'My new favourite book of all time' Bill Gates
TOP TEN SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
Is modernity really failing? Or have we failed to appreciate progress and the ideals that make it possible?
If you follow the headlines, the world in the 21st century appears to be sinking into chaos, hatred, and irrationality. Yet Steven Pinker shows that this is an illusion - a symptom of historical amnesia and statistical fallacies. If you follow the trendlines rather than the headlines, you discover that ..
'A fabulous journey through thirty years of political and intellectual ferment ... will reorient our reading of Foucault's major works' Didier Eribon
The Essential Works of Michel Foucault offers the definitive collection of his articles, interviews and seminars from across thirty years of his extraordinary career. This first volume, Ethics, contains the summaries of Foucault's renowned courses at the Collège de France, as well as key writings and candid interviews on ethical matters: from th..
Who are we? How should we live? Professor James Miller introduces twelve great philosophers who dedicated their lives to answering these questions. From Plato, who risked his reputation to tutor a tyrant, to Seneca, the philosopher of temperance who accumulated one of the greatest fortunes in Rome, to Kant, who privately wrestled with hypochondria while publicly advocating arch-rationality, each had a unique approach to examining life. Here is a fascinating insight into the ideals that have guid..
A genealogy of fanaticism—unearthing its long history, before it became a tool in the Clash of Civilizations
It is commonplace to hear fanaticism described as a deviant or e x treme variant of an already irrational set of religious beliefs, an assertion that helps to demonize convictions outside political orthodo x y.
Alberto Toscano’s compelling and erudite counter-history e x plodes this accepted convention by e x ploring the critical role fanaticism played in the formation of modern pol..
'The most innovative and influential French thinker of the contemporary era' Guardian
This is the ideal introduction to one of the most significant and radical philosophers of the past century. It includes detailed excerpts from all of Foucault's major works, including Discipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality, as well as many of his most revealing interviews, covering subjects from madness to desire, art to the nature of truth. No other writer has made us think more about the struct..
An engaging and provocative look at culture, from one of our best-known historians.
Born almost a hundred years ago in Vienna - the cultural heart of a bourgeois Mitteleurope - Eric Hobsbawm, who was to become one of the most brilliant and original historians of our age, was uniquely placed to observe an era of titanic social and artistic change. As the century progressed, the forces of Communism and Dadaism, Ibiza and cyberspace, would do battle with the bourgeois high culture fin-de-siècle ..
'People can only be free in relation to one another.'
Three exhilarating and inspiring essays in which the great twentieth-century political philosopher argues that there can be no freedom without politics, and no politics without freedom.
One of twenty new books in the bestselling Penguin Great Ideas series. This new selection showcases a diverse list of thinkers who have helped shape our world today, from anarchists to stoics, feminists to prophets, satirists to Zen Buddhists...
The God Delusion caused a sensation when it was published in 2006. Within weeks it became the most hotly debated topic, with Dawkins himself branded as either saint or sinner for presenting his hard-hitting, impassioned rebuttal of religion of all types.
His argument could hardly be more topical. While Europe is becoming increasingly secularized, the rise of religious fundamentalism, whether in the Middle East or Middle America, is dramatically and dangerously dividing opinion around the worl..
'We have left dry land and put out to sea! We have burned the bridge behind us - what is more, we have burned the land behind us!'
Nietzsche's devastating demolition of religion would have seismic consequences for future generations. With God dead, he envisages a brilliant future for humanity: one in which individuals would at last be responsible for their destinies.
One of twenty new books in the bestselling Penguin Great Ideas series. This new selection showcases a diverse list of thinke..
This is a powerful and a thrilling narrative history revealing the roots of modern science in the medieval world. The adjective ‘medieval’ has become a synonym for brutality and uncivilized behavior. Yet without the work of medieval scholars there could have been no Galileo, no Newton and no Scientific Revolution. In “God’s Philosophers”, James Hannam debunks many of the myths about the Middle Ages, showing that medieval people did not think the earth is flat, nor did Columbus ‘prove’ that it is..
“Plato is philosophy, and philosophy, Plato.”—Emerson
The Republic and other great dialogues by the immortal Greek philosopher Plato are masterpieces that form part of the most important single body of writing in the history of philosophy. Beauty, love, immortality, knowledge, and justice are discussed in these dialogues, which magnificently express the glowing spirit of Platonic philosophy.
Translated by W. H. D. Rouse, one of the world’s most outstanding classical scholars and translator..
Where do our ideas about politics come from? What can we learn from the Greeks and Romans? How should we exercise power? Melissa Lane teaches politics at Princeton University, and previously taught political thought at the University of Cambridge, where she was a Fellow of King's College. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship in the field of classics, and the historian Richard Tuck called her book Eco-Republic 'a virtuoso performance by one of our best scholars of ancient philosophy.'..
Death affects us all. Yet it is still the last taboo in our society, and grief is still profoundly misunderstood...
In Grief Works we hear stories from those who have experienced great love and great loss - and survived. Stories that explain how grief unmasks our greatest fears, strips away our layers of protection and reveals our innermost selves.
Julia Samuel, a grief psychotherapist, has spent twenty-five years working with the bereaved and understanding the full repercussions..
Is anything ever not an interpretation?
Does interpretation go all the way down?
Is there such a thing as a pure fact that is interpretation-free? If not, how are we supposed to know what to think and do?
These tantalizing questions are tackled by renowned American thinker John D Caputo in this wide-reaching exploration of what the traditional term 'hermeneutics' can mean in a postmodern, twenty-first century world. As a contemporary of Derrida's and longstanding champ..
Beginning with metaphysical debates in the sixteenth century over the nature of Christ’s presence in the host, the distinguished historian and scholar of religion Robert Orsi imagines an alternative to the future of religion that early moderns proclaimed was inevitable.
The question of “real presence”—the Catholic doctrine of the literal, physical, embodied presence of Christ in the host—coincided with early modern global conquest and commerce and shaped how Europeans encountered the religions ..
'A cerebrally enjoyable survey, written with great clarity and touches of wit . . . The non-western section throws up some fascinating revelations' Sunday Times
The story of philosophy is an epic tale: an exploration of the ideas, views and teachings of some of the most creative minds known to humanity. But there has been no comprehensive and entertaining, single-volume history of this great intellectual journey since 1945.
With his characteristic clarity and elegance A. C. Grayling ..
'A brilliant display of fireworks, attacking the widespread and banal notion that "in the beginning" sexual activity was guilt-free and delicious, being repressed and blighted only by the gloom of Victorianism' Spectator
We talk about sex more and more, but are we more liberated? The first part of Michel Foucault's landmark account of our evolving attitudes in the west shows how the nineteenth century, far from suppressing sexuality, led to an explosion of discussion about sex as a separate sph..
'No brief survey can do justice to the richness, complexity and detail of Foucault's discussion' New York Review of Books
The second volume of Michel Foucault's pioneering analysis of the changing nature of desire explores how sexuality was perceived in classical Greek culture.
From the stranger byways of Greek medicine (with its advice on the healthiest season for sex, as well as exercise and diet) to the role of women, The Use of Pleasure is full of extraordinary insights into the difference..
'Bristles with provocative insights into the tangled liaisons of sex and self' Times Higher Education
In the third volume of his acclaimed examination of sexuality in modern Western society, Foucault investigates the Golden Age of Rome to reveal a decisive break from the classical Greek version of sexual pleasure. Exploring the moral reflections of philosophers and physicians of the era, he identifies a growing anxiety over sexual activity and its consequences. At the core of this transformatio..
This is the Chief Rabbi's thesis on the future of British society and the dangers facing liberal democracy. A counterweight to his earlier book, "The Dignity of Difference", Sacks makes the case for 'integrated diversity' within a framework of shared political values. 'Multiculturalism has run its course, and it is time to move on'. So begins Jonathan Sacks' new book on the future of British society and the dangers facing liberal democracy.Arguing that global communications have fragmented natio..
'Don't hope that events will turn out the way you want, welcome events in whichever way they happen'
How can we cope when life's events seem beyond our control? These words of consolation and inspiration from the three great Stoic philosophers - Epictetus, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius - offer ancient wisdom on how to face life's adversities and live well in the world.
One of twenty new books in the bestselling Penguin Great Ideas series. This new selection showcases a diverse list of thinker..
In recent decades, we have witnessed an explosion in the number of visual images we encounter, as our lives have become increasingly saturated with screens. From Google Images to Instagram, video games to installation art, this transformation is confusing, liberating and worrying all at once, since observing the new visuality of culture is not the same as understanding it.
Nicholas Mirzoeff is a leading figure in the field of visual culture, which aims to make sense of this extraordinary expl..
Human, All Too Human (1878) marks the point where Nietzsche abandons German romanticism for the French Enlightenment. At a moment of crisis in his life (no longer a friend of Richard Wagner, forced to leave academic life through ill health), he sets out his views in a scintillating and bewildering series of aphorisms which contain the seeds of his later philosophy (e.g. the will to power, the need to transcend conventional Christian morality). The result is one of the cornerstones of his life's ..
Is justice an ideal, forever beyond our grasp, or something that may actually guide our practical decisions and enhance our lives? In this wide-ranging book, Amartya Sen presents an alternative approach to mainstream theories of justice which, despite their many specific achievements have taken us, he argues, in the wrong direction in general.
At the heart of Sen's argument is his insistence on the role of public reason in establishing what can make societies less unjust. But it is in the natur..
Vladimir Lenin created this hugely significant Marxist text to explain fully the inevitable flaws and destructive power of Capitalism: that it would lead unavoidably to imperialism, monopolies and colonialism. He prophesied that those third world countries used merely as capitalist labour would have no choice but to join the Communist revolution in Russia.
GREAT IDEAS: Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They ..
Michael Sandel's Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? invites readers of all ages and political persuasions on a journey of moral reflection, and shows how reasoned debate can illuminate our lives. * Is it always wrong to lie?* Should there be limits to personal freedom?* Can killing sometimes be justified?* Is the free market fair? What is the right thing to do?* Questions like these are at the heart of our lives.
In this acclaimed book Michael Sandel - BBC Reith Lecturer and the Harvard p..
Translated by Elizabeth S. Haldane and G.R.T. Ross. Edited with an Introduction by Enrique Chavez-Arvizo.
Rene Descartes (1569-1650), the 'father' of modern philosophy, is without doubt one of the greatest thinkers in history: his genius lies at the core of our contemporary intellectual identity. Breaking with the conventions of his own time and suffering persecution by the Church as a consequence, Descartes in his writings - most of which are philosophical classics - attempted to answer the ..
'A lovely debut from a gifted young author. Violet Moller brings to life the ways in which knowledge reached us from antiquity to the present day in a book that is as delightful as it is readable.' Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk RoadsIn The Map of Knowledge Violet Moller traces the journey taken by the ideas of three of the greatest scientists of antiquity – Euclid, Galen and Ptolemy – through seven cities and over a thousand years. In it, we follow them from sixth-century Alexandria to nin..
This is the exhilarating, life-affirming call to spiritual arms from world-renowned spiritual teacher G. I. Gurdjieff. 'Gurdjieff's voice is heard as a call. He calls because he suffers from the inner chaos in which we live. He calls to us to open our eyes. He asks us why we are here, what we wish for, what forces we obey. He asks us, above all, if we understand what we are...' Part adventure narrative, part travelogue, part spiritual guide, Meetings with Remarkable Men is suffused with Gurdjief..
Longlisted for the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction
‘A thrilling and complex book, enlarges our view of Homer … There’s something that hits the mark on every page’ Claire Tomalin, Books of the Year, New Statesman
Where does Homer come from? And why does Homer matter? His epic poems of war and suffering can still speak to us of the role of destiny in life, of cruelty, of humanity and its frailty, but why they do is a mystery. How can we be so intimate with something so distant?
Do you consider yourself stoical? Do a bit of meditation or mindfulness practice? Buddhism and Stoicism have a lot to offer modern readers seeking the good life, but they’re also radical systems that ask much of their followers. In More than Happiness, Antonia Macaro delves into both philosophies, focusing on the elements that fit with our sceptical age, and those which have the potential to make the biggest impact on how we live. From accepting that some things are beyond our control, to m..
What is reality, really?
Are humans more special or important than the non-human objects we perceive?
How does this change the way we understand the world?
We humans tend to believe that things are only real in as much as we perceive them, an idea reinforced by modern philosophy, which privileges us as special, radically different in kind from all other objects. But as Graham Harman, one of the theory's leading exponents, shows, Object-Oriented Ontology rejects the idea of human specialness..
'One swallow does not make a summer; neither does one day. Similarly neither can one day, or a brief space of time, make a man blessed and happy'
What does it mean to be a good person? Ranging over eternal questions of right and wrong, pleasure and self-control, friendship and courage, Aristotle's lectures on ethics are among the most lasting and profound philosophical works of all time.
One of twenty new books in the bestselling Penguin Great Ideas series. This new selection showcases a d..
A virus is not human, but the reaction to it is a measure of humanity.
America has not measured up well. Tens of thousands are dead for no reason. America is supposed to be about freedom, yet illness and fear make its citizens less free. After all, freedom is meaningless if we are too ill to think about our right to happiness or too weak to pursue it. So, if a government is making its people unhealthy it is also making them unfree.
On December 29, 2019, Timothy Snyder fell gravely ill. As he c..
Should we believe in God? In this new book, written for a new generation, the brilliant science writer and author of The God Delusion, explains why we shouldn't.
Should we believe in God? Do we need God in order to explain the existence of the universe? Do we need God in order to be good? In twelve chapters that address some of the most profound questions human beings confront, Dawkins marshals science, philosophy and comparative religion to interrogate the hypocrisies of all the religious sy..
Philosophy in Minutes distils 200 of the most important philosophical ideas into easily digestible, bite-sized sections.
The core information for every topic - including debates such as the role of philosophy in science and religion, key thinkers from Aristotle to Marx, and introductions to morality and ethics - is explained in straightforward language, using illustrations to make the concepts easy to understand and remember.
Whether you are perplexed by existentialism or pondering the not..
'A compelling vision, an urgent necessity, and not beyond reach' Noam Chomsky
The past is forgotten, and the future is without hope. Dystopia has become a reality. This is the new normal in our apocalyptic politics - but if we accept it, our helplessness is guaranteed. To bring about real change, argues activist and political philosopher Srecko Horvat, we must first transform our mindset.
Ranging through time and space, from the partisan liberation movements of Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia to the ..
Britain's favourite intelligent broadcaster explores why lying is so rife - and why we all think we can get away with it.
'A Malcolm Gladwell-style social psychology/behavioural economics primer' Evening Standard
Low-level dishonesty is rife everywhere, in the form of exaggeration, selective use of facts, economy with the truth, careful drafting - from Trump and the Brexit debate to companies that tell us 'your call is important to us'. How did we get to a place where bullshit is not ..
Democracy was born in Athens. From its founding myths to its golden age and its chaotic downfall, it’s rich with lessons for our own times.
Why did vital civil engagement and fair debate descend into paralysis and populism? Can we compare Creon to Trump, Demokratia to the American Constitution or Demosthenes’ On the Crown to the Brexit campaign? And how did a second referenda save the Athenians from a bloodthirsty decision?
With verve and acuity, the heroics and the critics of Athenian democra..
'There are certain words which possess, in themselves, when properly used, a virtue which illumines and lifts up towards the good'
The philosopher and activist Simone Weil was one of the most courageous thinkers of the twentieth century. Here she writes, with honesty and moral clarity, about the manipulation of language by the powerful, the obligations of individuals to one another and the needs - for order, equality, liberty and truth - that make us human.
One of twenty new books in the b..
'Who since Weber, or perhaps even Hobbes, has done as much to show why power is such a profound, elusive and treacherous presence throughout our experience?' The Times Higher Education
The third and final volume of the Essential Works of Foucault series, Power brings together his writings on the issues that he helped make the core agenda of Western political culture: medicine, prisons, psychiatry, government and sexuality, in particular showing his concerns with human rights, discrimination a..
In this remarkable and groundbreaking book, Kenan Malik explores the history of moral thought as it has developed over three millennia, from Homer's Greece to Mao's China, from ancient India to modern America. It tells the stories of the great philosophers, and breathes life into their ideas, while also challenging many of our most cherished moral beliefs.
Engaging and provocative, The Quest for a Moral Compass confronts some of humanity's deepest questions. Where do values come from? Is God ..
'When silence or tricks of language contribute to maintaining an abuse that must be reformed or a suffering that can be relieved, then there is no other solution but to speak out'
Written when execution by guillotine was still legal in France, Albert Camus' devastating attack on the 'obscene exhibition' of capital punishment remains one of the most powerful, persuasive arguments ever made against the death penalty.
One of twenty new books in the bestselling Penguin Great Ideas series. This..
Translated by John Llewelyn Davies and David James Vaughan. With an Introduction by Stephen Watt.
The ideas of Plato (c429-347BC) have influenced Western philosophers for over two thousand years. Such is his importance that the twentieth-century philosopher A.N. Whitehead described all subsequent developments within the subject as foot-notes to Plato's work. Beyond philosophy, he has exerted a major influence on the development of Western literature, politics and theology.
The Republic dea..
How popular democracy has paradoxically eroded trust in political systems worldwide, and how to restore confidence in democratic politics Democracies across the world are adopting reforms to bring politics closer to the people. Parties have turned to primaries and local caucuses to select candidates. Ballot initiatives and referenda allow citizens to enact laws directly. Many democracies now use proportional representation, encouraging smaller, more specific parties rather than two dominant ones..
Edited by Jean Ducange
Translated by John Howe
Introduction by Slavoj Žižek
Robespierre’s justification of the Terror in the French Revolution
Robespierre’s defence of the French Revolution remains one of the most powerful and unnerving justifications for political violence ever written. It has an e x traordinary resonance in a world obsessed with terrorism and appalled by the language of its proponents. Yet today the French Revolution is celebrated as the event which gave birt..
Why efforts to create a scientific basis of morality are neither scientific nor moral In this illuminating book, James Davison Hunter and Paul Nedelisky trace the origins and development of the centuries-long, passionate, but ultimately failed quest to discover a scientific foundation for morality. The "new moral science" led by such figures as E. O. Wilson, Patricia Churchland, Sam Harris, Jonathan Haidt, and Joshua Greene is only the newest manifestation of that quest. Though claims for its ac..
TRANSLATED BY CONSTANCE BORDE AND SHEILA MALOVANY-CHEVALLIER
ANNOTATED AND INTRODUCED BY MARTINE REID
'Everyone who cares about freedom and justice for women should read The Second Sex' Guardian
Simone de Beauvoir famously wrote, 'One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman'. In this groundbreaking work of feminism she examines the limits of female freedom and explodes our deeply ingrained beliefs about femininity. Liberation, she argues, entails challenging traditional perceptions of th..
Vintage Feminism: classic feminist texts in short form
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY NATALIE HAYNES
When this book was first published in 1949 it was to outrage and scandal. Never before had the case for female liberty been so forcefully and successfully argued. De Beauvoir’s belief that ‘One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman’ switched on light bulbs in the heads of a generation of women and began a fight for greater equality and economic independence. These pages contain the key passages..