Best philosophy books of the 21st century
Popular 21st Century Philosophy Books
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The 50 Most Influential Living Philosophers
Political philosophy? Philosophy of language, mind, science, religion, race, gender, sexuality? Phenomenology, Feminism, Critical theory? The domains of philosophy have so multiplied and some might say siloed , that a number of prominent authors, including eminent philosophy professor Robert Solomon , have written vehement critiques against its entrenchment in academia, with all of the attendant pressures and rewards. Let me be outrageous and insist that philosophy matters. It is not a self-contained system of problems and puzzles, a self-generating profession of conjectures and refutations. But if forced to choose the most important philosophers of the late 20th century, I might gravitate toward some of the most passionate thinkers, both inside and outside academia, who grappled with problems of everyday personal, social, and political life and did not shy away from involving themselves in the struggles of ordinary people.
But cross into this millennium and things are suddenly murkier, Kindle-ier, less classed up with age. Then again, it's been an affirming thirteen years, enough time to breed a whole new body of post lit we're happy to call the new classicsand we're not afraid to name names. Then we asked a bunch of those authors to pick an overlooked bookstories, poetry, memoirfrom that same period of time. Dig in quick: This is your chance to right some wrongs and hit the new musts you missed the first time around. Because: Let's be real, he wrote two of the very best books Freedom 's the other of the millenniumor, if you're guzzling haterade, at least the two best books on, among other things, family, anti-anxiety drugs, marriage, fate, songbirds, and Minnesota.
Influential philosophers thus seem to populate the past. But are there any important philosophers living in the world today? We can thank philosophers, both past and present, for a number of our deeply held beliefs. These beliefs dictate how we understand and involve ourselves in the world. For millennia, philosophers have attempted to shape our beliefs, usually behind the scenes, and their influence is present in many of our existing practices, institutions, and basic assumptions about ourselves and the world we think we know. Contemporary philosophers are enormously influential right now.
Some of the greatest thinkers in world history have lived within the field of philosophy. By studying the best philosophy books we can try to understand the ways that cultures before us created and understood meaning in their lives. The ways we think and behave are heavily influenced by the culture we are born into. Philosophy can reveal to us the reasons behind the ways we act, and in doing so help us to gain understanding our inner selves and how we relate to our world around us. But once learned, these behavior patterns, these habitual responses, these ways of interacting gradually sink below the surface of the mind and, like the admiral of a submerged submarine fleet, control from the depths.
The writer explains how Candide gave birth to Richard Dawkins, and why Alain de Botton is more novelist than philosopher. John Armstrong is the author of The Conditions of Love, a book which aims to raise one of the deepest and most puzzling questions we can put to ourselves: "What is love? Columnist, critic and novelist Joan Smith is the author of Misogynies, Different for Girls and five detective novels. Her most recent book, Moralities: Sex, Money and Power in the 21st Century Allen Lane , argues for the disentanglement of morality from sex. Controversial philosopher and professor of bioethics Peter Singer has been working in the field of 'practical ethics' for 30 years - "which means that when I began there was no such field". He was a passionate founder of the modern animal rights movement and has written on animal rights, abortion, euthanasia and the ethical implications of the global rift between rich and poor. Lady Mary Warnock is a crossbench life peer, moral philosopher and author of a number of books on philosophy, including The Intelligent Person's Guide to Ethics.
But of course, everyone has their own problems and are dealing with the difficulties of life in some way or another. The irony is this is actually what ancient philosophy was intended to ameliorate. Suffering might be a strong word to describe most our travails in love, in business, with our egos, with our urges, with our jerk of a neighbor who keeps stealing our parking space. But it turns out that this was exactly what philosophy can help with. And their advice and wisdom comes down to us through philosophy. It was jotted down by slaves and poets and emperors and politicians and soldiers and ordinary men and women to help with their own problems and with the problems of their friends, family and followers. This wisdom is there, available to us.