duminică, 13 iulie 2014

Think by Simon Blackburn

Think is a great introductory book into some of the most important problems in philosophy. Blackburn introduced his essay with a powerful paragraph: “In the end, it is ideas for which people kill each other. It is because of ideas about what the others are like, or who we are, or what our interests or rights require, that we go to war, or oppress others with a good conscience, or even sometimes acquiesce in our own oppression by others. When these beliefs involve the sleep of reason, critical awakening is the antidote.”(p. 11)

Throughout the book he deals with important issues that define our human nature: the problem of knowledge, mind, free will, the self, god, reasoning, the world, and what to do in the future. I enjoyed this introduction through the ideas that shaped our knowledge: Descartes dualism about mind and nature, its shortcomings and often misinterpretation of the example that he used: about the doubt being the evil in deceiving us. Wittgenstein remark of how our personal knowledge and mind deceives us into thinking about states and things as immutable needs to be addressed. “Always get rid of the idea of the private object in this way: assume that it constantly changes, but that you do not notice the change because your memory constantly deceives you.” (Wittgenstein(1953) in Blackburn, 1999, p. 74). Blackburn brings into attention also the assumption of future being fixed: “Which events unfold from time’s womb depends on what we decide to do- this is what the inside control of a person or a thermostat means. Our choosing models are implicated in the process, unlike those of a mere spectator.” (p.113)

The essay about important thoughts that shaped human thinking continues with the presentation of how we reason about the possibility of things happening in the future or when trying to predict the outcomes of certain decisions. In all do respects any particular musings that our minds might entail in trying to make sense of past events in order to foresee the future can be summed up by the phrase: “The future will be what it will be. Its events are already in time’s womb. So get cracking.” (p. 112)

Indeed with this thought my appetite for philosophy grows even bigger and my wish to comprehend deeper and fundamental problems is expanding by the day. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in having a taste of the problems and concepts dealt in philosophy.