This book is not simply a story, it is a vehicle for a set of ideas about free markets, capitalism and the power of the individual to defy the state aThis book is not simply a story, it is a vehicle for a set of ideas about free markets, capitalism and the power of the individual to defy the state and misguided leftist ideas. The writing is quite dense in places and it would be fair to say Ayn Rand does not have a gift for crafting romantic scenes, but the overall message the book espouses is worthy of study. Indeed, the notion that a socialist state will ultimately destroy the society it claims to be saving is very relevant to our times. Atlas Shrugged has never been more important. Don't be put off by lefties who say the book is a selfish fantasy or that Rand's ideas are "evil" - none of these critics have ever taken the time to read her books all the way through and understand the ideas being put across. Who is John Galt?...more
It is hard to choose a "favourite" from amongst Nietzsche's works because they are all amazing, both as literature and as philosophy. However, the "TwIt is hard to choose a "favourite" from amongst Nietzsche's works because they are all amazing, both as literature and as philosophy. However, the "Twilight of the Idols" and "The Anti-Christ" essays are so scintillating that they stand out as some of Nietzsche's finest work. Though he does not put forward any specific theories or doctrines (indeed, Nietzsche would consider the very notion of his putting forward a theory as preposterous) he consolidates much of what he has written thus far and does so with such panache, such delicious wit that it is irresistible. No philosopher can challenge you as much as Nietzsche, nor can any writer make you laugh as much. His genius froths over in abundance here, making his ultimate descent into madness all the sadder.
If you've never read Nietzsche before, this is a great place to start. And if you have, this will cement your love for both his ideas and his writing in equal measure....more
"The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao."
To try and capture what the Tao Te Ching is in a review is not only impossible; it is also entirely"The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao."
To try and capture what the Tao Te Ching is in a review is not only impossible; it is also entirely against what the Tao is about. All I can say is that I have never read anything so beautiful that contained so few words yet carried so much meaning.
This book holds a place at the forefront of inter-faith diaologue, portraying the ethics and morality of Confucian doctrine in relation to religious bThis book holds a place at the forefront of inter-faith diaologue, portraying the ethics and morality of Confucian doctrine in relation to religious beliefs. Dr. Yao draws on a great number of sources to produce truly persuasive arguments and clever insights that demonstrate how the two traditions of Christianity and Confucianism are not so far apart as some might believe. Even if you are new to the concepts of Confucius's philosophy or the doctrines of Christ, Dr. Yao gives excellent objective overviews of both. This book is essential reading for a greater cultural understanding of the Chinese people and their customs in relation to those of the West....more
In this unassuming volume, de Bary attempts to outline what he believes to be a central contradiction inherent in Confucian philosophy. In essence, heIn this unassuming volume, de Bary attempts to outline what he believes to be a central contradiction inherent in Confucian philosophy. In essence, he argues that the very nature of Confucian ethics dictates that those who adhere to them are prohibited, by the nature of their beliefs, from actively carrying them out to their fullest extent. The argument is clear, concise and well grounded. It draws comparisons between Confucian scholars on the one hand and Old Testament prophets on the other. Far from undermining Confucianism as a philosophy, de Bary succeeds in explaining why such a positive system of ethics failed to truly take hold in the manner in which it was espoused by the likes of Confucius and Mencius. A fascinating piece of scholarship....more
Few philosophers have had as big an impact throughout history as Kongzi (known to the English-speaking world as Confucius). His teachings influenced eFew philosophers have had as big an impact throughout history as Kongzi (known to the English-speaking world as Confucius). His teachings influenced entire dynasties throughout East Asia, though none more so than in his home country, China. To understand Chinese culture and Chinese values, you need to understand Kongzi, and the Analects (or "Lunyu" in Chinese) are the heart of what he taught. They are a collection of his sayings gathered together by his disciples, ranging over all kinds of issues from politics and relationships to manners and good conduct. Family and education form the fundamental core of Confucian ethics, and from these seminal teachings the various schools of Confucian philosophy grew.
Today, in spite of the Cultural Revolution's direct assault on Confucian philosophy, Confucius himself is still revered in China. Confucian academies are being set up throughout the world as a direct result of the emphasis on learning and education prevalent in the Analects. If you read just one book on Chinese thought, this should be the one....more
One of Plato's earlier dialogues, and one which ends in a state of aporia rather than any kind of definitive answer. Socrates tackles the problem of wOne of Plato's earlier dialogues, and one which ends in a state of aporia rather than any kind of definitive answer. Socrates tackles the problem of what virtue is, and in so doing reveals the idea that human beings contain knowledge that they themselves do not know. This seemingly paradoxical concept is demonstrated by a geometric piece of deduction that Socrates elicits from a slave boy. Socrates posits that our souls exist in the realm of the Forms prior to entering into our earthly bodies, and that as such our souls contain the knowledge of the Forms. For us to gain this "latent" knowledge, we have to pursue it through rigorous questioning.
The dialogue also puts forward the Socratic argument that nobody ever willingly chooses the bad (where "the bad" is something that is bad for us). The arguments rests on the assumption that if we truly know the consequences of a particular action we will only perform it if the consequences will be good for us.
Overall, this is a short dialogue and an intriguing one at that, but does not rank amongst Plato's best....more
When Bishop Berkeley first published his theory of Immaterialism (also known as Idealism, not to be confused with idealising) he was mocked by many ofWhen Bishop Berkeley first published his theory of Immaterialism (also known as Idealism, not to be confused with idealising) he was mocked by many of the prominent thinkers of the day, including Samuel Johnson (of dictionary fame) who, when asked of his opinion kicked a rock and roared "I refute Berkeley thus!" Centuries later, and with the advent of quantum physics (particularly the Copenhagen interpretation), it would appear that Berkeley may well have been ahead of his time.
In essence, his theory states that matter as we understand it is an illusion: it cannot be proven to exist and therefore, by arch-scepticism, it must be assumed not to exist at all. What we are left with is perception: the rock does not exist in and of itself, only my perception of the rock. As such, nothing exists unless it is perceived. Thus the ontological burden is placed upon the agent of perception (i.e. you and me) rather than on the object of perception itself.
There are, of course, elements of Berkeley's theory that we moderns may feel inclined to reject (such as his notion that God perceives everything, hence the world doesn't just collapse when nobody's looking). However, his central tenet that the act of perception is integral to reality remains a powerful idea, and one which we are only now beginning to fully comprehend....more