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The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten: 100 Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher
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The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten: 100 Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  2,870 ratings  ·  277 reviews
Perfect for gifting to lovers of philosophy or mining intelligent ice-breaker topics for your next party, The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten offers one hundred philosophical puzzles that stimulate thought on a host of moral, social, and personal dilemmas. Taking examples from sources as diverse as Plato and Steven Spielberg, author Julian Baggini presents abstract philosophica ...more
Paperback, 306 pages
Published July 1st 2006 by Plume Books (first published July 5th 2005)
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3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,870 ratings  ·  277 reviews

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Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
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
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
May 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ei-fiktio
You have to admit it: the title and tagline of the book instantly rise your curiosity. Fortunately, the intriguing and entertaining presentation continue in the content, too. Big and small philosophical questions are presented in light, easily digestible form.

While the book could be examined every now and then and read only occasionally, I ended up finishing it very quickly. The "experiments"/examples and their analyses are very short, so reading "just one more piece" became very addicting.
Mar 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
Jan 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a wonderfully thought-provoking book about some of the most interesting philosophical questions posed in our modern world!

Julian Baggini is a masterful thinker who poses captivating arguments from various perspectives. I’m particularly intrigued by this book because he specifically likes to delve into topics about artificial intelligence/supercomputers/virtual reality, the mind/subconscious/identity, and some of the most basic moral dilemmas of our time.

If you’re interested in thinking ab
May 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy, abandoned
As much as I want to learn more about philosophy, these collections of snippets continually let me down. This one in particular remains very pedestrian, with none of the thought experiments in the first quarter actually enticing me to think about them for more than a minute. Even originally interesting setups, like Plato's cave allegory, are turned boring and simplistic in Baggini's hands. In addition, I've long held that philosophy is 10% ethics and 90% intellectual masturbation, and this book ...more
Belal Al Droubi
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
there are a 100 mental philosophical experiments in this book.
only around 10 were really interesting and engaging. the rest were boring, however, i like this book since it was a change of pace for me.
some things required some deep thought.

generally..not great at all, but a fairly good book.
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Most of the stories were good, some were exceptional and a few of them were mediocre at best.
I would say don't read the whole book in one sitting. A story or two a day is more than enough.
Done? Great! You're now officially an armchair philosopher ready to argue with anyone on any topic.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting collection of moral dilemmas, as well as other paradoxical debates and situations.

This book can help us in changing our perception hats with more flexibility, and always find new ways to challenge ideas or tackle a problem, to finally come up with balanced solutions.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Personal response:
The book The Pig That Wants To Be Eaten: 100 Experiments For The Armchair Philosopher by Julian Baggini was the best book that I have read so far this year. One reason why this book stood out to me was the way it was written. The author had to do a lot of research to write this book because there were a lot of sources included in the reading. This book was written with no continuous plot, and no constant characters. Every three pages there was a completely new story, which kept
Thomas Schneider
Oct 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

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
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Amal Arrumaih
May 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dropped
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
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 08, 2009 rated it did not like it
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.
Outdoors Nerd
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The most thought provoking book I have read... Literally!

I read it over a period of months as it deserves as each thought experiment requires a good mulling over.

It helped me challenge so much received wisdom and predefined opinions as well as helped to develop my critical thinking
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Min Yee
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
Slightly disappointed but planning to read the book again in the future. Probably reading the book more than once will be easier to understand the philosophy stories. Most of the stories are related to problem-solving and decision making which can be happened in our daily lives.
Lieblingsbuch (Kenny)
Aug 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: to-purchase
I really struggled with how I wanted to rate this book because, at first, I really liked it. The layout of the book is this: the author provides a thought experiment from another book that takes up about a page (usually less though) and then the author then writes about the thought experiment for 1 to 3 pages. His goal is to provide the starting point for discussions and debates about these topics in a controlled setting.

Early on this works pretty well for me. I don't know much about philosophy
Jurij Fedorov
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was ok

I guess the hypothetical moral examples are nice. Some of them at least are very interesting even though most of them just seem to be rewritten former examples. There really are only maybe 35 moral dilemmas here but the writer wanted 100 examples so he had to be creative here.


The writer does not seem to be a philosopher or at least his logic is not great. The examples are at least coherent to read as stories but 75% of the book are his thoughts on the examples and his thoughts are extrem
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
These are 100 thought experiments which begin with a brief sketch of a situation that poses a question in morality, ethics or philosophy in general. The question is then discussed by the author. In some cases the author shows his preference for a particular answer; in most of them, however, the options are discussed but no final answer attempted. The idea is to jog the reader's thinking. The discussion is brief and crisp. In 3 to 4 pages the author presents the question and options for answers.

Amir Nakar
Nov 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The Good:
- The ideas given are put in clear language, and the arguments are concise. So you can get big ideas in short paragraphs and each thought experiment is about 2 pages long (with the analysis).
- The writer makes sure to give you both the source of the original philosophies AND modern examples that are relevant.
- The ideas are the big ideas of philosophy (I think...). So there really is a lot to think about.
- The sides of each arguments are given pretty much evenly and don't leave you wit
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non_fiction, dnf
DNF page 88

I wanted just to pick this up now and again but I literally do not care anymore and my gym are having a book swap sale. The problem with this book is that it has too many thought experiments which are not covered in enough depth, so it feels like a fact book where you read the experiment, think "hm that's interesting" and move on.

for me, it comes across as not academic enough for those studying philosophy, and too much of a "well I could have thought that" angle for non-academics. th
Apr 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I've started reading more and more about philosophy, and found myself pondering further education in this area. My partner bought me this book as a spontaneous present, thinking I'd enjoy this as well.

It was very well written, presenting a short scenario and then expanding on the puzzle within over the two following pages. Julian Baggini is a good writer and never failed to get his point across, even in so short a space.

My issue with it was the format and the volume of puzzles within the book.
because of the gimmick-y nature of the "one hundred" thought experiments, the book is shallow and repetitive. baggini also often forces his own opinions as the only reasonable conclusion, particularly when he suggests that "If God is good, it is because God is and chooses to do what is already good God doesn't make something good by choosing it; he chooses it because it is good." well, descartes would disagree. i also thought it kinda screwy that baggini didn't distinguish between sources and in ...more
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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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