The Duck That Won the Lottery: 100 New Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher

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From the author of the "hugely entertaining"(Publishers Weekly) The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten, lessons in debunking the faulty arguments we hear every day

This latest book from the pop philosophy author of The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten tackles an endlessly fascinating area of popular debate-the faulty argument. Julian Baggini provides a rapid-fire selection of short, stimulating, and entertaining quotes from a wide range of famous people in politics, the media, and entertainment, including Donald Rumsfeld, Emma Thompson, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, and Chris Martin. Each entry takes as its starting point an example of highly questionable-though oddly persuasive-reasoning from a broad variety of subjects. As Baggini teases out the logic in the illogical, armchair philosophers and aficionados of the absurd will find themselves nodding their heads as they laugh out loud. The Duck That Won the Lottery is perfect fodder for any cocktail party and pure pleasure for anyone who loves a good brain twister.
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About the author

Julian Baggini is the editor of The Philosopher’s Magazine.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Apr 28, 2009
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781101050415
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Games & Activities / Logic & Brain Teasers
Philosophy / Logic
Reference / Quotations
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The Freakonomics of math—a math-world superstar unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts its power in our hands

The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn’t confined to abstract incidents that never occur in real life, but rather touches everything we do—the whole world is shot through with it.

Math allows us to see the hidden structures underneath the messy and chaotic surface of our world. It’s a science of not being wrong, hammered out by centuries of hard work and argument. Armed with the tools of mathematics, we can see through to the true meaning of information we take for granted: How early should you get to the airport? What does “public opinion” really represent? Why do tall parents have shorter children? Who really won Florida in 2000? And how likely are you, really, to develop cancer?

How Not to Be Wrong presents the surprising revelations behind all of these questions and many more, using the mathematician’s method of analyzing life and exposing the hard-won insights of the academic community to the layman—minus the jargon. Ellenberg chases mathematical threads through a vast range of time and space, from the everyday to the cosmic, encountering, among other things, baseball, Reaganomics, daring lottery schemes, Voltaire, the replicability crisis in psychology, Italian Renaissance painting, artificial languages, the development of non-Euclidean geometry, the coming obesity apocalypse, Antonin Scalia’s views on crime and punishment, the psychology of slime molds, what Facebook can and can’t figure out about you, and the existence of God.

Ellenberg pulls from history as well as from the latest theoretical developments to provide those not trained in math with the knowledge they need. Math, as Ellenberg says, is “an atomic-powered prosthesis that you attach to your common sense, vastly multiplying its reach and strength.” With the tools of mathematics in hand, you can understand the world in a deeper, more meaningful way. How Not to Be Wrong will show you how.
 當代最暢銷的天才型哲普作家朱利安‧巴吉尼,向人類拋出20個倫理學大疑問:不管是家庭與性愛,還是戰爭與恐怖主義?請問你如何回答?
安樂死該合法化嗎?墮胎是一種謀殺嗎?
性是道德議題嗎?吸毒是永遠不被認可的嗎?
究竟在怎樣的狀況下,我們該為自己的行為負責?

根據蓋洛普民調,約有38%-45%美國人認為「沒有什麼道德價值可言」。
BBC也有一項民調,顯示83%的人同意「英國的道德正在向下沉淪」。

但現今走進任何大型超市,都可發現大量「倫理」產品,從公平交易食品到生態友善的清潔劑都有。大多數企業都有倫理規章與「企業社會責任」主管。英國對海外援助的金額,在2013年達到史上最高,約國內生產毛額的0.7%。

在這個媒體不斷宣稱道德淪喪、但大家卻比以往更加要求倫理責任的社會裡,往往發現自己面臨的局面比以往更加險惡,我們得要在自己以及他人加諸的判斷與偏頗的地雷區裡匍匐前進,好找出什麼才是「該做『對』的事」。

在《如果沒有上帝,想做什麼都可以?:20個倫理學大哉問》裡,英國暢銷書作家與哲學家巴吉尼,檢視20個含蓋生活各個面向的關鍵倫理議題,不管是家庭與性愛,還是戰爭與恐怖主義,每個問題都與人類切身相關。

巴吉尼客觀地解釋偉大哲學家的觀點,也遵循他個人的論證,引導讀者明白他個人的判斷與偏頗,同時也讓他人的看法有發揮的空間。希望讀者看過本書後,能更明白自己的判斷與偏頗,或是透過古今各偉大倫理學家的觀點來加以改變。例如:
‧吸毒該不該除罪,要如何從法律與道德來思考?
‧隨機殺人事件中的犯案者以精神失常來辯護,站得住腳嗎?
‧宗教對墮胎與同性戀議題的態度翻轉,難道上帝是所有人中最極端的道德相對主義者?
‧美國總統否認氣候變遷而退出巴黎協定,我們可以提出有力的反制理由嗎?
‧罹患罕見疾病的英國男嬰小查理事件中,難道父母沒有權利維護孩子的生命權?

人類在生活中隨時都可能要面對道德與倫理的兩難,即使該捐多少錢贊助慈善行動,都牽涉到人的道德判斷。巴吉尼在《如果沒有上帝,想做什麼都可以?》這本書裡,引導大家以更有助益的方式來思考這些兩難,擺脫囿限在「手段—目的」之間的狹隘思考,以更寬廣的視野來正確界定問題。

巴吉尼並不想在書中「解決」所有重大的倫理兩難,甚至認為人類根本不需要任何道德法則,因為倫理的一個深層真相在於:人類追求的價值往往相互衝突,但這並不是因為其中一個是錯的、而另一個是對的,其中突顯的是如何權衡取捨。

巴吉尼認為,與其提供是否符合道德的精準答案,直視不確定性與模糊地帶,才更能在論辯中得出最明確且確定的結論。真正的道德論證,個人必須親自面對這些議題,而不是一連串標準立場的集結。 
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