A Beginner's Guide to Reality: Exploring Our Everyday Adventures in Wonderland
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A Beginner's Guide to Reality: Exploring Our Everyday Adventures in Wonderland

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  119 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Have you ever wondered if the world is really there when you’re not looking? We tend to take the reality of our world very much for granted. This book will lead you down the rabbit hole in search of something we can point to, hang our hats on, and say this is real. Along the way Jim Baggott presents the important arguments concerning the nature reality as examined by the w...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 17th 2009 by Pegasus (first published November 1st 2005)
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La pointe de la sauce
Does colour exist in the dark?

A couple of weeks ago I started discussion with Greg about our perception of reality. At the end of the discussion I had the distinct impression that I wasn't putting my point across effectively due to, I don't know, let's say pure ignorance on the subject, whereas Greg effectively used a number of arguments to show that my view of the intrinsic nature of colour is problematic.

Hmmm, after reading this book I still disagree. Below I have made up a jumbled up summary...more
Marc Nash
An accessible summary of the history of thought on just what the nature of reality might be. It uses every day examples of money & marriage to explain socially constructed consensus reality. It talks of Plato's cave of shadow perception rather than direct sight as still being relevant today. The author uses films such as "The Matrix" and "Terminator" and Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide..." to entertaining effect. It's only in the penultimate 2 chapters that it gets a bit science heavy as i...more
Todd
A very good overview. I wish he had spent more time examining social reality rather than physical though. While the "rabbit hole" of physical reality is of great interest to academics and science geeks, it is the social reality that has the greatest effect on our daily, lived experiences, and it is the social reality that is ultimately what humanity is actually capable of changing. He did manage to point out a number of myths and fallacies about our perceived social reality but it felt like the...more
M. Patrick
In last five or so years that I have been listening to audio books, I have chosen to listen to several nonfiction books on philosopy and even more on science, learning from all and enjoying most. Today I finished A Beginner's Guide to Reality by Jim Baggott and have decided that it is the best of those listens in which the author tried to reconcile science and philosophy as methods of determing what is real and what is not. Baggott develops his discussion chronologically by beginning with Sccra...more
Jasen Tenney
Haven’t enjoyed a philosophy book this much in a long time. A thought provoking and highly accessible guide to metaphysics.
Jeremy
Somewhat charming, if smugly so, and trite overview of the philosophical history of the concept of reality. Baggot relies on too many references to The Matrix and pop-culture, while never really establishing his own stance. It didn't quite do it for me.
Nick
What started out as an extremely interesting philosophical read with a pop culture twist devolved into a highly repetitive lesson straight out of a textbook. Probably should have given it 2 stars, but I did really appreciate the initial approached
Matt
Since my local Borders store is having a going out of business sale, I decided to see if I could get any good deals on books. I browsed the under stocked philosophy section, and I found Jim Baggott's book titled A Beginner's Guide to Reality. I read the first chapter in the store; it seemed to be a very promising read. The first eight chapters of the book are interesting, and it really demonstrates a lot about our perception of reality. Starting with chapter 9 until the end of the book is like r...more
Misha
რა არის რეალობა? არის კი ყველაფერი რეალური რასაც ვხედავთ ვეხებით და ვგრძნობთ? ეს წიგნი, საგნები თქვენს ირგვლივ, მთები, მდელოები, მდინარეები? რა არის საერთოდ რეალობა? ასეთ ფუნდამენტურ თემას ეხება წიგნი. შეიძლება ერთი შეხედვით ეს ყველაფერი ნათელია, "რეალურია!" - იტყვით, მაგრამ სანამ ერთმნიშვნელოვან დასკვნას გამოიტანთ ჯერ ეს წიგნი წაიკითხეთ. პირველი ნაწილი ეხება სოციალურ რეალობას რომელიც მხოლოდ ჩვენს გონებაში შეიძლება არსებობდეს, (სხვა ადგილი მისთვის არ არსებობს) მეორე ნაწილში ვმოგზაურობთ ფილოსოფიუ...more
Nicole
Brilliant intro to what "reality" actually means.
The book is split into three main chapters discussing Money (social reality and the societal systems we have built for ourselves), Colours (reality as we perceive it via our senses) and Light (what is actually there in a particle physics sense regardless of what we can perceive).
It is all written in a simply enough for anyone to understand, but not condescendingly. I still have trouble with the physics part - I have never been a physics buff - and...more
TheIron Paw
May 30, 2013 TheIron Paw rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: science and/or philosophy fans
Shelves: science, philosophy
What a great book, combining philosophy and science to explore the reality of "reality". Baggott ranges from Plato's caves, to Descartes and Kant, to Schrodinger's Cat. He discusses reality from 3 perspectives: socially constructed reality (so you thought money was real?), physical reality (all this time I thought my "red" was the same as yours), and finally how science deals with, or fails to deal with reality (to think that the universe may only be a collapsed wave function in a conscious mind...more
Stephen
Since a kid I've always wondered what is reality, how do we perceive it and what does science tells us about universe we are a part of.

This is a great trip down the rabbit hole on the different schools of thought, which I found utterly fascinating.

At the end of the day, we couldn't put our finger on school of thought and say this is real and I don't think that we will know for sure in my life time, but I find it very interesting to think about.

I think the book is well laid out and a must read f...more
Jackie Johnson
I LOVED this book, so great.
Alan
Informative, intriguing and mind boggling.
Elfdart
i really enjoyed reading this book. its a great metaphysical book for beginners and makes you question what reality really is. for the most part, the author goes about this using reason, but in the last part he goes a bit into quantam physics, not to put you off it of course!!! its a great read, even if your not a philosophy major, it written in a very readable way. i would strongly recommend this!!
Matt
Aug 06, 2011 Matt rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with an interest in philosophy, but isn't interested in plowing through 10 books. lol
A fascinating book that overviews 3 styles of philosophy. The author is careful to not let his own views taint his presentation of the methods, until he reveals his own feelings towards the end of the book. While it's not exactly 'light' reading, it's not too complex or hard to get though, and the author has an approachable style of writing with good humor injected into it. A fine book, indeed!
ron newman
This book was divided into three parts. The first two were entertaining on the reality of money and social conventions like marriage and countries. The biggest kicker was the Ancestor Simulation thoery. But it bogged down for me on the Quantum Physics and became more of a chore than an entertaining or thought provoking read. So thumbs up for the lighter half and thumbs down to quantum thoeries.
carynn
So I loved this book, well all of it until the bits that I didn’t understand, I got a bit confused with the quantum particles. I was going so well up until then...

Otherwise it’s written really clearly, all the philosophy sections were really easy to follow, and Baggott has a great sense of humour.

But will definitely read it again, when I’m feeling slightly more intellectual.


Sam
"Baggot guides the reader on an interesting journey trying to discover reality, from ancient philosophy up through quantum physics. Although, he does a really good job of describing the issues in laymen terms, the nature of the topics can be a bit hard to follow. It might be a bit of a stretch to claim this as a ""Beginner's Guide."""
Melanie
I thought this book was a good general overview of the development of philosophical ideas from Plato to quantum mechanics. Although some of the scientific ideas seemed unnecessarily complicated, I found this book to be very well thought out and organized, with a good flow of ideas.
Stu
I rarely leave a book unfinished but wasn't able to finish it. If you're a total science geek then maybe you'll enjoy it :)
Castorp02
A well readable and comprehensive introduction into some of the most important topics of philosophy.
Robbie Fitzgerald
Extremely boring and repetitive. Dude makes the same points over and over.
H Wesselius
well written, interesting and makes you think.
Michele
Michele marked it as to-read
Aug 25, 2014
Emilio Marrero
Emilio Marrero marked it as to-read
Aug 25, 2014
Andrea Balfour
Andrea Balfour marked it as to-read
Aug 24, 2014
Pedro
Pedro marked it as to-read
Aug 10, 2014
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