Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Philosophical Explanations” as Want to Read:
Philosophical Explanations
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Philosophical Explanations

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  210 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In this highly original work, Robert Nozick develops new views on philosophy's central topics and weaves them into a unified philosophical perspective. It is many years since a major work in English has ranged so widely over philosophy's fundamental concerns: the identity of the self, knowledge and skepticism, free will, the question of why there is something rather than n ...more
Paperback, 784 pages
Published March 17th 1983 by Belknap Press (first published 1981)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Philosophical Explanations, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Philosophical Explanations

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  210 ratings  ·  11 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jul 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Took me about two months to finish it. It's clearly written and the terminology uses mostly commonplace terms(i.e., it's not like loopy Sartre or Heidegger and their 'beingness-within-becoming-beingness'es.) However, Nozick doesn't seem to want readers to fill in the gaps for him and his explanations can border on tedious. The book itself covers all sorts of questions relevant to philosophy. He proposes his own theory for the purpose of philosophy, which is not to seek philosophical truths (this ...more
Joshua Stein
Aug 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jimmy O...
Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The chapter on 'why there is something rather than nothing' is the best exposition of the subject I've ever read. NOTE: I have not yet completed this book. I just keep reading that chapter over and over again.
Jun 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
We are all just a few years past something or other, if only childhood. Even the monuments themselves, so serenely in command of culture and intellect, must have been children once and adolescents -- so they too are immigrants to the realm of thought. It wouldn’t hurt for an acknowledgment of this occasionally through their magisterial prose to peep.

How are we valuable and precious?
There is sexual experience with its own playfulness and possibilities, its focused freedom, its depth, its sharp pl
Jun 14, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Contains painstakingly subtle investigations of metaphysics, epistemology, and value theories. Its good, but it takes a considerable investment of time to plod through. I would say the chapters on metaphysics were of the greatest use and interest to me.
Erik C
Feb 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Wide ranging, and fairly apolitical (Nozick is most known for his libertarian views).

The passages on the meaning of life are fairly tounge in cheek, yet manage to be the best selections on the topic I've ever read.
David Gross
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I skimmed most of it. I didn't find it nearly as engaging as Anarchy State and Utopia.
Doug Farren
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it
This book just wasn't for me. You need to have a serious background in philosophy before tackling this one! I was unable to finish it.
Oct 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Definitely not light reading, but rewarding for those willing to go the distance. For those who already have some experience with philosophy, and plenty of mental stamina.
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hardcopy
i find the best parts of the book are epistemology( the tracking theory.... etc), and the meaning of life.... further, the expostion of 'why there is something rather than nothing' is a must read.
Jul 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Wonderful collection. And it's not libertarian mumbo jumbo: the essays cover a variety of topics.
rated it liked it
Feb 23, 2012
Orestis Karasmanis
rated it it was amazing
Mar 14, 2018
Mbassi Ondoa
rated it really liked it
May 17, 2017
Rodrigo César
rated it it was ok
Aug 16, 2019
Matthieu Richelieu
rated it liked it
Sep 01, 2012
Jon Tillman
rated it it was amazing
Feb 06, 2008
rated it it was amazing
May 30, 2007
Joe McGuire
rated it it was amazing
Feb 12, 2014
rated it liked it
Jun 05, 2010
Robert Wrobel
rated it it was amazing
Mar 16, 2018
rated it really liked it
Jan 16, 2018
rated it liked it
Sep 22, 2011
rated it it was amazing
Apr 04, 2012
rated it really liked it
May 01, 2013
rated it liked it
Aug 01, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Mar 08, 2012
Jamarik Baranda
rated it liked it
May 31, 2015
Pablo Stafforini
rated it it was amazing
Dec 23, 2005
Jack Darrow
rated it it was amazing
Sep 14, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Problem of Knowledge
  • The View from Nowhere
  • Inquiries Into Truth and Interpretation
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness
  • The Rediscovery of the Mind (Representation and Mind)
  • The Sources of Normativity
  • Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings
  • Word and Object
  • A History of Philosophy, Vol. 6: Modern Philosophy, from the French Enlightenment to Kant
  • The Promise of Politics
  • The Engine of Reason, The Seat of the Soul: A Philosophical Journey into the Brain
  • An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science
  • Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy
  • What Computers Still Can't Do: A Critique of Artificial Reason
  • The Philosophy of Language
  • The Modularity of Mind
  • Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues
See similar books…
Robert Nozick was an American philosopher and professor at Harvard University. He was educated at Columbia (A.B. 1959, summa cum laude), where he studied with Sidney Morgenbesser, at Princeton (Ph.D. 1963), and Oxford as a Fulbright Scholar. He was a prominent American political philosopher in the 1970s and 1980s. He did additional but less influential work in such subjects as decision theory and ...more
“When I was fifteen or sixteen I carried around in the streets of Brooklyn a paperback copy of Plato's 'Republic', front cover facing outward. I had read only some of it and understood less, but I was excited by it and knew it was something wonderful. How much I wanted an older person to notice me carrying it and be impressed, to pat me on the shoulder and say... I didn't know what exactly.

from: 'The Examined Life, Philosophical Meditations”
More quotes…