When Peter J. Vernezze took a leave of absence from his position as a philosophy professor to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer in China, he supplemented his main task--teaching English--with leading a weekly philosophical discussion group with Chinese undergraduate and graduate students at Sichuan Normal University in Chengdu. In each session the students debated topics as diverse as the status of truth, the meaning of life, the reality of fate, the definition of sanity, the necessity of religion, and the value of romantic love. Each of the twenty-five chapters focuses on the topic of one evening’s discussion, which was always in the form of a question: How are ancient conceptions of virtue holding up in a society overrun by capitalism? Are traditionally conservative sexual values going the way of the rickshaw? Can an atheistic country even have a sense of morality? This unprecedented portrait of the Chinese mind allows the up-and-coming generation--known as the ba ling hou, or "post-1980s generation”--to express its unique perspective on China--and America. In addition, the book provides the reader with a crash course in Chinese culture, both ancient and modern, as students discuss everything from Confucius to the Edison Chen scandal (a Chinese pop star whose sexually explicit pictures found their way onto the Internet), from classical Chinese poetry to the Super Boy and Super Girl competitions (Chinese versions of American Idol).Throughout, the author provides the intellectual and historical context necessary to appreciate and understand today’s China.
This collection of essays by philosophers who are also fans does a deep probe of the Sopranos, analyzing the adventures and personalities of Tony, Carmella, Livia, and the rest of television's most irresistible mafia family for their metaphysical, epistemological, value theory, eastern philosophical, and contemporary postmodern possibilities. No prior philosophical qualificationsor mob connections are required to enjoy these musings, which are presented with the same vibrancy and wit that have made the show such a hit.
The legions of Bob Dylan fans know that Dylan is not just a great composer, writer, and performer, but a great thinker as well. In Bob Dylan and Philosophy, eighteen philosophers analyze Dylan’s ethical positions, political commitments, views on gender and sexuality, and his complicated and controversial attitudes toward religion. All phases of Dylan’s output are covered, from his early acoustic folk ballads and anthem-like protest songs to his controversial switch to electric guitar to his sometimes puzzling, often profound music of the 1970s and beyond. The book examines different aspects of Dylan’s creative thought through a philosophical lens, including personal identity, negative and positive freedom, enlightenment and postmodernism in his social criticism, and the morality of bootlegging. An engaging introduction to deep philosophical truths, the book provides Dylan fans with an opportunity to learn about philosophy while impressing fans of philosophy with the deeper implications of his intellectual achievements.