In this highly original work, Robert Nozick develops new views on philosophy’s central topics and weaves them into a unified philosophical perspective. It is many years since a major work in English has ranged so widely over philosophy’s fundamental concerns: the identity of the self, knowledge and skepticism, free will, the question of why there is something rather than nothing, the foundations of ethics, the meaning of life.
Writing in a distinctive and personal philosophical voice, Mr. Nozick presents a new mode of philosophizing. In place of the usual semi-coercive philosophical goals of proof, of forcing people to accept conclusions, this book seeks philosophical explanations and understanding, and thereby stays truer to the original motivations for being interested in philosophy.
Combining new concepts, daring hypotheses, rigorous reasoning, and playful exploration, the book exemplifies how philosophy can be part of the humanities.
[Philosophical Explanations] will attract intelligent people of all backgrounds… Nozick is moved by a splendid passion… His arguments link his explanations to what he is rightly confident of…his vision of a persistent role for philosophy in common life.
An important book… [Nozick is] a philosopher who is answering the questions posed by such philosophers as Kierkegaard, Sartre, Marcel and Buber with the aid of tools produced by such very different philosophers as W. V. Quine, Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam… [He displays a] striking and imaginative originality. For he does nothing less than propose a new way of doing philosophy… Perhaps one good way for the serious general reader to attack this often difficult but always rewarding book would be to begin at the end. First read the fine last chapter on ‘Philosophy and the Meaning of Life’… It should then be very clear why it is important for you, whoever you are, to go back and read the rest of this book.
[This] remarkable new book…brings a reader into immediate and unmistakable contact with an uncommon mind. The clarity of [Nozick’s] style mirrors the lucidity of his thought… This is a major book.
It is not surprising that Nozick has a following. He does not come at the reader with heavy solemnity. His prose style is insouciant, his manner whimsical, and he gives every indication of having lots of fun.
Toward the end of his talented, diverse…book, Robert Nozick embraces the idea of philosophy as an art form, and of the philosopher as a literary creator who works with ideas… [This book] is as brilliant and exciting as anything in contemporary philosophy.
[Nozick is] a theorist with a style and method of his own, and ideas as bold as they are bright.
- 784 pages
- 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches
- Belknap Press
From this author
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