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Wer bin ich – und wenn ja, wie viele?
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Wer bin ich – und wenn ja, wie viele?

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  4,481 ratings  ·  326 reviews
„Fragen zu stellen ist eine Fähigkeit, die man nie verlernen sollte.“ (Richard David Precht)

Bücher über Philosophie gibt es viele. Aber Richard David Prechts Buch ist anders als alle anderen. Denn es gibt bisher keines, das den Leser so umfassend und kompetent – und unter Berücksichtigung naturwissenschaftlicher Erkenntnisse – an die großen philosophischen Fragen des Leben
Paperback, 398 pages
Published September 17th 2007 by Goldmann
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Start your review of Wer bin ich – und wenn ja, wie viele?
Who am I and if so how many is a book I'm glad to have finally finished reading. It is a very mixed bag. Divided, like Gaul under the Romans, into three parts: what can I know, what should I do and what can I hope; each of which is full of short chapters that tended at best to tantalise rather than satisfy.

The first part combined philosophy with contemporary research on the brain and I found this part the most enjoyable, although when we got to Mach denying the existence of self and then moved b
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book from a small bookshop in Frankfurt airport. "One million copies sold worldwide" written on the front cover. A German book translated to English. The cover and the title are weird. I never read a book about philosophy before. That must be something I thought, so I took it along with two more books. The first thing came to my mind that I might take long time before I reach the end and probably it would be boring.
It was a total surprise, the book is divided into very small chapt
Dec 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A refresher for philosophy buffs, a primer for all others. Breezy yet substantial. Thought-provoking. Timely. An artful marriage of four fundamental questions and the latest brain research. Allows science nerds and liberal arts types to communicate. Love it.
Julie Rylie
About the title "who am i and if so how many?" and how enticing It seemed to be... after all the traumatizing experiences out of my control that happened in the past two years, i need to come up with strategies to forge my indentity, to reinvent myself in order to achieve some sort of balance, or try as hard as i can to go back to my "normal self". So there was the trigger.

But at the end, it's a book that it's not existential to that degree but comprises the road traveled by philosophy througho
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Who Am I? And If So, How Many?: A Philosophical Journey" by Richard David Precht, translated from German by Shelley Frisch, was published in paperback in English in 2011. It is a mixture of philosophy, science, and journalism that is both informative and entertaining. The wide array of subjects includes emotions, memory, language, abortion, euthanasia, cloning, and love. We also have discussions of the big subjects, including What is truth? Does God exist? Does life have meaning?
Precht examin
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sprawling, ranging book that covers a lot of ground in only a few hundred pages. Crossing multiple schools of thought, especially psychology, sociology, neuroscience, Precht tells a story of philosophy and philosophers that is both eye-opening and rewarding. Despite the subject material, it's a breezy read. Precht hits a nice balance of pop-science and critical thinking, managing to reference material as accessible as the Matrix without ever sounding patronising.

It works as a philosophy primer
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Ganzorig Bayasgalan
Pretty solid read i think. It actually introduces you to major philosophical questions. But as an introductory work to philosophy, it doesn't do good. If someone wants introduction to philosophy, I would recommend "A History of Western Philosophy" by Bertrand Russel or Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder. For more than a few occasions whilst reading, I wondered if i was reading philosophy book or neuroscience book. Author tries to explain philosophical questions using neuroscience and other discip ...more
Feb 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fictional
Really informative and an interesting entry to philosophy and the human brain. Makes you curious and you gain the wish to read more on the topics and the different philosophers that are introduced.
Sometimes a little bit too much, but nevertheless interesting and instructive!
Julie Plummer
Jan 20, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Pure drivel. Interesting ideas, but poorly argued, with contrived links between chapters. Could not finish.
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2020 in terms of reading quality has been a surprise for me, and I haven’t been let down so far.

Until I finished this book.

This book is incredibly strange, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. The premise of the book is good, it offers introductions to keep philosophers and the second part asks the major questions: “what is love” “does God exist” and so forth.

The biggest issue I have with this book is the writing is incredibly poor and the structure perhaps worse.

I don’t really know what I’
Sep 03, 2021 rated it it was ok
Too much blah blah without really saying anything.
Ronald Koltnow
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Precht has done something remarkable here. WHO AM I? is a survey course in philosophy, a study of neuroscience, and a book about psychology all in one. His subject is how we perceive the world around us and how we respond. What is Happiness? Why do we own things? Do we have free will or does our will dictate what we are? After laying the groundwork in schools of thought, Precht addresses these and other questions. He comes off as an expert but an idiosyncratic one. The book is not woo-woo new ag ...more
Matthias Treitler
Feb 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
I am really new to philosophy so this is quite interesting stuff for me. As the pages turn the book keeps me more and more intereseted.

It has probably more sentences ending with a question mark than with a dot. If you want a book that gives you straight answers to philosphical questions than you will be disappointed. So the author does not try to give his perspective on questions but just teaches you how others over the history have written it.
Sanaa'i Muhammad
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took me the longest time ever to finish this, not sure if it was difficult, I was having a readers block or it just made me think after every 3 sentences and i had to put it down and take time to think about it.
Thankyou Precht for introducing me to so many people many of who are now friends and are going to stay a while :) Plato, Fredrich Nietzche, Sartre, Sigmund and a lot more. Not big on western philosophy but this is a must read.
Eugenia Turculet
This book provides answers for the most ardent questions of philosophy, namely, if we should treat animals differently, what is just, if God exists and whether or not life has a meaning. While it doesn't give an absolute value for right and wrong, it does touch on different philosophical concepts and movements in order to support various arguments. Definitely recommend this book as an intro to philosophy. ...more
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book help me approach some big questions of philosophy, and the answer of those questions by philosophers. Many concepts are really difficult for me to understand, so i think i need to read it some more times to absorb what it covers. Anyway, I want to thank Richard David Precht for the quite good book.
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
The book that brought my long hidden love for philosophy to the surface, helped me in deciding to study said major and got me out of my depression. A great introduction told via such an enjoyable writing style!
Sep 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Simplified introductions to a complex topic written by a “celebrity” academic/scientist are in my limited experience typically either brilliantly informative or over-simplistic and baffling. This one introduces us to western philosophy and neuroscience related to three questions: What can I know?; What should I do?; What should I hope for? It’s an ambitious project and perhaps useful in provoking thought and discussion, but for me it is superficial, glib and far too subjective.

Precht writes in
Klaas Bischoff
Mar 13, 2020 rated it liked it
For everyone without a philosophy background, who is interested in getting an introduction to the field of philosophy and the main philosophers of the past, this book provides a good introduction. The topics that this book covers are interesting and related to current problems and debates. Precht also does a good job in making the topics simple and easy to follow for people that are no experts in the field.

I deducted two stars, because (1) there were some topics and arguments that I personally
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
WOW!! highly recommended for those who want a peace of mind to read!
This book took me 8 hours to finish it, i read it all at once. I can not stop reading it! This is the best of book of this year that i have read. It's supposed to be a philosophic book, but it combined all what i am interested in such as neuroscience, evolution, animal behaviors, animal rights, movies, life purposes...etc. The philosophers that he introduced to us was in a very approachable way, i never get to know these great m
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
The best thing about this book is definitely the title.
I have to say, I just expected more from this book. In the introduction the author criticizes his philosophy professors because they focused too much on history rather than philosophy itself and yet the book also often focuses on things other than actual philosophy. There's a lot of psychology, pop culture references (that are sometimes wrong) and often more information about a philosopher's life than his work. I'm not saying those things c
Karthik Warrier
To start off, I expected better considering the reviews and the scope of the book. Unfortunately I was quite disappointed.

The way the book is structured struck me as rather arbitrary, though I get the feeling the author thought he was doing something very clever by doing so.

The thing that strikes me the most is the author is well out of his wheelhouse when he's talking about anything apart from philosophy. A lot of what he talks about was familiar to me from other sources and how the author rep
I only made it 2/3rds of the way through this, reading 'What Can I Know' and 'What Should I Do', but never quite finding the time nor the energy enough for the shorter 'What Can I Hope For'. The fault lies not in the content or the delivery, as the style and structure were both very palatable, but simply that my interest has waned. Not to say that the questions explored in the final third (such as the meaning, love, life and happiness) are not fascinating in themselves, but I couldn't quite get ...more
Thuy Do
Oct 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never had a chance to get to know philosophy, so I'd thought of this field as eccentric ideas conceived by weirdos. But not at all actually. Thanks to this book, I saw how close philosophy and science (social science and biology) are. Although it seeks answers for three major questions, I ended up with even more questions rather than having the answers.

It should be noted that this book can be very confusing as it has a lot of philosophers and their philosophies. The first part of the book is t
Quinn Anh Pham
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not a philosophy book but more on neurophilosophy and psychology. Even when both "Sophie's world" and "Who I am and if so how many" were considered introduction to philosophy but I must admit I enjoyed this one more. May be because this book posed a whole range of controversies around this field, that make you have to give some thought about it, without too much dry details. Some people might find the structure a bit messy in term of chronological order but I liked the transition between ...more
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
It's not an easy book to read. Some parts are not really exciting to read and also really hard to understand because there're too many neuroscience technical terms (although the author tried his best to explain, it's still hard to understand due to the complicated nature of neuroscience). However, the author has a coherent writing style which makes me feel like I am on a journey of exploring philosophy with the author being my tour guide. The chapters about freedom and happiness are the best par ...more
Thomas Wickinghoff
Jun 17, 2021 rated it liked it
The first 100 pages were super tiresome with lots of biological brain facts and even less interesting biographies of dead scientists - the praised philosophical part first starts after that (or my understanding of philosophy is just so much different). And yes, there are some interesting ideas and questions and it really puts philosophy in a useful perspective (sometimes), e.g. in cooperation with politics... but I was really bored most of the time and didn't appreciate the rather scientific - o ...more
Oct 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
I was a philosophy major so I'm always on the lookout for new interesting philosophy books. There seems to have been a bit of popularization of philosophy these days and you can add this book to the list. It covers a wide range of philosophical topics in a rather concise fashion, some of them perhaps a bit far afield, others clearly in the tradition. Nothing earth shattering here, but reasonably enjoyable. ...more
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Seamlessly flows from idea to idea, with logical orders in chapters.
Questioning our relation to great apes, to pondering on Simulation theory, with a comprehensive history on the change of humanity influenced by philosophical ideas.

Also there is a lot of German influence influence in this book as the original is from Deutschland, so I learned of some classical books I've never heard of before.
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Richard David Precht is a German author of successful popular science books about philosophical issues.

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