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The Stone Reader: Modern Philosophy in 133 Arguments

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  336 ratings  ·  47 reviews

A timeless volume to be read and treasured, The Stone Reader provides an unparalleled overview of contemporary philosophy.

Once solely the province of ivory-tower professors and college classrooms, contemporary philosophy was finally emancipated from its academic closet in 2010, when The Stone was launched in The New York Times. First appearing as an online series, the colu

Kindle Edition, 817 pages
Published December 7th 2015 by Liveright
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Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These essays may at times seem too truncated and the editorial policy of the New York Times, where they first appeared in a column called The Stone, may be partially at fault. However, for someone who quickly glazes over at the massed abstractions of the Great Systematizers, I find the better essays clear and cogent. Here's my crème de la crème so far. My gratitude to the editors for their approach which touches on current social, political and cultural issues.

"Of Cannibals, Kings and Culture: T
robin friedman
Sep 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Education For Grown-Ups

The American philosopher Stanley Cavell aptly defined philosophy as "education for grown-ups". This recent collection of essays, "The Stone Reader: Modern Philosophy in 133 Arguments" (2016) shows how philosophical thinking may be practiced by reflective individuals who do not necessarily have philosophical or even higher academic education. The book is part of a long series of efforts by philosophers to persuade lay readers of the vitality and breadth of the passion for p
James Murphy
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beginning in 2010 The New York Times's online format began publishing a series devoted to contemporary philosophy called The Stone. It proved so popular it was soon included in the paper's print edition. It's devoted to examining a wide range of contemporary issues from the context of philosophical argument as well as older, universal philosophical questions considered in the light of modern practice. Therefore, discussions in a discipline which is both changing and unchanged since the time of S ...more
Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with any book with 113 distinct essays, there will be some that stand above the others but, in general, this is a very nice collection from public intellectual philosophers. I'm thinking, actually, of using some of these essays to supplement the harder core primary readings that I assign my students. ...more
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a collection of 133 philosophical essays originally published in the New York Times. The book was edited by Peter Catapano and Simon Critchley. Even if you don’t like philosophy, or if you don’t believe that philosophers have anything relevant to say in the 21st Century, you might change your mind after reading about some of the topics that are discussed by the various philosopher-authors, and by the force of their arguments. Some of the essays are refreshing, thought-provoking and ...more
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is a collection from NY Times' online columns on "The Stone", most of the works dated around 2010. It is organized as short essays covering a wide range of topics, mostly "practical" as per NY Times' core reading constituents. The articles have a general consistency of lengthy, tone, and brevity, and facile breeziness for the medium they were originally presented. One imagines the academics holding their assignments with editorial injunctions for word counts, contents, and tonal prefer ...more
Let me preface this review by saying that the two stars are more a reflection of me than of the content of this book. I am not the target audience for this book--I don't know a Kant from a Kierkegaard, but I'm open to learning more about the basics of philosophy. However, I think the contributors to this book assume a hefty bit of background knowledge. I did not read every essay in the book, rather I chose the ones whose subjects interested me (and skipped essays that didn't pique my interest af ...more
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A compilation of 133 essays. My favorite was the last: Navigating Past Nihilism by Sean D Kelly:

Herman Melville articulated and hoped for the possibility of a different kind of happiness from that which the Judeo-Christian epoch of Western history sustained, writing 30 yrs before Nietzsche, in Moby Dick, “lower the conceit of attainable felicity.” Find happiness and meaning not in some universal religious account of the order of the universe that holds for everyone at all times, but rather in th
Ryan Johnson
I finally finished this book, Phew....

It is wise to know when one is ignorant said Socrates in Plato's dialogue, "The Apology" and this book reaffirmed my ignorance in many thought provoking philosophical debates.

The desire to finish this book was motivated by the Japanese word "Kaizen" , a Desire to improve, hopefully I have improved myself by reading this, though I cannot be sure, LOL....

On to Ready Player One.
Angie Boyter
Disappointing. Very few insights, and very uneven writing. There were a few nice pieces worth discussing, but there was too much else to wade through to get to the gems.Towards the end, when the subject was society, many of the articles really should have been on the op-ed page; they were just the writers' political opinion, lacking in the careful thinking I would expect of a philosopher.
This book does not motivate me to look for the Stone column in the NY Times.
Judy Gacek
Mar 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I need to own the book as it is one that cannot be enjoyed when the library gives you two weeks to read. It is a book you put up and down. It is a book that draws you to the essays you think you will enjoy reading the most first. You want time to mull them over. But the book is almost forty bucks so will check it out a couple of more times when in the mood.
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book free from Good Reads.

Definitely worth having. Lots of short, well written articles by a variety of philosophers, most with thought provoking ideas.

I thoroughly enjoyed the articles about "god" and animal rights, having traveled a bumpy road to my current beliefs, which constantly evolve.
Mark Broadhead
Sep 11, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Quite laughable in retrospect, but it made me furious with its poor and/or inane arguments. It does have some respected writers, like Critchley and Avital Ronell, so I can only assume it is the online newspaper format that leads to idiocy.
Jeffrey Rubard
"Ex pumice aquam"
(Or, Two Ways of Looking at The Stone)

The Stone Reader collects 133 essays from the early days of The Stone, an online New York Times feature moderated by the famous scholar of 'Continental' philosophy Simon Critchley. Although my literal traffic in New York ended a bit before Giuliani took office, I am going to speculate that the material here is bounded both by place and time; the essays commissioned from notable philosophers are appealing enough, but one is left a bit empty-
Oct 26, 2020 rated it liked it
An Approachable Contemporary Philosophy Reader

A hefty philosophy reader curated from the New York Times, The Stone editorial series. The book is an anthology of essays divided into 4 thematic sections: general philosophy, science, religion and morals, and society. Each section is equally good and makes for interesting reading. On the upside the essays are pretty approachable, averaging about 10 pages each, well-written, and arouses curiosity in the topic—never boring. On the downside, they do no
Erika Schoeps
Disclaimer: I won this book in a GoodReads First Reads Giveaway.

I was SO excited to win this book. I had read the Stone column in NYTimes before receiving this, and a professor I knew was using this book in his beginning college writing class to teach thesis-driven papers/arguments.

And it doesn't disappoint. It covers so many topics. Just when you think you're getting tired of one topic, it switches. It lingers longer on some topics, sometimes because a scandal/event concerning that topic was
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Audiobook version)
Great compilation work of a printed column of essays that I had never heard of. This work is very large, 26 hours of audio, but the great variety of topics keeps it fresh. As an amateur thinker this book was great exposure to different aspects of modern philosophical thought, however I would not recommend this book as an introduction. It does assume the reader knows at least the Philosophy 101 stuff.

It does have flashes of its time (articles presented are from earlier in the 2
Ishmael Soledad
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took my time with this volume, read it intermittently, piece by piece over a few months or so, trying to do one section a day. I'm no philosopher, probably never will be, so maybe that accounts for the time.

I think my wife enjoyed me reading the book more than I did; I've lauded the contents, shared them with others, thrown the book over my balcony in disgust and, frequently, sat there arguing with it or debating line after line with it to my neighbors'/workmates'/wifes' delight.

Which is why I
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This collection of 133 short contemporary philosophical essays from The New York times offers much to think about across a range of topics. These short essays on topics related to classical philosophy, religion, science, and society have been written by different philosophers, and although the collection is rather uneven, I found many of them to be quite insightful and thought-provoking.

These essays do tend to be rather left-leaning, especially those that deal with social topics. In addition, ma
Finally finished this (after three months, while reading other things as well). Pretty much all over the map: some essays were incredibly compelling, others made me want to rip my hair out with the degree to which I thought them academic navel-gazing. For example, can poetry be paraphrased? Really, who gives a rat's ass, even if you love poetry? How would the world change one iota if it can or cannot be?

I originally started this out of my love for the TV series The Good Place, which probably exp
Paul moved to LibraryThing
A few worthwhile essays but the vast majority just read like opinionated editorials. There are a few essays arguing about the nature of philosophy itself and let me throw in my opinion as well: philosophy is thinking about the important and eternal issues. A lot of essays do not qualify with their obsession over the political and whatever was relevant that brief moment they were written in.
Kaveh Bahrami
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A collection of some of the most interesting articles in philosophy. Sure they are short articles, but they give the reader a glimpse of the focus of each philosophical topic. That are both interesting to those who are not avid philosophy readers and those who are familiar with the philosophical readings.
I don't know how to rate overall a collection of essays from different authors.

The essays were organized by topic and I found nothing to enjoy in the first 400 pages; I experienced them as tedious in one of three flavors: obvious, ridiculous, or irrelevant.

I greatly enjoyed some of the essays in the second 400 pages.

But the few I benefited from were a lot of work to get to.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I got about a third of the way through this 700+ page collection of essays. Most were too dry and not related to my current perception of my world to keep my interest. I rarely give up on a book. I imagine I will periodically enjoy The Stone essays in the NYTimes.
Gary Kaiser
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Modern philosophy for non-philosophers. Well, maybe. Eminently enjoyable, in part because these are short essays. That means the half that I can understand reasonably well and find quite rewarding offset those that border on impenetrable (for me, anyway).
Nov 11, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book contained many asinine arguments.

I was expecting more prolific ethical arguments.

I am glad to read that another book is going to be published, "Modern Ethics in 77 Arguments".
Kiki Seong
Mar 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Invigorating and a great place to peruse IDEAS. I find myself returning to this text again and again with my morning tea and bedtime reading hours—times when I need to be the most inspired.
Lee Barry
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, _partial
A book to own. So many good essays.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love the easily digestible, short pieces. Lots of insights and food for thought.
Apr 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has a very nice collection of modern analytic philosophy, compiled from The Stone column in the New York Times. I think it's very accessible to someone with no formal background in philosophy, and covers a good range of topics, from science and social philosophy to religion, politics, and the classical topics.

I didn't like all the articles, particularly when it came to classical topics, but I would say at least half were engaging and thought-provoking. Most authors in the book show up
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