Tuesday, 1 September 2015


Philosophy: Key ThemesPhilosophy: Key Themes by Julian Baggini
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Philosophy: Key Themes is a beginner's guide to understanding and critiquing philosophical arguments. Each chapter introduces one of the five major themes covered on philosophy courses: Theory of Knowledge, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Mind, and Political Philosophy. Baggini's approach combines explanation with summary while encouraging the reader to question the arguments and positions presented. This text can be used either independently of, or together with, its companion volume Philosophy: Key Texts.

MY REVIEW: Overall, an excellent introduction to thinking philosophically and the major arguments in the five themes covered. Easy to read and encourages the reader to think critically about ideas and their historical development.

The one disappointing chapter was that on the philosophy of religion. The tone was quite different in this chapter and focused on critiquing the beliefs of Christianity rather than taking a broad approach to the topic like other chapters. The philosophy of religion covers topics like '... alternative beliefs about God, the varieties of religious experience, the interplay between science and religion, the nature and scope of good and evil, and religious treatments of birth, history, and death. The field also includes the ethical implications of religious commitments, the relation between faith, reason, experience and tradition, concepts of the miraculous, the sacred revelation, mysticism, power, and salvation.' (Philosophy of Religion. (n.d.). Philosophy of Religion. Retrieved September 2, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philoso...) However, Baggini doesn't convey this richness and depth in the chapter.

Apart from the chapter on philosophy of religion, this is a very satisfying read. Baggini is an excellent philosopher who is adept at conveying philosophical ideas in language that is accessible to the average educated person. Highly recommended.

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