A Journey through Philosophy in 101 Anecdotes

Might a million monkeys typing away randomly on a million typewriters ever create a meaningful book? In this musing of French mathematician emile Borel, Rescher discovers an entry point into G. W. Leibniz's speculation on the limits of human knowledge, a speculation leading to Kurd Lasswitz's dream of a universal library, a dream opening onto Friedrich Nietzsche's doctrine of the eternal recurrence. Through an interwoven network of 101 mutually illuminating episodes, Rescher carries readers across a wide swath of philosophy—ancient, medieval, modern—probing seven thematic clusters. His speed-dating approach to philosophy gives readers stimulating glimpses of philosophy's perennial questions, interrogated from a variety of perspectives. This wide-ranging foray will naturally appeal most to readers already schooled in philosophical principles, but general readers lacking such schooling will uncover surprising insights: whether joining Thomas Hobbes in inspecting oft-darned socks or William James in pursuing an elusive squirrel, they will marvel at the truths careful thinking can tease out of ordinary life experiences. A kaleidoscopic survey of the treasures of philosophy.

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Nicholas Rescher presents the first comprehensive chronology of philosophical anecdotes, spanning from antiquity to the current era. He introduces us to the major thinkers, texts, and historical periods of Western philosophy, recounting many of the stories philosophers have used over time to engage with issues of philosophical concern: questions of meaning, truth, knowledge, value, action, and ethics. Rescher’s anecdotes touch on a wide range of themes—from logic to epistemology, ethics to metaphysics—and offer much insight into the breadth and depth of philosophical inquiry. This book illustrates the various ways philosophers throughout history have viewed the issues in their field, and how anecdotes can work to inform and encourage philosophical thought.

304 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5 in.

June, 2015

isbn : 9780822963356

about the author

Nicholas Rescher

Nicholas Rescher is Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh and co-chairman of the Center for Philosophy of Science. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he has served as president of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association, the Leibniz Society of North America, the Charles S. Peirce Society, the American Catholic Philosophical Association, and the Metaphysical Society of America. Rescher is the author or editor of more than one hundred books, including Ignorance (On the Wider Implications of Deficient Knowledge), Philosophical Inquiries: An Introduction to Problems of Philosophy, and A Journey through Philosophy in 101 Anecdotes.

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Nicholas Rescher