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If You Can Read This: The Philosophy of…
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If You Can Read This: The Philosophy of Bumper Stickers

by Jack Bowen

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Entertaining, though I've never seen half the bumper stickers he mentions ( )
  markfontecchio | Mar 9, 2011 |
Entertaining, though I've never seen half the bumper stickers he mentions ( )
  markfontecchio | Mar 9, 2011 |
Entertaining, though I've never seen half the bumper stickers he mentions ( )
  markfontecchio | Mar 9, 2011 |
Bowen’s statement on page 95 best summarizes the book: “Note to any first-year high school teachers looking for an example to teach ‘dogmatism,’ look no further.” I sought out this book after hearing a book tour discussion with the author on the radio and was really excited. Apparently, Bowen is much more congenial in public than he is when he’s in his university office writing a book.

If You Can Read This uses bumper stickers as a jumping off point to go on rant after rant—discussing all the petty little things that are alluded to in Philosophy 100 lectures across the country but for the sake of keeping academic tenor are rarely brought out into the full light. Instead of using bumper stickers as an opportunity to elevate discussion, Bowen swings the door wide open and mocks, stereotypes, and arrogantly dismisses any idea that he doesn’t hold. Bowen’s distain for anyone who may practice (or even respect) religious traditions is particularly dogmatic. Ironically, I know dozens of religious fundamentalists who are not only much more thoughtful than he asserts, they’re more thoughtful than this book.

I was hoping to find a funny and light-hearted approach to philosophy that I could incorporate into my ethics classes. Instead, other than the funny, sarcastic, and counter-cultural bumper stickers that I loved, all I found was a philosophy discussion that as biased and deep as the ones my students already get from FOX News and MSNBC. Yuck!

In fairness, this whole book might be a brilliant meta-commentary, ironically showing us how bad critical, academic thought would be if we approached the world with the same self-righteous attitude bumper stickers convey. Sadly, I doubt that was the case. ( )
  ebnelson | May 13, 2010 |
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We can pretty much blame this whole labeling problem on Plato.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812981057, Paperback)

A PICTURE MAY BE WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS—
BUT A FEW CHOICE WORDS CAN SPEAK VOLUMES!
 
• If Ignorance Is Bliss, Why Aren’t More People Happy?
• Bottled Water Is for Suckers
• Clones Are People Too
• At Least the War on the Environment Is Going Well
• Don’t Believe Everything You Think
• The Revolution Will Be Tweeted
 
Long before blogs, tweets, and sound bites, people were telling the world how they felt in brief, blunt bursts of information plastered on the backs of their cars. Whether they’re political or religious, passionate or proud, controversial or corny, these brightly colored, boldly lettered mini manifestos are declarations of who we are, where we stand, and what we’d rather be doing. But as bestselling author and noted philosopher Jack Bowen reveals, there’s much more to the pop-culture phenomenon of bumper stickers than rolling one-liners and drive-by propaganda—no less, in fact, than a wise, funny, poignant, contentious, and truthful discourse on the human condition.
 
Mixing pop culture with the ideas of historically prominent philosophers and scientists, If You Can Read This exposes the deeper wisdom couched behind these slogans—or, as need be, exposes where they have gone wrong. If you brake for big ideas, now’s the time.
 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:08 -0400)

Long before blogs and tweets, people were telling the world how they felt through bumper stickers. Even now, these brightly colored, boldly lettered mini manifestos are declarations of who we are, where we stand, and what we'd rather be doing. Mixing pop culture with the ideas of historically prominent philosophers and scientists, this book exposes the deeper widsom couched behind these slogans.… (more)

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