You Kant Make it Up!: Strange Ideas from History's Greatest Philosophers by Gary Hayden

From TheBookbag
Jump to: navigation, search


You Kant Make it Up!: Strange Ideas from History's Greatest Philosophers by Gary Hayden

Category: Popular Science
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Laura Bailey
Reviewed by Laura Bailey
Summary: You Kant Make It Up takes a big range of big ideas and argues them through to their (often bizarre) logical conclusions. This books takes you on a brief yet informative whirlwind tour that would be great for anyone who wants a starting point for delving into philosophy, or just wants to read something that is a bit of a novelty.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: September 2011
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1851688456

Share on: Delicious Digg Facebook Reddit Stumbleupon Follow us on Twitter



In You Kant Make it Up, journalist and philosopher Gary Hayden takes his readers through some of the biggest and most important ideas right from the very beginnings of philosophical thought up to the philosophy of the modern day. He gives a brief explanation and discussion of each idea, and shows how through the ages philosophers have argued pretty much everything you could think of, much of which seems bizarre to the modern thinker.

To do this Hayden has to break huge ideas, about most of which many lengthy books have been written, into just a few paragraphs. It would be easy to criticise this as over-simplifying, however Hayden is very good at making things digestible for the reader who isn't familiar with the authors he's discussing. Of course things have to be left out and the Hayden addresses this by giving further reading suggestions at the end of the book, neatly tied in with each chapter to make it easier for a reader to follow up things that have captured their interest.

I do wish Hayden had either cut down the (already pretty short) introduction, or got rid of it entirely. I felt the introduction talked down to the reader, offering an explanation of how the book would be laid out and how best to read it, one of my pet hates in this kind of book. If I had skimmed this introduction in a shop I probably wouldn't have bought the book. However, continuing to read is definitely worthwhile.

This book could be picked up and enjoyed by people no matter how much or how little they already know about the theories it discusses. It works to both whet the appetite of the new comer to philosophy and also as an amusing read for those who are already familiar with the ideas. Hayden may possibly be the first philosopher to take these ideas to their logical conclusions in today's society. In conversational and tongue in cheek prose Hayden shows how Bentham's 'Greatest Happiness Principle' proves that Dan Brown is better than Shakespeare, and that the theory of negative existentials makes it possible to argue that both Harry Potter and the Tooth Fairy must exist.

This book gives you the basics of a lot of the fundamental ideas and theories of philosophy, and will at the very least give you the ability to nod in understanding when you accidentally find yourself in the midst of a conversation which is taking a philosophical bent. And this book does get you into the ideas, it makes you want to argue back, it has the ability to spark a debate. Perhaps then, you should buy two, and give one to someone you could have a good argument with.

Further reading suggestion: If you enjoy You Kant Make It Up then you might like The Secrets of Happiness by Richard Schoch, or perhaps Breakfast with Socrates by Robert Rowland Smith.

Buy You Kant Make it Up!: Strange Ideas from History's Greatest Philosophers by Gary Hayden at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy You Kant Make it Up!: Strange Ideas from History's Greatest Philosophers by Gary Hayden at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy You Kant Make it Up!: Strange Ideas from History's Greatest Philosophers by Gary Hayden at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy You Kant Make it Up!: Strange Ideas from History's Greatest Philosophers by Gary Hayden at Amazon.com.


Comments

Like to comment on this review?

Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.