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Qui suis-je et, si je suis, combien?

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  2,958 ratings  ·  218 reviews
Un livre phénomène, vendu à plus de un million d'exemplaires en Allemagne. À la fois drôle et érudite, divertissante et cultivée, une extraordinaire initiation à la philosophie, ou comment un jeune et brillant philosophe allemand dépoussière les classiques. De Descartes à Freud en passant par Star Trek et les Monty Python, jamais vous n'auriez imaginé si réjouissante ...more
380 pages
Published April 2010 by Belfond (first published September 17th 2007)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  2,958 ratings  ·  218 reviews

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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
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
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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?
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 ...more
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.
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.
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
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.
Matthias Treitler
Feb 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Sep 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
An interesting, consize book which looks through many philosophical ideas. I have found it though to be hopelessly Western-philosophy centered, only one mention of buddhist philosophy, which I think would be worth mentioning in more contexts and no direct discussion of social constructivism that I missed especially in the chapter which discussed meaning in communication. However, it still has a great scope and includes many fascinating people, that are not usually discussed in the field of ...more
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 ...more
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
Sønder Gerard
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.
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.
Anantha Krishna
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author brings in thorough research and yet sticks to first principles, hence making things clear. A journey that has a possibility of registering a very clear understanding of how the mind functions, based on how far the reader can go.

The unbiased and smooth journey seems to fail at the end where author has abruptly concluded with some of his own opinions without casting much doubt on it.
Adalsteinn Finnbogason
I thought this book would answer the question to: Who am I? And if so how many? Which it did not, at least not for me. But I was however introduced to many of the great (and maybe not so great) philosophers of our history. There for I found this book to be a great introduction to philosophy.
Nicely written, speakers are good. Great names are explained in an understandable way. However, I finish reading it with more questions than answers... But I guess that's not the book's fault but the nature of philosophy.
Dávid Cúth
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Haven't finished it, but is an interesting read. Actually made me consider becoming a vegetarian
Mél ☽
Very insightful!
Though sometimes it feels more like a self-help book, rather than an introduction to philosophy.
I really enjoyed this one.
Casey Nguyen
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
one of the great philosophy books, Readers can be everyone. I love philosophy after this book. Highly recommendation for philosophy's teacher, they can bring it in class.
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book that lays questions in every corner of my belief, of every single belief and ground I hold. Not to change them, but to make me rethink and cast a doubt on everything.
Mat Davies
Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Took me a long time to finally read, but when I did, it rocked!

I remember an ex GF reading this in Berlin back in 2008. I had wanted to check it out for a long time, but I was not confident enough to tackle the original German version and was too busy reading rubbish! To be honest, I could poke a lot of holes in this book as it is not consistent, and it really does go off in all directions. Nonetheless, my own experience was very positive. I read it over 3 days and was totally engaged.

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Richard David Precht is a German author of successful popular science books about philosophical issues.
“Die glücklichsten Menschen der Welt haben keine geteerten Straßen.” 5 likes
“Gott als persönlicher Urheber und Lenker des Menschen war tot. Und die Naturwissenschaften feierten ihren Siegeszug mit einem neuen sehr nüchternen Bild des Menschen: Das Interesse an Affen wurde größ­er als das an Gott.” 0 likes
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