Saturday, May 25, 2019

Reader's Diary #2035- Stephen Law: The Philosophy Gym

I’ll admit that the impetus for my picking up a philosophy book was the sitcom The Good Place. One of the characters, Chidi, is a philosopher and he’s often schooling the other characters on famous philosophical thought and ethics. The results are typically provocative and hilarious. Apparently I’m not alone in my thirst for more and both libraries and bookstores are noting an increase in checkouts and sales of philosophy texts in the wake of the show. 

One such book I enjoyed recently was Stephen Law's The Philosophy Gym: 25 Short Adventures in Thinking. The Philosophy Gym shouldn’t be thought of as philosophy-lite as much as an introduction to major philosophical concepts in manageable, bite-sized chunks. My brain will got a workout without becoming overwhelmed.

Because of the easy to digest set-up, I looked forward to reading a chapter of The Philosophy Gym each day over my lunch breaks. Law does a wonderful job of showing philosophy’s relevance in other domains which are often taken much more seriously by the population at large: science, religion, law, and medicine in particular. In addition to stretching one’s mental muscles, I believe such books would also help us all become better debaters.That said, there were a few moments here or there where I wished he was actually present so I could ask "what about..." For the most part though he took pretty thorough looks at issues from a variety of angles. It turned out that many of my "what about" questions were answered just a little while later. I just had to exercise more patience.

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