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07/29/2021

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JR

Philosophers Behaving Badly by Mel Thompson and Nigel Rodgers.

Marcus Arvan

JR: an excellent-looking recommendation - just ordered it!

Chris Stephens

Following up on the Vienna Circle theme, there is also Karl Sigmund's Exact Thinking in Demented Times: the Vienna Circle and the Epic Quest for the Foundations of Science.
Sigmund is a mathematician by training, but the book is non-technical, yet substantial and philosophically interesting.

Another entertaining book I just finished is Roy Sorensen's A Brief History of the Paradox: philosophy and the labyrinths of the mind. Accessible and non-technical, but fun in the way that Sorensen's work typically is.

Michel

I wouldn't recommend reading philosophy-related stuff for one's fun reading. Instead, I'd fill those non-fiction fun hours (if non-fiction they must be) with stuff from other disciplines--history, economics, anthropology, popular science, etc. Stephen Jay Gould's essay collections, in particular, make for a lovely, entertaining, and educational read.

But if you insist, then I can recommend Derek Turner's "Paleoaesthetics and the Practice of Paleontology", which is a lovely read at the intersection of the philosophy of science, aesthetics, and environmental philosophy. And it's short--it's part of Cambridge's Elements series. It was a total joy to read, and I found it inspiring.

EuroProf

I just stumbled across Jim Holt's 'Why does the world exist?' which is quite entertaining. Also: Thomas Metzinger's 'The Ego-tunnel' is a very readable exploration of the fringes of philosophy of mind. Not strictly philosophical but still verys interesting: Steven Pinker 'Enlightenment Now'.

david

I can't deal with too much philosophy in my spare time. Bugs Bunny cartoons are more my speed.

PhD Student

I enjoyed Sarah Bakewell's "At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktailsl." It's a wonderful introduction to existentialism and some phenomenology. The book is entertaining and, I think, the philosophy is represented well (existentialism and phenomenology aren't my areas).

Sam Duncan

Rudiger Safranski's Heidegger biography isn't too technical. It's also an excellent biography in that Safranski does a great job explaining why Heidegger is important and in holding him to account for both his philosophical failures and, his much more significant, failures as a human being. It's also quite well-written and has a cast of characters worthy of any novel (not just Heidegger himself but Jaspers, Husserl, Arendt, and Ernst Bloch play large roles). I guess though it also depends on what you count as philosophy. Ted Chiang's recent short story collection "Exhalation" is wonderful at examining eternalism about time, compatibilism in free will, and possible worlds. I found it very useful as a philosopher because it helped me to see the emotional reasons people might have for holding those views and why the views themselves matter. I very much disagree with what I take to be Chiang's views on each of these issues but I think I'm better at teaching them and maybe even thinking about them for reading his book. Marilynne Robinson's essays, especially those in her most recent collection "What Are We Doing Here?" are another one I'd suggest. She might not be a philosophy professor but she knows philosophy pretty well, is a wonderful writer and makes some very powerful philosophical points.

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