The Complete Philosophy Files by Stephen Law

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The Complete Philosophy Files by Stephen Law

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Fantastic introduction to some of philosophy's biggest questions. Easy to read and conversational in tone, but it doesn't duck any of the scarier implications of the topics under discussion. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: September 2011
Publisher: Orion
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1444003348

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The Philosophy Files and The Philosophy Files 2 were first published in 2000 and 2003 respectively. Now we have them combined and reissued with illustrations by the wonderful Daniel Postgate.

Stephen Laws asks fifteen of the biggest philosophical questions in fifteen files. They're all there - Should I eat meat? Is time travel possible? Does God exist? How do I know the world isn't virtual? - and together, they form an introduction to this most esoteric of academic disciplines. Arguments and rebuttals are dramatised by invented characters so it's easy to follow the debate and little cartoons both amplify the concepts and provide an antidote against brain meltdown.

The real star of the Philosophy Files show is the quality of Laws's writing which explains complex concepts with clarity and in a direct way, but which is full of sparkle and fizzle and enthusiasm and jokes and oh, everything you could want in a book that aims to stimulate independent and sophisticated thought.

I can't recommend this reissue highly enough. Honestly. Honestly, honestly, honestly. It's funny and energetic and creative. But it's also deadly serious and challenging. It's easy to read and it explains difficult concepts - Ockham's Razor, anyone? - in a way that makes perfect sense. It asks questions but doesn't dictate answers. And best of all, Law doesn't shy away from the difficult topics. Indeed, he both warns and inspires his readers about this in the introduction:

Many philosophical questions can be a bit frightening to think about. That's one reason why people don't like to think about them - they like to stay where they feel safe. But if you are anything like me, you will enjoy the challenge, excitement and sense of vertigo thinking philosophically can bring.

Who could resist a challenge like that?!

If you prefer fact to fiction, you'll also enjoy Science: Sorted! Evolution, Nature and Stuff by Glenn Murphy and Will Jellyfish Rule the World? by Leo Hickman.

Buy The Complete Philosophy Files by Stephen Law at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Complete Philosophy Files by Stephen Law at

Buy The Complete Philosophy Files by Stephen Law at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Complete Philosophy Files by Stephen Law at


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