great read for anyone new to philosophy and those who feel overwhelmed by the history of philosophy and keep asking themselves, "Well, where do I start?"
I, being someone who knew about half of the things discussed in this book, did not feel that it's boring or stale since the author cleverly wrote out different hypothetical scenarios as an intr
Is it right to eat a pig that wants to be eaten? The Pig That Wants to be Eaten by Julian Baggini is a very intriguing book centered on moral philosophy. The book also questions whether thinking morally or thinking rationally would be more acceptable given a number of situations. On top of that, Baggini writes the book in a way that makes the reader question their morality and own thoughts. Baggini writes in reflection of thought experiments. These are obscure stories that isolate the real worl ...more
Feb 02, 2011 Victoria rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Budding philosophers
Recommended to Victoria by: Rachael Elward
This book was a Christmas gift from an old friend who clearly knows me well. Despite having studied philosophy reasonably intensively in the past, this little book of thought experiments was both entertaining and engaging. One of the things that I love about philosophy is that it can be read and understood at many different levels and this book is no exception. Baggini has taken 100 famous philosophical conundrums, re-written them in his own words and then added a brief discussion of the topic ...more
Rarely have I come across such a thought-provoking book. The 100 interesting and mind-boggling - sometimes even otherworldly - questions make me reexamine my logical thinking. What's especially praiseworthy about this book is that it's not all about rationality. It makes references to other considerations such as social responsibility and trust, and does it in a non-didactic way.

All in all, it's a wonderful book for people who like to think about thinking.
These are 100 hypothetical situations that, for the most part, encourages the reader to question aspects of our world. As the title suggests, they are philosophical in nature, and as is the nature of philosophy, some are very annoying.

There was a situation where the reader is asked if the person sneakily using their neighbor's wifi is considered a thief and should be punished or not. The commentary kept going on and on about the "stolen" wifi, all I could think about was, "that neighbor should'v
I suppose this might be classed as "philosophy for the uninitiated"; not that there is anything wrong with that. The author makes no pretence that this is anything other than a basic set of philosophical problems designed to get the reader thinking for his or herself, and in that aim I would say he succeeds. The 100 "thought experiments" set out are wide ranging; covering ethics, religion, perception, identity, the nature of the mind, logic, and others. Generally they are variations on well-know ...more
Short articles that allows you to think about questions that you might or might not have thought of. Good way to train your brain in being critical about things around you and how you should make decisions.
Beatrix Tung
Common, but classic thought experiments. Baggini's voice is vastly annoying, he confuses many things in his own arguments, and often misses the point completely. If he was trying to troll the public, he did an excellent job. Thought experiments are also written in a way that makes them seem highly trivial (why are the names varied, and vaguely exotic?), which does not help educate the general public about philosophy. There is a possibility that unfortunately, that was not the intent of this book ...more
Amal Arrumaih
This book literally goes as following:

100 1-page Scenarios where the dilemma in the titled paraphrased over and over again and followed by a 2 page explanation and bullshit "reflections" on the scenario.

Ill give you examples of my own that might as well have been used in this book.

"What if a child really loves to be beaten, isn't beating that child resembles taking him to an amusement park, since to his perception of beating, it is really fun.

Is it morally wrong to beat that child, or are we
The title of the book is so catchy that very few new-to-philosophy-but-I-want-to-know-everything-about-everything kinda people could resist it. However, if you are expecting a deep philosophical treatise that would give you some life-changing experiences, then you would be disappointed as many others. The book doesn't claim to provide any sort of philosophical depth. It only promises to provide some mental stimulus (masturbation of mind, if you will), which would make you think and smile at the ...more
Jan 10, 2009 Mike rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who never took philosophy in college
Shelves: philosophy
This book endeavors to present 100 mind-puzzles from the world of philosophy, each with a small narrative to introduce the idea followed by a short discussion of the principles involved. The book is wide-ranging, covering many classic philosophic concepts (Zeno's paradox, Pascal's wager, theodicy, the gambler's fallacy) and areas (the roots of identity, sensation and perception, fairness, the basis for ethics, the theory of meaning and language, etc.)

I got the impression that he had gotten to th
Avendo avuto una preparazione scolastica estremamente tecnica e quindi piuttosto carente dal punto di vista "classico" ed essendo io, come forse si à notato, molto curioso, sono stato sempre piuttosto affascinato dalla filosofia, combattutto tra il ritenerla un insieme di seghe mentali a raffica ed, invece, farmi rapire da qualche testo ad hoc.E' abbastanza naturale, quindi, che un libro come "Il maiale che vuole essere mangiato ed altri 99 esperimenti mentali" abbia attirato la mia attenzione.L ...more
Benjamin Johnson
I would have rated the book higher if Baggini hadn't chosen to express a flippant and somewhat hostile attitude toward even an intelligent reverence for GOD. Many people of enormous insight and logical ability have shared this reverence and are fully aware of Baggini's novitiate objections, so it would seem from this fact alone that the subject deserves a careful and respectful consideration even from those who do not approach it with the least expectation of being persuaded by it. Baggini was d ...more
Interesting light read on questions of philosophy, morality, etc. I really enjoyed the format of framing different philosophical and moral questions in terms of a story or analogy (and the discussion that occurs after each story). Many analogies were spot on, and have stuck with me since reading it. I find it works very well for both remembering the problems and also understanding them.

Most of the stories are not really all that great, but there are enough good ones that I was happy to continue
Baggini's collection of philosophical thought experiments, brain teasers that expose the reader to complicated philosophical problems through simple hypotheticals, is not a novel. Because the book is a collection of thought experiments and not a narrative, the five stars awarded to it are not the same as the five stars awarded to the book are not the same as five stars awarded to a literary classic. Still, The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten is a phenomenal read.

Baggini explores philosophical issues
Daniel Wright
This was without doubt an intriguing and mind-opening book. There probably aren't many better books in the pop-philosophy genre out there. Through a sequence of illustrations, Baggini gives a clear exposition to a wide range of philosophical issues and ethical dilemmas. Moreover, he usually recognises (though not explicitly) that the practice of philosophy is more about asking questions than giving doctrinaire answers.

The operative word in the previous sentence, though, is "usually". There is a
All in all, this is exactly what it says on the cover. You get 100 thought experiments and a page or two of discussion. Granted, I found some experiments tedious, either because I didn't care much about the issues involved or because I'd read more extensively about them before, but because of the brief format they didn't drag on for too long. The converse of this is that you might be disappointed by the lack of depth involved in the treatment of the more interesting examples, but I don't think t ...more
In this book, Julian Baggini presents 100 thought experiments, questioning definitions, introducing paradoxes, posing ethical dilemmas, challenging assumptions and identifying fallacies. Each thought experiment is about three pages long, with an introduction in the form of a short, often out-of-this-world scenario that presents a dilemma, followed by a quick summary of the arguments in favour of either side of the dilemma. While he says in the preface that "Many lines of thought can be started f ...more
What it lacks in depth it makes up for in accessibility. Drawing on everything from Confucius to Philip K. Dick, it's a good introduction to philosophy, and each scenario is accompanied by a little breakdown which elaborates on the themes and arguments and cracks open the ideas to get the reader thinking. Whilst not always as amusing as it thinks it is, the writing style is engaging and easy to understand. If you're already a thoughtful person, or have some experience with philosophy, then you'r ...more
2010 bookcrossing journal:

I have pretty much been reading this book since I first got it, and finished it this evening. This isn't really a reflection on the book itself as I don't think it's the kind of book you sit down and read cover to cover.

It is, literally, 100 thought experiments. Each thought experiment is only about 3 pages long. There's a little scenario, followed by discussion on the subject. And generally, I'd just read one or two then put the book to the side and let those ideas rol
Nov 19, 2013 Mona is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten - what a lively tickle to my Mind. Roast pork, sausages and beer and my never ending love for Octoberfest yeah. This is definitely a feast for my voracious (mental) appetite. The sausages and bacon had come from that Pig who had been genetically engineered to be able to speak and, best of all, that noble ((oo))ノ wants to be eaten. Apparently that want to be eaten was that Pig's lifetime wish. A little hilarious, that Pig woke up on the day of the slaughter with a k ...more
Jay T.
The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten by Julian Baggini

A random buy for me, found at a book sale and I’m glad I bought this book. Containing 100 philosophical experiments that the author does not answer, but gives you the chance to think and come to a conclusion of your own. This is a fact that I very much liked about this book. The many experiments contain issues ranging from moral to social, religions to politics, zombies to personal dilemmas and vegetarians verses meat. There is no need to be a smar
Philip Stirups
Julian Baggini's book is interesting enough with some discussion into philosophical debates/ideas. However the brevity of each article is also its downfall. In lots of places the discussions are superficial and end rather abruptly. Would not recommend.
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Julian Baggini is a British philosopher and the author of several books about philosophy written for a general audience. He is the author of The Pig that Wants to be Eaten and 99 other thought experiments (2005) and is co-founder and editor of The Philosophers' Magazine. He was awarded his Ph.D. in 1996 from University College London for a thesis on the philosophy of personal identity. In addition ...more
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