E.'s Reviews > How the World Thinks: A Global History of Philosophy

How the World Thinks by Julian Baggini
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really liked it

Ever since I began teaching philosophy in the 1990's I've tried to expand the canon and to include non-Western elements in my teaching. These movements have gained momentum more broadly in the academy in recent years, and so I've been trying to expand my understanding so I can be a better philosopher and a better teacher. I hadn't yet seen a good introductory text one might use for global philosophy.

And this book still isn't that, but it quite good. This is not a book one could assign in an intro class, because it requires some familiarity with philosophical traditions, but it is a fascinating exploration in comparative philosophy.

Baggini writes that the different philosophical traditions are different, with different emphases, ideas, and values. And that you can't just pick and choose from those traditions, you need to understand how the ideas hang together and have developed through history.

But he does believe that the various traditions can learn from each other and can see how one might think differently if different ideas are emphasized. Plus, he thinks this is the way the world is going anyway, with globalization bringing the various cultures into closer communication, such that in the future global philosophy will be a cross-cultural conversation with roots in the various traditions.

One feature of the book that was enjoyable was the way he discussed contemporary events--such as the election of Donald Trump or the policies of Xi Jinping--through the lens of their culture's philosophical traditions.

My only negative feedback is that some of the chapters and sections could have been edited and structured differently. And a few others could have been expanded.

But overall I found this a very helpful guide in understanding how our current world thinks and what it's primary values are.
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Reading Progress

January 15, 2019 – Started Reading
January 15, 2019 – Shelved
January 22, 2019 – Finished Reading

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