Think : A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy, Hardback

Think : A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy Hardback

4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


What am I? What is consciousness? What is the difference between past and future? Does the world presuppose a creator? Do we always act out of self-interest? This is a book about the big questions in life: knowledge, consciousness, fate, God, truth, goodness, justice.

It is for anyone who believes there are big questions out there, but does not know how to approach them.

Written by the author of the bestselling Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, Think sets out to explain what they are and why they are important.

Simon Blackburn begins by putting forward a convincing case for the study of philosophy and goes on to give the reader a sense of how the great historical figures such as Plato, Hume, Kant, and Descartes have approached its central themes.

Each chapter explains a major issue, and gives the reader a self-contained guide through the problems that philosophers have studied.

The large range of topics covered range from scepticism, the self, mind and body, and freedom to ethics and the arguments surrounding the existence of God.

Written in a lively and approachable manner, this book is ideal for all those who want to learn how the basic techniques of thinking shape our existence.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320 pages, bibliography
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: History of Western philosophy
  • ISBN: 9780192100245



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

I bought this book for $1 at a garage sale. While reading the section on Descartes, I had the following thought about Cogito and zen-like state of suburban yard maintenance:-----------It is such a lonely place there in the yard when one is left alone with thoughts and little else. Each suburban yard is its own Cogito, the rock upon which all doubt of existence is tested. The man who works there, whether at his own pace or with forced determination to meet a standard set by some unknown force, must eventually deal with the thoughts that occur in his mind. He may try to drown them out with the humming of 2-cycle engines, but he cannot deny that they exist. They will creep up on him as he falls into the pattern around the maples or the flowerbeds, the same pattern he walked the week before and the week before that. And when his automatic turning and cutting is conducted almost without perception, he will find himself face to face with those thoughts he sought to hide from. It is the same with the Zen masters of archery or sword. This pseudo-agricultural art, this metaphysical horticulture cannot be denied.-----------A great introduction to philosophy, but perhaps a bit too thick for beginners. If you're looking for a lighter read, try Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton.

Review by

I was an absolutely awful philosophy student for a couple of years in college, so I've always wanted to see if I could get back on that horse and understand some of those big, abstract thoughts that excited, scared, and mystified me in equal measure as an undergraduate. Simon Blackburn's "Think" was a pretty decent place to pick up the thread again. It's certainly written for the curious layperson, and Blackburn writes in a personable and straightforward tone on all the Big Questions. Not that I'm clear on everything: even after going over the relevant section various times, the mind/body problem is still frustrates me, but I suppose I might be in good company there. The author, to his credit, admits the problems he's addressing are likely intractable -- though it should probably be noted that he did this in the book's closing pages, not in its introduction. Some qualms: though he's usually careful to label them as such, he inserts his own opinions in the text more than many philosophy professors would, and his take on God -- he considers a theistic God to be something of a non-starter -- might alienate a few Christian readers. Others might complain that the excerpts from the philosophical texts that he includes here could probably have been more extensive. It's not a substitute for four years spent in philosophy lectures or ten years spent in a monastery, but this book's a useful item for readers in search of some new mental framing devices with which to, yah know, think about things.

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