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Philosophical Explanations by Robert Nozick
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Philosophical Explanations (1981)

by Robert Nozick

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366245,863 (3.41)2
In this highly original work, Robert Nozick develops new views on philosophy's central topics and weaves them into a unified philosophical perspective. It is many years since a major work in English has ranged so widely over philosophy's fundamental concerns: the identity of the self, knowledge and skepticism, free will, the question of why there is something rather than nothing, the foundations of ethics, the meaning of life. Writing in a distinctive and personal philosophical voice, Mr. Nozick presents a new mode of philosophizing. In place of the usual semi-coercive philosophical goals of proof, of forcing people to accept conclusions, this book seeks philosophical explanations and understanding, and thereby stays truer to the original motivations for being interested in philosophy. Combining new concepts, daring hypotheses, rigorous reasoning, and playful exploration, the book exemplifies how philosophy can be part of the humanities.… (more)

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Took me about two months to finish it. It's clearly written and the terminology uses mostly commonplace terms(i.e., it's not like loopy Sartre or Heidegger and their 'beingness-within-becoming-beingness'es.) However, Nozick doesn't seem to want readers to fill in the gaps for him and his explanations can border on tedious. The book itself covers all sorts of questions relevant to philosophy. He proposes his own theory for the purpose of philosophy, which is not to seek philosophical truths (this page already contains an explanation of what the theory is, if you can guess.) His refutation of radical skepticism is perfect for those moments when you find yourself in a debate over solopsism with someone at a bus stop or the check-out lane. I'm not a fan of his positions on ethics. The last chapter is about the purpose of life and is purely light-hearted fun, but not without making a few good points along the way. ( )
  palaverofbirds | Mar 29, 2013 |
A classic ( )
  vegetarian | Oct 20, 2011 |
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I, too, seek an unreadable book: urgent thoughts to grapple with in agitation and excitement, revelations to be transformed by or to transform, a book incapable of being read straight through, a book, even, to bring reading to stop.
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