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Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder
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Sophie's World (1991)

by Jostein Gaarder

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,677191188 (3.77)123
  1. 50
    The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder (Percevan)
  2. 41
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (missmaddie)
    missmaddie: As the main characters develop, they also uncover fascinating mysteries with philosophical/psychological significance. Very intellectual reads with twisted, intense plots!
  3. 00
    The Amnesiac by Sam Taylor (GirlMisanthrope)
  4. 11
    Ishmael by Daniel Quinn (weeksj10)
    weeksj10: Their both lecture style novels which use fiction to present a variety of different thoughts and philosophies.
  5. 02
    Det store eventyret om virkeligheten : en fantastisk fortelling om den nye fysikken by Jack Falao (Percevan)
  6. 03
    Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede (missmaddie)
    missmaddie: Both books contain letter correspondence, and they also both have supernatural/fantasy elements. Likable girls as the main characters.
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» See also 123 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
READ IN DUTCH

This book is a summary of Western Philosophy starting at the Early Greek Philosophers (let's say Pre-Socrates) and ending with the modern philosophers. Luckily, this book reads mostly like a novel.



I really liked the beginning of the book. I happen to have had a class on Pre-Socratic philosophy, as part of my Greek lessons, and I think that after a year I got the vision of Heraklitus cum suis clear. So it was most interesting to read about it in this book.

In this part it still is a story you're reading.



After Socrates, Plato and Aristotle it's only a short way to 'modern' philosophy, starting at Descartes. (I also happen to have had a class on the 'philosophy and introduction of ethics' where the professor just couldn't shut up about Descartes, and after very few words on Kant and Nietzsche moved on to Freud, another person he really liked to talk about) But at some point during the (I think it's was the 19th century philosophers) I got lost. As the philosophy becomes weirder (as in like 'what if we're not real, but just live in the imagination of someone else'), the story also takes a turn down that path, and it turns barely understandable. The sense of reading a novel gets lost as well. It left me confused. (Though I really liked the first part) ( )
  Floratina | Sep 25, 2014 |
READ IN DUTCH

This book is a summary of Western Philosophy starting at the Early Greek Philosophers (let's say Pre-Socrates) and ending with the modern philosophers. Luckily, this book reads mostly like a novel.



I really liked the beginning of the book. I happen to have had a class on Pre-Socratic philosophy, as part of my Greek lessons, and I think that after a year I got the vision of Heraklitus cum suis clear. So it was most interesting to read about it in this book.

In this part it still is a story you're reading.



After Socrates, Plato and Aristotle it's only a short way to 'modern' philosophy, starting at Descartes. (I also happen to have had a class on the 'philosophy and introduction of ethics' where the professor just couldn't shut up about Descartes, and after very few words on Kant and Nietzsche moved on to Freud, another person he really liked to talk about) But at some point during the (I think it's was the 19th century philosophers) I got lost. As the philosophy becomes weirder (as in like 'what if we're not real, but just live in the imagination of someone else'), the story also takes a turn down that path, and it turns barely understandable. The sense of reading a novel gets lost as well. It left me confused. (Though I really liked the first part) ( )
  Floratina | Sep 25, 2014 |
Às vésperas de seu aniversário de quinze anos, Sofia Amundsen começa a receber bilhetes e cartões postais bastante estranhos. Os bilhetes são anônimos e perguntam a Sofia quem é ela e de onde vem o mundo em que se vive. Os postais foram mandados do Líbano, por um major desconhecido, para uma tal de Hilde Knag, jovem que Sofia desconhece. O mistério dos bilhetes e dos postais é o ponto de partida deste romance. De capítulo em capítulo, de 'lição' em 'lição', o leitor é convidado pelo autor a trilhar toda a história da filosofia ocidental - dos pré-socráticos aos pós-modernos -.
  melissa.gamador | Sep 4, 2014 |
This is an intriguing and thought-provoking narrative, while also providing an introduction to philosophy. It's well-judged so that the reader doesn't feel like they're being educated. ( )
  Tselja | Jul 9, 2014 |
Original post at Book Rhapsody.

***

Intro

I read this book when I took a philosophy class as an elective course back in college. Actually, I did not finish the book during that semester for some reason. I suppose it was thesis time. Anyway, I resumed my reading of it a few months after graduation.

I think this should be made a required reading in Philosophy 101 classes because it pretty much covers a lot of philosophies. I don’t know about most people, but I find philosophy an interesting subject of classroom conversation. So yes, I enjoyed my philosophy classes back in college.

In addition, this book makes philosophy less taxing. It makes the study of philosophy a bit easier than it normally is. It’s like Philosophy for Dummies, with some entertainment.

So what’s entertaining about it?

The Rhapsody

This is philosophy and fiction rolled into one. The philosophy part comes in the guise of letters sent to a girl named Sophie. Surprise! Philosophy, by the way, means love of wisdom. Anyway, the letters that she receives are philosophy lectures from a mysterious man named Albert. He is mysterious in the sense that he knows Sophie’s attempts to uncover his identity, like some omnipresent force watching her moves.

The letters are supposed to be gifts from Sophie’s father. Wisdom is a gift, as Sophie will realize along the way. The lectures begin with an introduction to philosophy, its history, and its various schools. Notable philosophers are also introduced every chapter or so.

As I mentioned, the philosophical musings in this book are not a burden because of the fiction part. It’s like a young adult mystery, if you ask me, with a little surprise in the end. I won’t spoil that for you. I have been a notorious spoiler, but this time, I wouldn’t do it.

There’s no point in spoiling because in the first place, I couldn’t remember the fiction part. Not that it’s not entertaining; I’m just more engrossed with the philosophy part. I remember Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, et al, but not the turn of events. That’s the good thing about this book. Even if the plot is forgotten, the philosophical lessons remain.

Which I think is the whole point. It’s important for people to try to understand their existence. Simple questions like who am I, what is life, what is my purpose, and others, are also the ones that are hardest to answer. The answers are not offered in the book. One has to provide his own answers to such, and a little help with philosophizing might just give us a nifty solution.

I think we are all philosophers because there’s a need for us to be wise. We cannot be wise overnight, however, but some overthinking every once in a while may just prove to be helpful in some of the more testing moments of our lives.

Final Notes

Thanks to this book, I discovered the philosophies of Soren Kierkegaard. He said that the only important truths are subjective truths, which is a principle that I have held on to even before I read this book. My reading of this book only strengthened my grasp on the only truth that I hold above all truths, if any.

Kierkegaard is an individualist, which is, I think, another way of saying that he is an existentialist. I never claimed to be one because it sounds a little pretentious. I am cynical, so I know the workings of other cynics. Anyway, Kierkegaard’s philosophies are largely existentialist in nature.

I think this is a nice book to reread because the philosophy part is fun in itself. Call me a big nerd, but I can’t help it. I think a lot of people have negative thoughts when they hear of Karl Marx, but his philosophies, as presented in the book, makes a lot of sense. Finishing the book could help one to lay out his own set of philosophies.

So yes. Everyone, I recommend this to you. ( )
1 vote angusmiranda | Jun 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
As philoso-narrative, "Sophie's World" is a world above "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" but a universe below "The Magic Mountain." In my view, literate readers would do better to try Bertrand Russell's "History of Western Philosophy," which is shorter on magic but longer on wit, intelligence and curmudgeonly skepticism.
 

» Add other authors (40 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jostein Gaarderprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eriksson, MonaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haefs, GabrieleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klok, JankeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Møller, PauletteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pijttersen, LucyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Savolainen, KatriinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Snoeijing, KimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevens, PaulaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
He who cannot draw on three thousand years

is living from hand to mouth.


Goethe
"Colui che non è in grado di darsi conto di
tremila anni rimane al buio e vive alla giornata".

JOHANN WOLFGANG GOETHE
Dedication
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Sophie Amundsen was on her way home from school.
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Deze roman over de geschiedenis van de filosofie is een spannend verhaal, een detective en een filosofie-geschiedenis in één: een intrigerende roman die iedereen zal aanspreken die iets over zichzelf en de wereld om zich heen wil leren.
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One day fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen comes home from school to find in her mailbox two notes, with one question on each: "Who are you?" and "Where does the world come from?" From that irrestistible beginning, Sophie becomes obsessed with questions that take her far beyond what she knows of her Norwegian village. Through those letters, she enrolls in a kind of correspondence course, covering Socrates to Sartre, with a mysterious philosopher, while receiving letters addressed to another girl. Who is Hilde? And why does her mail keep turning up? To unravel this riddle, Sophie must use the pilosophy she is learning--but the truth turns out to be far more complicated than she could have imagined.… (more)

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