What makes the difference between failure and success?
A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller, The Traveler’s Gift offered a modern-day parable of one man’s choices.
Only a few months ago, David Ponder was a successful executive. Now he’s a desperate man. In times of great uncertainty, we need divine wisdom. Many of the greatest minds in history overcame personal struggles and adversity, and they emerged the stronger for it. What guidance would iconic heroes, such as Abraham Lincoln, King Solomon, and Anne Frank, give us today in our ever-changing climate of world events?
Join David Ponder in The Traveler’s Summit on his incredible journey to discover the Seven Decisions for Success that can turn any life around, no matter how hopeless a situation may seem.
The Traveler’s Gift became required reading for some of America’s high schools and a “life skills” tool for members of several college sports teams as well as some MLB and NFL franchises. Discover with David Ponder that attitude makes the difference between success and failure.
With The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don’t arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation but that the revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of “normal science,” as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age.
This new edition of Kuhn’s essential work in the history of science includes an insightful introduction by Ian Hacking, which clarifies terms popularized by Kuhn, including paradigm and incommensurability, and applies Kuhn’s ideas to the science of today. Usefully keyed to the separate sections of the book, Hacking’s introduction provides important background information as well as a contemporary context. Newly designed, with an expanded index, this edition will be eagerly welcomed by the next generation of readers seeking to understand the history of our perspectives on science.
"A genuine spiritual quest. ... Extraordinary." — New York Times
Looking both east and west, in bulletins from the past and from far afield, Oliver Burkeman introduces us to an unusual group of people who share a single, surprising way of thinking about life. Whether experimental psychologists, terrorism experts, Buddhists, hardheaded business consultants, Greek philosophers, or modern-day gurus, they argue that in our personal lives, and in society at large, it's our constant effort to be happy that is making us miserable. And that there is an alternative path to happiness and success that involves embracing failure, pessimism, insecurity, and uncertainty—the very things we spend our lives trying to avoid. Thought-provoking, counterintuitive, and ultimately uplifting, The Antidote is the intelligent person's guide to understanding the much-misunderstood idea of happiness.
"The Perennial Philosophy," Aldous Huxley writes, "may be found among the traditional lore of peoples in every region of the world, and in its fully developed forms it has a place in every one of the higher religions."
With great wit and stunning intellect—drawing on a diverse array of faiths, including Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Christian mysticism, and Islam—Huxley examines the spiritual beliefs of various religious traditions and explains how they are united by a common human yearning to experience the divine. The Perennial Philosophy includes selections from Meister Eckhart, Rumi, and Lao Tzu, as well as the Bhagavad Gita, Tibetan Book of the Dead, Diamond Sutra, and Upanishads, among many others.
Originally published in 1940, this book is a rare phenomenon, a living classic that introduces and elucidates the various levels of reading and how to achieve them—from elementary reading, through systematic skimming and inspectional reading, to speed reading. Readers will learn when and how to “judge a book by its cover,” and also how to X-ray it, read critically, and extract the author’s message from the text.
Also included is instruction in the different techniques that work best for reading particular genres, such as practical books, imaginative literature, plays, poetry, history, science and mathematics, philosophy and social science works.
Finally, the authors offer a recommended reading list and supply reading tests you can use measure your own progress in reading skills, comprehension, and speed.
Harry Potter has been heralded as one of the most popularbook series of all time and the philosophical nature of Harry,Hermione, and Ron's quest to rid the world of its ultimate evil isone of the many things that make this series special. TheUltimate Harry Potter and Philosophy covers all seven titles inJ.K. Rowling's groundbreaking series and takes fans back toGodric's Hollow to discuss life after death, to consider what moralreasoning drove Harry to choose death, and to debate whether SiriusBlack is a man or a dog.
With publication timed to coincide with the release of the movieHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1), this bookwill be the definitive guide for all fans looking to appreciate theseries on a deeper level.Covers a range of intriguing topics such as the redemption ofSeverus Snape, the power of love, and destiny in the wizardingworldGives you a new perspective on Harry Potter characters,plot lines, and themesMakes a perfect companion to the Harry Potter books andmovies
Packed with interesting ideas and insights, The UltimateHarry Potter and Philosophy is an ideal companion for anyoneinterested in unraveling the subtext and exploring the greaterissues at work in the story.
Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking offers seventy-seven of Dennett’s most successful "imagination-extenders and focus-holders" meant to guide you through some of life’s most treacherous subject matter: evolution, meaning, mind, and free will. With patience and wit, Dennett deftly deploys his thinking tools to gain traction on these thorny issues while offering readers insight into how and why each tool was built.
Alongside well-known favorites like Occam’s Razor and reductio ad absurdum lie thrilling descriptions of Dennett’s own creations: Trapped in the Robot Control Room, Beware of the Prime Mammal, and The Wandering Two-Bitser. Ranging across disciplines as diverse as psychology, biology, computer science, and physics, Dennett’s tools embrace in equal measure light-heartedness and accessibility as they welcome uninitiated and seasoned readers alike. As always, his goal remains to teach you how to "think reliably and even gracefully about really hard questions."
A sweeping work of intellectual seriousness that’s also studded with impish delights, Intuition Pumps offers intrepid thinkers—in all walks of life—delicious opportunities to explore their pet ideas with new powers.
Alexander was born into the royal family of Macedonia, the kingdom that would soon rule over Greece. Tutored as a boy by Aristotle, Alexander had an inquisitive mind that would serve him well when he faced formidable obstacles during his military campaigns. Shortly after taking command of the army, he launched an invasion of the Persian empire, and continued his conquests as far south as the deserts of Egypt and as far east as the mountains of present-day Pakistan and the plains of India. Alexander spent nearly all his adult life away from his homeland, and he and his men helped spread the Greek language throughout western Asia, where it would become the lingua franca of the ancient world. Within a short time after Alexander’s death in Baghdad, his empire began to fracture. Best known among his successors are the Ptolemies of Egypt, whose empire lasted until Cleopatra.
In his lively and authoritative biography of Alexander, classical scholar and historian Philip Freeman describes Alexander’s astonishing achievements and provides insight into the mercurial character of the great conqueror. Alexander could be petty and magnanimous, cruel and merciful, impulsive and farsighted. Above all, he was ferociously, intensely competitive and could not tolerate losing—which he rarely did. As Freeman explains, without Alexander, the influence of Greece on the ancient world would surely not have been as great as it was, even if his motivation was not to spread Greek culture for beneficial purposes but instead to unify his empire. Only a handful of people have influenced history as Alexander did, which is why he continues to fascinate us.
Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was one of the leading social theorists in the United States. Her Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy and Love and Saint Augustine are also published by the University of Chicago Press.
It may be the most underappreciated tool at our disposal, one we learn to use well in infancy-and then abandon as we grow older. Critical to learning, innovation, success, even to happiness-yet often discouraged in our schools and workplaces-it can unlock new business opportunities and reinvent industries, spark creative insights at many levels, and provide a transformative new outlook on life. It is the ability to question-and to do so deeply, imaginatively, and “beautifully.”
In this fascinating exploration of the surprising power of questioning, innovation expert Warren Berger reveals that powerhouse businesses like Google, Nike, and Netflix, as well as hot Silicon Valley startups like Pandora and Airbnb, are fueled by the ability to ask fundamental, game-changing questions. But Berger also shares human stories of people using questioning to solve everyday problems-from “How can I adapt my career in a time of constant change?” to “How can I step back from the daily rush and figure out what really makes me happy?”
By showing how to approach questioning with an open, curious mind and a willingness to work through a series of “Why,” “What if,” and “How” queries, Berger offers an inspiring framework of how we can all arrive at better solutions, fresh possibilities, and greater success in business and life.
The five "books" refer to the idea that there are different elements of battle, just as there are different physical elements in life, as described by Buddhism, Shinto, and other Eastern religions. Through the book Musashi defends his thesis: a man who conquers himself is ready to take it on on the world, should need arise.
As A Man Thinketh by James Allen
The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine
Alcibiades I by Plato
Alexandria and her Schools by Charles Kingsley
An 'Attic' Philosopher by Emile Souvestre
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume
An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Taste, and of the Origin of our Ideas of Beauty, etc. by Frances Reynolds
An Essay on the Beautiful by Plotinus
An Introduction to Philosophy by George Stuart Fullerton
The Analects of Confucius by James Legge
The Analysis of Mind by Bertrand Russell
The Ancient East by D. G. Hogarth
SUN TZU ON THE ART OF WAR by Sun Tzu
The Basis of Morality by Annie Besant
Bergson and His Philosophy by J. Alexander Gunn
Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura
Book of Wise Sayings by W. A. Clouston
The Breath of Life by John Burroughs
Bushido, the Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobé
The Conditions of Existence as Affecting the Perpetuation of Living Beings by Thomas H. Huxley
The Complete Angler 1653 by Isaak Walton
The Conquest of Fear by Basil King
Cosmic Consciousness by Ali Nomad
Creative Unity by Rabindranath Tagore
The Critique of Practical Reason by Immanuel Kant
Death by Maurice Maeterlinck
Hints Towards the Formation of a More Comprehensive Theory of Life by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
A History of Freedom of Thought by John Bagnell Bury History of Mediaeval Jewish Philosophy by Isaac Husik
The Idea of God in Early Religions by F. B. Jevons
Initiation into Philosophy by Emile Faguet
Introduction to the Philosophy and Writings of Plato by Thomas Taylor
Kant's Theory of Knowledge by Harold Arthur Prichard
The Law and the Word by Thomas Troward
Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
Man And Superman by George Bernard Shaw
On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
Pragmatism by William James
Principles of Philosophy by Rene Descartes
Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus by Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
Tragic Sense of Life by Miguel de Unamuno
What is Property? by P. J. Proudhon
Where No Fear Was: A Book About Fear by Arthur Christopher Benson
Within You is the Power by Henry Thomas Hamblin
Fundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals by Immanuel Kant
Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche
A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume
The Problems of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell
The Ethics by Benedict de Spinoza
One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern. We have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves. And we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us. In other words, as Harry Frankfurt writes, "we have no theory."
Frankfurt, one of the world's most influential moral philosophers, attempts to build such a theory here. With his characteristic combination of philosophical acuity, psychological insight, and wry humor, Frankfurt proceeds by exploring how bullshit and the related concept of humbug are distinct from lying. He argues that bullshitters misrepresent themselves to their audience not as liars do, that is, by deliberately making false claims about what is true. In fact, bullshit need not be untrue at all.
Rather, bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner's capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.
The Quest for Cosmic Justice is the summation of a lifetime of study and thought about where we as a society are headed -- and why we need to change course before we do irretrievable damage.
I love myself unconditional, therefore I love others the same. I do not judge or criticize myself, therefore I do not do it to others. I realized that my relationship with myself affect others.
My relationship is still not perfect, I don't believe that there is such a situation. I am still learning and growing.
I believe that our relationship with ourselves determines our relationships with others because relationships are a direct reflection of who we are inside. Intimacy which is (into me I seek). God within will guide us through intuition.
Parental issues and holding on to grief can have a direct impact on our relationship with ourselves and then others. How I truly felt about me affected how others treated me. Breakups can be one of the toughest things to overcome when we do not learn why it had to end.
The stability of a relationship begins in infancy, psychological anguish is the reason why most of my relationships failed. I used chakra work to help me heal from my traumatic experiences, I am not saying this is the only way.
As I became aware of Higher Self/Spirit. I started to see my old perception of myself unfold in front of my eyes. I then saw how my strengths and weaknesses affected my relationships with others. I noticed how my hidden pain and anger from my past experiences interfered with my relationship with myself.
I lost good and important people because I had issues that I refused to come face to face with. My pride ruined my relationships too. How I was brought up, how many parents treated each other, how my siblings treated me, and especially how my parents treated me.
I believe that all if not most past traumatic experiences can be resolved; we can heal our hearts again with a little work. We are all one in the creator's eye, so this means with compassion, we can all relate instead of self-hate.
“I can imagine few more enjoyable ways of thinking than to read this book.”—Sarah Bakewell, New York Times Book Review, front-page review Tackling the “darkest question in all of philosophy” with “raffish erudition” (Dwight Garner, New York Times), author Jim Holt explores the greatest metaphysical mystery of all: why is there something rather than nothing? This runaway bestseller, which has captured the imagination of critics and the public alike, traces our latest efforts to grasp the origins of the universe. Holt adopts the role of cosmological detective, traveling the globe to interview a host of celebrated scientists, philosophers, and writers, “testing the contentions of one against the theories of the other” (Jeremy Bernstein, Wall Street Journal). As he interrogates his list of ontological culprits, the brilliant yet slyly humorous Holt contends that we might have been too narrow in limiting our suspects to God versus the Big Bang. This “deft and consuming” (David Ulin, Los Angeles Times) narrative humanizes the profound questions of meaning and existence it confronts.
-- Francis Collins, Director, National Human Genome Research Institute
Many of history's greatest thinkers have wrestled with the ultimate question of belief and nonbelief in God. Though it might seem unlikely that any new arguments could possibly be raised on either side, the twentieth century managed to produce two men who each made brilliant, new, and lasting arguments, one in favor of belief and one opposed. Few spokesmen have ever championed their respective positions better than Sigmund Freud and C. S. Lewis. Sadly, as far as we know, they never met or debated each other directly.
In The Question of God their arguments are placed side by side, as if they were standing at podiums in a shared room. Both thought carefully about the flaws and alternatives to their positions; each considered the other's views. Both men considered the problem of pain and suffering, the nature of love and sex, and the ultimate meaning of life and death. Here, with their debate made explicit, we can take ringside seats at one of history's most profound encounters.
For more than twenty-five years Armand Nicholi has studied the philosophical writings of both men, and has taught a popular course at Harvard that compares the two worldviews. In The Question of God he presents the fruits of years of labor among the published and unpublished writings of Lewis and Freud, including an extensive exploration of their private letters. He allows them to speak for themselves on every major question of belief and nonbelief, but also skillfully draws conclusions from their own lives. Why did Freud have such difficulty maintaining lifelong friendships? How did Lewis's friendships change after his transition from atheism to belief? Why was Freud unable to willfully ignore his own internal moral sense, even though he believed it to be purely a product of socialization and not in any way eternally "true"?
The Question of God may be the best book about belief and nonbelief ever written, since it does not presuppose which answer is correct. Instead, it uses two of history's most articulate spokesmen to present arguments on both sides. In the end, readers must join Nicholi's hundreds of former students in deciding for themselves which path to follow.
George R.R. Martin's New York Times bestselling epicfantasy book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, and the HBO televisionshow adapted from it, have earned critical acclaim and inspiredfanatic devotion. This book delves into the many philosophicalquestions that arise in this complex, character-driven series,including: Is it right for a "good" king to usurp the throne of a"bad" one and murder his family? How far should you go to protectyour family and its secrets? In a fantasy universe with medievalmores and ethics, can female characters reflect modern feministideals?Timed for the premiere of the second season of the HBO Gameof Thrones seriesGives new perspectives on the characters, storylines, andthemes of Game of ThronesDraws on great philosophers from ancient Greece to modernAmerica to explore intriguing topics such as the strange creaturesof Westeros, the incestuous relationship of Jaime and CerseiLannister, and what the kings of Westeros can show us about virtueand honor (or the lack thereof) as they play their game ofthrones
Essential reading for fans, Game of Thrones andPhilosophy will enrich your experience of your favoritemedieval fantasy series.
Ever wonder what Aristotle might say about the life SheldonCooper leads? Why Thomas Hobbes would applaud the roommateagreement? Who Immanuel Kant would treat with "haughty derision"for weaving "un-unravelable webs?" And—mostimportantly—whether Wil Wheaton is truly evil? Ofcourse you have. Bazinga!
This book mines the deep thinking of some of history's mostpotent philosophical minds to explore your most pressing questionsabout The Big Bang Theory and its nerdy genius characters.You might find other philosophy books on science and cosmology, butonly this one refers to Darth Vader Force-chokes, cloning LeonardNimoy, and oompa-loompa-like engineers. Fo-shizzle.Gives you irresistibly geek-worthy insights on your favoriteBig Bang Theory characters, story lines, and ideasExamines important themes involving ethics and virtue, science,semiotics, religion, and the human conditionBrings the thinking of some of the world's greatestphilosophers to bear on The Big Bang Theory, from Aristotleand Plato to Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Simone de Beauvoir, andmore
Essential reading for every Big Bang Theory fan, thisbook explores whether comic-book-wielding geeks can lead the goodlife, and whether they can know enough science to "tear the maskoff nature and stare at the face of God."
Katniss Everdeen is "the girl who was on fire," but she is alsothe girl who made us think, dream, question authority, and rebel.The post-apocalyptic world of Panem's twelve districts is a dividedsociety on the brink of war and struggling to survive, while theCapitol lives in the lap of luxury and pure contentment. At everyturn in the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss, Peeta, Gale, and theirmany allies wrestle with harrowing choices and ethical dilemmasthat push them to the brink. Is it okay for Katniss to break thelaw to ensure her family's survival? Do ordinary moral rules applyin the Arena? Can the world of The Hunger Games shine alight into the dark corners of our world? Why do we often enjoywatching others suffer? How can we distinguish between what's Realand Not Real? This book draws on some of history's most engagingphilosophical thinkers to take you deeper into the story and itsthemes, such as sacrifice, altruism, moral choice, and gender.Gives you new insights into the Hunger Games series and its keycharacters, plot lines, and ideasExamines important themes such as the state of nature, war,celebrity, authenticity, and social classApplies the perspective of some of world's greatest minds, suchas Charles Darwin, Thomas Hobbes, Friedrich Nietzsche, Plato, andImmanuel Kant to the Hunger Games trilogyCovers all three books in the Hunger Games trilogy
An essential companion for Hunger Games fans, this book willtake you deeper into the dystopic world of Panem and into the mindsand motivations of those who occupy it.
Today there are major festivals held in the film’s honor (Lebowskifests), a religion inspired by The Dude’s example (Dudeism), and several books which take stock of the growing Lebowski phenomenon.
Nevertheless, we contend that the Dude is only the latest in a long line of pioneering dudes, both fictional and real. Throughout history, these lounge-chair revolutionaries have helped correct civilization’s ills and excesses with a mellow, lighthearted, live-and-let live attitude. From Lao Tzu to Lebowski, Epicurus to Einstein, The Buddha to Bob Dylan, all have reminded humanity what is most important in life: personal liberty, peace of mind, leisure time and good friends.
Bringing together some of the greatest ideas, quotes and insights Dudeosophy has had to offer, THE TAO OF THE DUDE is not only a virtual Ph.D in Dudeism, but also a soothing sectional sofa for the soul.
Each chapter contains an essay and illustration by the founder of Dudeism, followed by an assortment of quotes and passages that show how Dudeism has existed throughout history, down through the generations, across the sands of time...
Visit www.dudeism.com to find out more
Finite games are the familiar contests of everyday life; they are played in order to be won, which is when they end. But infinite games are more mysterious. Their object is not winning, but ensuring the continuation of play. The rules may change, the boundaries may change, even the participants may change—as long as the game is never allowed to come to an end.
What are infinite games? How do they affect the ways we play our finite games? What are we doing when we play—finitely or infinitely? And how can infinite games affect the ways in which we live our lives?
Carse explores these questions with stunning elegance, teasing out of his distinctions a universe of observation and insight, noting where and why and how we play, finitely and infinitely. He surveys our world—from the finite games of the playing field and playing board to the infinite games found in culture and religion—leaving all we think we know illuminated and transformed. Along the way, Carse finds new ways of understanding everything from how an actress portrays a role, to how we engage in sex, from the nature of evil, to the nature of science. Finite games, he shows, may offer wealth and status, power and glory. But infinite games offer something far more subtle and far grander.
Carse has written a book rich in insight and aphorism. Already an international literary event, Finite and Infinite Games is certain to be argued about and celebrated for years to come. Reading it is the first step in learning to play the infinite game.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. ”
— Henry David Thoreau, Walden
The Yoga Sutras form the theoretical and philosophical basis of Rāja Yoga, and are considered to be the most organized and complete definition of that discipline. The Sutras not only provide yoga with a thorough and consistent philosophical basis, they also clarify many important esoteric concepts which are common to all traditions of Indian thought, such as karma.
Reveals the philosophical questions raised through the artisticcomplexity, compelling characters and absorbing plots of thisground-breaking first-person shooter (FPS)Explores what BioShock teaches the gamer about gaming,and the aesthetics of video game storytellingAddresses a wide array of topics including Marxism, propaganda,human enhancement technologies, political decision-making, freewill, morality, feminism, transworld individuality, and vendingmachines in the dystopian society of RaptureConsiders visionary game developer Ken Levine’s depictionof Ayn Rand’s philosophy, as well as the theories ofAristotle, de Beauvoir, Dewey, Leibniz, Marx, Plato, and othersfrom the Hall of Philosophical Heroes
“If man will strike, strike through the mask!
How can the prisoner reach outside except
by thrusting through the wall?”
Those interested in striking through the mask will welcome a theory of everything that makes sense, doesn’t rely on religious or scientific chicanery, and can be easily understood. And those familiar with Jed McKenna and the Enlightenment Trilogy will know that it’s not just a theory.
Table Of Contains..
01. As a Man Thinketh
Thought and Character
Effect of Thought on Circumstances
Effect of Thought on Health and the Body
Thought and Purpose
The Thought Factor in Achievement
Visions and Ideals
02. The Path of Prosperity
The Lesson of Evil
The World – a Reflex of Mental States
The Way Out of Undesirable Conditions
The Silent Power of Thought Controlling and Directing One’s Forces
The Secret of Health, Success and Power
The Secret of Abounding Happiness
The Realisation of Prosperity"
J. Jeremy Wisnewski (Oneonta, NY) is Assistant Professor ofPhilosophy at Hartwick College and the editor of Family Guy andPhilosophy (978-1-4051-6316-3) and The Office and Philosophy(978-1-4051-7555-5). Rebecca Housel (Rochester, NY) is a professorat Rochester Institute of Technology, where she teaches aboutwriting and pop culture. For William Irwin's biography, please seebelow.
Including annotated further reading at the end of each chapter, Fight Club is essential reading for anyone interested in the film, as well as those studying philosophy and film studies.
Costello's son, a physics professor, admires her literary achievements, but dreads his mother’s lecturing on animal rights at the college where he teaches. His colleagues resist her argument that human reason is overrated and that the inability to reason does not diminish the value of life; his wife denounces his mother’s vegetarianism as a form of moral superiority.
At the dinner that follows her first lecture, the guests confront Costello with a range of sympathetic and skeptical reactions to issues of animal rights, touching on broad philosophical, anthropological, and religious perspectives. Painfully for her son, Elizabeth Costello seems offensive and flaky, but—dare he admit it?—strangely on target.
In this landmark book, Nobel Prize–winning writer J. M. Coetzee uses fiction to present a powerfully moving discussion of animal rights in all their complexity. He draws us into Elizabeth Costello’s own sense of mortality, her compassion for animals, and her alienation from humans, even from her own family. In his fable, presented as a Tanner Lecture sponsored by the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, Coetzee immerses us in a drama reflecting the real-life situation at hand: a writer delivering a lecture on an emotionally charged issue at a prestigious university. Literature, philosophy, performance, and deep human conviction—Coetzee brings all these elements into play.
As in the story of Elizabeth Costello, the Tanner Lecture is followed by responses treating the reader to a variety of perspectives, delivered by leading thinkers in different fields. Coetzee’s text is accompanied by an introduction by political philosopher Amy Gutmann and responsive essays by religion scholar Wendy Doniger, primatologist Barbara Smuts, literary theorist Marjorie Garber, and moral philosopher Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation. Together the lecture-fable and the essays explore the palpable social consequences of uncompromising moral conflict and confrontation.