It’s not a million miles from some of the things that he writes about in His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust trilogies. He explores the experiences that influenced each writer, saying ‘it’s very rare for philosophers to say very much about their history and what brought them to the views they have’. Back when the Royal Society was founded in the 1660s, figures like Newton, Descartes and Boyle all thought of themselves as ‘natural philosophers’. D’Angour has managed to tell what I feel, as an outsider, is quite a convincing story about Socrates. That is the way in which she understands the world, by communicating it in written words, even if just to herself. It’s a really interesting and entertaining book and that’s why I’ve included it. The 10 Best Books of 2019 The editors of The Times Book Review choose the best fiction and nonfiction titles this year. Let’s go on to the next book in your best philosophy of 2020 selection, which is Emily Thomas’s The Meaning of Travel. Australian philosopher Peter Singer introduces us to the highlights of a century of philosophy books. Whether or not he’s right about Aspasia, it’s still an interesting hypothesis. What should philosophy be concerned with as a discipline? Our philosophy editor Nigel Warburton talks us through some of the best philosophy books that came out in 2019. According to the story D’Angour tells, it’s very likely he had a love affair with Aspasia, who had been Pericles’s lover, and that she was the source of the character Diotima in Plato’s Symposium. I would. There’s always that problem in ancient philosophy, working out who Socrates was—as opposed to the character that Plato created in his brilliant dialogues. He used criteria like how frequently they return their library books, or how late they are with their marking, things that he could find public data on. But within a philosophical context, she’s written about mostly in relation to Jean-Paul Sartre. But she was far more sensitive to the complexities of actual lives and how those shape the choices people make than Sartre ever was. The eighteenth-century philosopher wielded his powers of ridicule and witticism against religious fanatics—but always championed free speech and religious toleration. He was a brilliant philosopher of logic and on the side he was a virulent anti-Semite and racist. It’s part of a new genre of Ladybird book—which I don’t think the public has quite latched onto yet—which is the Ladybird Expert Book. How should we live our lives? A Theory of Jerks and Other Philosophical Misadventures Peter Hacker introduces us to perhaps the most important philosopher since Kant, and explains why Wittgenstein would be horrified by Noam Chomsky. From page-turning fiction to conversation-starting nonfiction and poetry, here are 100 books from 2019 that are worth reading. Justin E. H. Smith, professor of philosophy at the Université de Paris, introduces us to what he sees as the real history of philosophy. Once you get past that, then suddenly you’re into these beautiful and inspiring descriptions of nature.”, “According to Aristotle, it is hard to become virtuous, and hard to become vicious too. Read. Finally, it's an older book, but A Professor's Duties by Peter Markie is a wonderfully thoughtful book by perhaps the best philosophy teacher I've ever had the chance to work with. Five Books participates in the Amazon Associate program and earns money from qualifying purchases. Read This September (2020) our philosophy editor, Nigel Warburton, asked Brian about some of the latest Nietzsche books, notable works that have come out in the decade since we first spoke to him. The most callous acts of cruelty and evil involve recognising the human feelings of the victim, their ability to feel shame and humiliation. Kirkpatrick quotes Beauvoir when she was really quite young, writing in her diary about the “duality so often observed between the being that I am within myself and the being seen from the outside.” It’s this weird divide we all feel as we grow up, but I would never have been able to articulate it. It’s a reconstruction from the fragments, but inevitably with the classical world we are dealing with fragments. Professor of political theory, Terrell Carver, takes us through the most influential books, in English, about Marx, Marxism and his friend, publicist and financial backer, Friedrich Engels. The complete absence of context gives scope for a kind of timelessness. So the error in the title is of separating these things out and assuming that you couldn’t have qualitative aspects to the stuff that constitutes the universe. So they’re different, they were doing different things. There was certainly sexism involved. It would be nice if it were true because it would make the most significant early philosopher—the man who has cast a shadow across the whole of Western philosophy—in some ways dependent on the ideas of a woman. In 2011, we asked Nietzsche expert Brian Leiter to explain the appeal of the controversial philosopher and to recommend books by and about him. It’s an eloquent argument for personal liberty on the grounds that it’s the condition in which human beings are most likely to flourish and be happy.”. I think it’s time other philosophers started thinking seriously about how aphorisms work. If you're enjoying this interview, please support us by donating a small amount. Sea, sun and Socrates: what more could you want for the perfect holiday? What can Nietzsche and Aristotle teach us about how to live? What Goff argues is that panpsychism can provide a way out.