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What Philosophy Can Do

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  116 ratings  ·  15 reviews
In What Philosophy Can Do, Gary Gutting takes a philosopher’s scalpel to modern life’s biggest questions and the most powerful forces in our society—politics, science, religion, education, and capitalism. Along the way, he introduces readers to powerful philosophical tools, from inductive and deductive logic to the Principle of Charity, which they can use to make better se ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 29th 2016 by W. W. Norton Company (first published September 8th 2015)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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Sinan Yuce
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Biraz agir bir dili var. bazi cumleleri tekrar tekrar okumak gerekiyor. O yuzden bitirmek zaman alabilir.
Jon Stout
Jan 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: relativists and realists
Shelves: philosophy
Gary Gutting does a kind of survey of contemporary social issues, ranging from politics, science and religion to more specialized areas like education and abortion. By taking on these various issues as a philosopher, he intends to show what philosophy has to contribute to these topics, as well as the philosophical tools which facilitate their discussion. His particular conclusions are generally those of a humane, well-educated, well-informed person, though I could quibble with many points. He re ...more
Jonathan Haber
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While pretty generous with four-star reviews, I tend to reserve five stars to those books that set an ambitious target and then succeed in hitting it. In this case, author Gary Gutting (Professor of Philosophy at Notre Dame and frequent contributor to the Stone philosophy column in the New York Times) sets out to demonstrate that philosophy is not only relevant in modern times, but absolutely essential if we want to progress past the empty shouting matches that characterize so much modern discou ...more
Kirsten Armstrong
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I have a bachelor's degree in philosophy, so I love reading books similar to this. I believe this specific book should be targeted more towards people unfamiliar with the major discussions and topics in Philosophy. I did enjoy how Gutting offered practical uses for philosophy (politics, abortion, art, etc) - something which many people seem to be unaware of. I also liked how he set up each chapter. He discussed an issue and gave reasons for both sides of the arguments, as well as objections. Thi ...more
Michael Pierce
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gary Gutting is well know in the field of Philosophy and has a lot to offer in terms of education and understanding. That being said this book is aimed toward readers who have little more than a foundational understanding of philosophical thinking. Gutting does an excellent job at explaining different points of view and ways to make effective arguments. One thing Gutting blatantly fails at is connecting with his target audience.

One issue this books runs into is use of Philosophical Jargon that m
Paul C. Stalder
A terrific display of philosophy's continued usefulness and importance in the modern world. And more than that, Gutting provides a crash course in critical thought. Tackling a number of major and divisive issues of the day (religion, abortion, education, politics), Gutting opens up both sides of the arguments, showing how one can properly think about and engage with these topics. I doubt everyone would enjoy this book, and you certainly need at least a basic background in philosophical thought. ...more
Dharma Agastia
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gutting provides a handy guidebook on what philosophy has done and what it can do in a number of areas. I would recommend this to someone who has an interest in philosophy and its application, but has little time for browsing through tomes of philosophy books. While it has indeed been watered down for the benefit of the lay public, Gutting's presentation of the essential ideas of a number of philosophers -- both ancient and contemporary -- is concise and easy to follow. ...more
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Personally I enjoy reading this book. It is clearly intended for non-academic audience; philosophy is about forming logical arguments and counterarguments. Gutting's goal is really to get people interested in this topic, so that they are willing to spend time exploring those in the future. Like he said in Chapter 7, the intellectual culture is what is important.
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This is an enjoyable and readable collection of essays all of which point to the practical applicability of philosophical concepts to a person's thought life. At first I thought that it would be a predictable Catholic viewpoint on things like abortion, etc. since the author teaches at Notre Dame. But that was not the case. ...more
Sait Güller
Sep 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Kitapta 45 sayfa ilerlememe rağmen neden hala birşeyler anlayamadığımı çevirinin ne kadar kötü olduğunu fark ettiğimde anladım. Hadi çevirmen (Tuğçe Ayteş) bir şekil çevirdi arkadaş bi editör, yayın yönetmeni (Ali Atıf Bir) demi kitabı bir kez okumadı, direk bastı.
Sue Ramlo
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I selected this for a University President Book Club... what a great book... it is really about what philosophy can do in various areas... philosophy is not just for philosophers.
Peter Kouwenberg
Dec 26, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The issue is presented in old school style: the author is basically lecturing all the time, in a rather boring manner. A great opportunity was missed.
Sep 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brain, ideas
This book explains in a clear and non-technical way how the tools used by professional philosophers can be used by ordinary (thoughtful) people to help them better analyze and understand controversial issues in our society. His chapter on "education in a capitalist society" is very thought provoking, and should be read by every thinking person who cares about creating a better world for future generations.

While 5 stars may be a bit strong as a rating, it is so refreshing to encounter an accessib
Matthew Smithies
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Gary Gutting was an American philosopher and holder of an endowed chair in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.

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