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The Big Questions: A Short Introduction to Philosophy by Robert C. Solomon

Short introductions to philosophy flourish nowadays. Few are great, but Robert C. Solomon's work intrigues. Terse statements abound herein: Sartre emphasized self-responsibility, and facing the facts of internal and external conflicts. Kierkegaard wrote about passion and leaps of faith. Believing that God is everything, Spinoza probably never worked in the sewage industry.

 

Solomon covers Pascal's wager, the cosmological argument, and the argument from design. Attempting to counter cynicism, Solomon writes no one was ever born alone. Others share our births. We make and break connections, rather than the indifferent universe. Our own indifference should concern us most. If we ignore tremendous opportunities in this life, a heaven may be no different. The apathetic and unhappy can be unhappy and apathetic anywhere. The existence of Gods and afterlives does not automatically provide purpose. An afterlife can be a purposeless eternity. Duration in time has little to do with purpose. The existence of God or Gods provides little purpose except for reassurances that God or Gods exist. Solomon's writing style delights.

 

Worth a look. 298p 1986

book review article by J.T. Fournier, last updated July 23, 2009

 

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