Thursday, August 24, 2017

Book Review: Think: A compelling introduction to philosophy

'Think: A compelling introduction to philosophy' by Simon Blackburn
"This book", author says, "resulted from years of wrestling with the problems of trying to interest people in ideas". It is about the big themes: knowledge, reason, truth, mind, freedom, destiny, iden¬tity, God, goodness, justice. Though these belong to the hidden preserve of specialists, through questions like, Why is there some¬thing and not nothing?, What is the difference between past and future?, Why does causation run always from past to future, or does it make sense to think that the future might influence the past?, Why does nature keep on in a regular way? Does the world presup¬pose a Creator?, etc., Simon familiarizes us with ideas and concepts that can be compared with the lenses through which we see the world. 
After such an introduction, the book goes on to discuss an unsettling thought many of us must have had since childhood, that the whole world might be a dream, or what is reality. After Descartes and the ideas of knowledge, we are shown the next big concept, mind, and it's function in making us with the know of things. How the range of our thoughts affect our own freedom, and how it controls our own identity is dealt by next chapter, namely, free  will. What is the self inside us?, is the next esoteric question to follow. Which is followed by the most mystic mytery of all, the concept of God. Does that concept exist only in understanding? Also in reality?
Next chapter takes a very brief glance at formal logic, and the problems of inductive reasoning, as well as some of the elements of scientific reasoning. After examining thoughts about our own existence, thoughts about mind and body, thoughts about freedom and fate, thoughts about the self, thoughts about God, and thoughts about the order of nature, the next chapter deals with the nature of thoughts itself - that is, the very structure of our thoughts, or the way to think properly. What changes we need to make to the premise we made in earlier chapters, for seamless integration of reality with our thoughts.
The last chapter studies the issue of putting all that we learned to use, so far as meeting all that matters to us.