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The Meaning of Things : Applying Philosophy to life
by Prof A.C. Grayling (Author)
Format:Paperback / softback 224 pages
Publisher:Orion Publishing Co
Imprint:Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Published:3 Oct 2007
Readership:General (US: Trade)
Dimensions:197 x 129 x 17 (mm)
Pub. Country:United Kingdom
For sale in: All countries
A refreshing distillation of insights into the human condition, by one of the best-known and most popular philosophers in the UK. Thinking about life, what it means and what it holds in store does not have to be a despondent experience, but rather can be enlightening and uplifting. A life truly worth living is one that is informed and considered so a degree of philosophical insight into the inevitabilities of the human condition is inherently important and such an approach will help us to deal with real personal dilemmas.
This book is an accessible, lively and thought-provoking series of linked commentaries, based on A. C. Grayling's 'The Last Word' column in the GUARDIAN.
Its aim is not to persuade readers to accept one particular philosophical point of view or theory, but to help us consider the wonderful range of insights which can be drawn from an immeasurably rich history of philosophical thought. Concepts covered include courage, love, betrayal, ambition, cruelty, wisdom, passion, beauty and death. This will be a wonderfully stimulating read and act as an invaluable guide as to what is truly important in living life, whether facing success, failure, justice, wrong, love, loss or any of the other profound experience life throws out.
'A formidable, brave and important book' Robert Macfarlane
Who owns England? Behind this simple question lies this country's oldest and best-kept secret. This is the history of how England's elite came to own our land, and an inspiring manifesto for how to open up our countryside once more. This book has been a long time coming.
Since 1086, in fact. For centuries, England's elite have covered up how they got their hands on millions of acres of our land, by constructing walls, burying surveys and more recently, sheltering behind offshore shell companies. But with the dawn of digital mapping and the Freedom of Information Act, it's becoming increasingly difficult for them to hide.
Trespassing through tightly-guarded country estates, ecologically ravaged grouse moors and empty Mayfair mansions, writer and activist Guy Shrubsole has used these 21st century tools to uncover a wealth of never-before-seen information about the people who own our land, to create the most comprehensive map of land ownership in England that has ever been made public. From secret military islands to tunnels deep beneath London, Shrubsole unearths truths concealed since the Domesday Book about who is really in charge of this country - at a time when Brexit is meant to be returning sovereignty to the people. Melding history, politics and polemic, he vividly demonstrates how taking control of land ownership is key to tackling everything from the housing crisis to climate change - and even halting the erosion of our very democracy.
It's time to expose the truth about who owns England - and finally take back our green and pleasant land.
In Utopia for Realists, Rutger Bregman shows that we can construct a society with visionary ideas that are, in fact, wholly implementable. Every milestone of civilisation - from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy - was once considered a utopian fantasy.
New utopian ideas such as universal basic income and a fifteen-hour work week can become reality in our lifetime. From a Canadian city that once completely eradicated poverty, to Richard Nixon's near implementation of a basic income for millions of Americans, Bregman takes us on a journey through history, beyond the traditional left-right divides, as he introduces ideas whose time has come.
Few books give such a sense of enchantment; it is a book to give to many, and to return to repeatedly' Independent Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes are grained into our words. Landmarks is about the power of language to shape our sense of place. It is a field guide to the literature of nature, and a glossary containing thousands of remarkable words used in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to describe land, nature and weather.
Travelling from Cumbria to the Cairngorms, and exploring the landscapes of Roger Deakin, J. A. Baker, Nan Shepherd and others, Robert Macfarlane shows that language, well used, is a keen way of knowing landscape, and a vital means of coming to love it.
The Wild Places is both an intellectual and a physical journey, and Macfarlane travels in time as well as space. Guided by monks, questers, scientists, philosophers, poets and artists, both living and dead, he explores our changing ideas of the wild. From the cliffs of Cape Wrath to the holloways of Dorset, the storm-beaches of Norfolk, the salt marshes and estuaries of Essex and the moors of Rannoch and the Pennines, his journeys become the conductors of people and cultures, past and present, who have had intense relationships with these places. Certain birds, animals, trees and objects - snow-hares, falcons, beeches, crows, suns, white stones - recur, and as it progresses this densely patterned book begins to bind tighter and tighter. At once a wonder voyage, an adventure story, an exercise in visionary cartography, and a work of natural history, The Wild Places is written in a style and a form as unusual as the places with which it is concerned. It also tells the story of a friendship, and of a loss. It mixes history, memory and landscape in a strange and beautiful evocation of wildness and its vital importance.
Roger Deakin set out in 1996 to swim through the British Isles. The result a uniquely personal view of an island race and a people with a deep affinity for water. From the sea, from rock pools, from rivers and streams, tarns, lakes, lochs, ponds, lidos, swimming pools and spas, from fens, dykes, moats, aqueducts, waterfalls, flooded quarries, even canals, Deakin gains a fascinating perspective on modern Britain.
Detained by water bailiffs in Winchester, intercepted in the Fowey estuary by coastguards, mistaken for a suicude on Camber sands, confronting the Corryvreckan whirlpool in the Hebrides, he discovers just how much of an outsider the native swimmer is to his landlocked, fully-dressed fellow citizens. Encompassing cultural history, autobiography, travel writing and natural history, Waterlog is a personal journey, a bold assertion of the native swimmer's right to roam, and an unforgettable celebration of the magic of water.
As a boy, James Rebanks's grandfather taught him to work the land the old way. Their family farm in the Lake District hills was part of an ancient agricultural landscape: a patchwork of crops and meadows, of pastures grazed with livestock, and hedgerows teeming with wildlife. And yet, by the time James inherited the farm, it was barely recognisable.
The men and women had vanished from the fields; the old stone barns had crumbled; the skies had emptied of birds and their wind-blown song. English Pastoral is the story of an inheritance: one that affects us all. It tells of how rural landscapes around the world were brought close to collapse, and the age-old rhythms of work, weather, community and wild things were lost.
And yet this elegy from the northern fells is also a song of hope: of how, guided by the past, one farmer began to salvage a tiny corner of England that was now his, doing his best to restore the life that had vanished and to leave a legacy for the future. This is a book about what it means to have love and pride in a place, and how, against all the odds, it may still be possible to build a new pastoral: not a utopia, but somewhere decent for us all.
'A heartfelt book and one that dares to hope' Alan Bennett
'I was thrilled by it' Philip Pullman
Shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize | Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize | Shortlisted for Fortnum & Mason Food Book Award | Longlisted for the Wainwright Prize | Longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize
A Short History of the World in 50 Animals provides a new perspective on the grand sweep of our planet's making, taking readers from the time of the dinosaurs to the time of Dolly, the first cloned mammal. This book will include a great variety of beasts from across the animal kingdom, some well known and others far more surprising, from every continent in the world. Each entry will show the creature's influence on world development, economy, health, culture, religion and society.
The size of the animals range from hulking elephants to tiny bees but each one has made a significant impact on history. A Short History of the World in 50 Animals details the impact, legacy and role of fifty animals that determined the world's history and shows how many of them are essential for our future survival. Featuring charming black and white illustrations throughout, which celebrate these extraordinary animals.
In the same series: A Short History of the World in 50 Places.
n Salt On Your Tongue, Charlotte Runcie explores what the sea means to us, and particularly what it has meant to women through the ages. In mesmerising prose, she explores how the sea has inspired, fascinated and terrified us, and how she herself fell in love with the deep blue. This book is a walk on the beach with Turner, with Shakespeare, with the Romantic Poets and shanty-singers.
It's an ode to our oceans - to the sailors who brave their treacherous waters, to the women who lost their loved ones to the waves, to the creatures that dwell in their depths, to beachcombers, swimmers, seabirds and mermaids. Navigating through ancient Greek myths, poetry, shipwrecks and Scottish folktales, Salt On Your Tongue is about how the wild untameable waves can help us understand what it means to be human.
Yuval Noah HarariIt's a belief that unites the left and right, psychologists and philosophers, writers and historians. It drives the headlines that surround us and the laws that touch our lives.
From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Dawkins, the roots of this belief have sunk deep into Western thought. Human beings, we're taught, are by nature selfish and governed by self-interest. Humankind makes a new argument: that it is realistic, as well as revolutionary, to assume that people are good.
By thinking the worst of others, we bring out the worst in our politics and economics too. In this major book, internationally bestselling author Rutger Bregman takes some of the world's most famous studies and events and reframes them, providing a new perspective on the last 200,000 years of human history. From the real-life Lord of the Flies to the Blitz, a Siberian fox farm to an infamous New York murder, Stanley Milgram's Yale shock machine to the Stanford prison experiment, Bregman shows how believing in human kindness and altruism can be a new way to think - and act as the foundation for achieving true change in our society.
The awe-inspiring history of humanity told through our relationship with stars and the night sky.
'Excellent . .. This books makes you rethink the traditional story of the history of astronomy ... Effortlessly readable.' BBC Sky at Night'
Stuart Clark's picture of the yawning gaps in our understanding of the cosmos is fuller than most. From the Stone Age to the Space Age, Stuart Clark explores a fascination shared across the world, one that has unequivocally shaped us as civilisations and as individuals, housing our hopes and fears. In the stars, we can see our past - and ultimately, our fate.
Pull up anchor, set sail and hit the open water with this wonderful collection of sea shanties and their fascinating history. People have been singing at sea since they first set sail and sea shanties still fascinate and entertain. Composed and performed by sailors to ensure the rhythmic operation of hauling and heaving tasks aboard huge merchant vessels, the songs also boosted camaraderie, positivity and motivation.
Life at sea was harsh and relentless, and these songs brought some much-needed energy and humour. This bountiful book brings together over 50 of the best-loved ballads and their fascinating history, alongside stunning black and white illustrations. This is the perfect gift for anyone wanting to delve into the magical maritime world of 'Wellerman' and beyond.
Miracles of Our Own Making is a historical overview of magic in the British Isles, from the ancient peoples of Britain to the rich and cosmopolitan landscape of contemporary paganism. We explore the beliefs of the Druids, the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, the alchemy of the Elizabethan court and the witch trials. We encounter grimoires, ceremonial magic and the Romantic revival of arcane deities.
The influential and well-known - the Golden Dawn, Wicca and figures such as Aleister Crowley - are considered alongside the everyday 'cunning folk' who formed the magical fabric of previous centuries. Ranging widely across literature, art, science and beyond, Liz Williams debunks many of the prevailing myths surrounding magical practice, past and present, while offering a rigorously researched and highly accessible account of what it means to be a pagan today.
In forty brief chapters, Nigel Warburton guides us on a chronological tour of the major ideas in the history of philosophy. He provides interesting and often quirky stories of the lives and deaths of thought-provoking philosophers from Socrates, who chose to die by hemlock poisoning rather than live on without the freedom to think for himself, to Peter Singer, who asks the disquieting philosophical and ethical questions that haunt our own times. Warburton not only makes philosophy accessible, he offers inspiration to think, argue, reason, and ask in the tradition of Socrates.
A Little History of Philosophy presents the grand sweep of humanity's search for philosophical understanding and invites all to join in the discussion.
A definitive treasury of philosophers from around the world, from ancient times to the modern day. A must-read for anyone wanting answers to the most important questions, from those that have dared to ask them. This essential introduction to world philosophy contains the most noted quotations from 100 of the greatest philosophers in our history.
Along with their most famous thoughts, the accompanying text puts each philosopher into the context of their place and time and provides the reader with fascinating but highly accessible insight into the meaning and interpretations of each one. From Lao Tzu in sixth-century BCE China to Plato in Classical Greece, and from Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the eighteenth century to Noam Chomsky in the twenty-first, the breadth of philosophical thought gives the reader unique insights into different attitudes and cultures around the world - along with the issues that unite and divide us. This timely book is an introduction to world thought and intellectual debate through the eyes and minds of those who, by their very nature, ask the most important questions and can fuel change and progress.
The essential guide to one of the world's most diverse and fascinating faiths, with a Foreword by Amartya SenK. M. Sen discusses the evolution of Hinduism's central systems of belief and codes of conduct, as well as popular cults and sects such as Bhakti, Tantrika and the mystics of North India, and describes the varying incarnations of its supreme deity, Krishna and Rama among them.
He recounts its history from the Indus Valley civilization c.2500 BC and the Vedic age nature gods to its relationship with Buddhism and Jainism and the impact of western culture. And he describes the day-to-day practice of Hinduism - customs, festivals and rituals; the caste system; and its philosophies and exponents. The author's grandson Professor Amartya Sen brings his work right up to date, examining the role of Hinduism in the world today.
In God, Reza Aslan sheds new light on mankind's relationship with the divine and challenges our perspective on the history of faith and the birth of religion. From the origins of spiritual thought to the concept of an active, engaged, divine presence that underlies all creation, Aslan examines how the idea of god arose in human evolution, was gradually personalized, endowed with human traits and emotions, and eventually transformed into a single Divine Personality: the God known today by such names as Yahweh, Father, and Allah. Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, God challenges everything we thought we knew about the origins of religious belief, and with it our relationship with life and death, with the natural and spiritual worlds, and our understanding of the very essence of human existence.
. Dan Jones, best-selling chronicler of the Middle Ages, turns his attention to the history of the Crusades - the sequence of religious wars fought between the late eleventh century and late medieval periods, in which armies from European Christian states attempted to wrest the Holy Land from Islamic rule, and which have left an enduring imprint on relations between the Muslim world and the West.
From the preaching of the First Crusade by Pope Urban II in 1095 to the loss of the last crusader outpost in the Levant in 1302-03, and from the taking of Jerusalem from the Fatimids in 1099 to the fall of Acre to the Mamluks in 1291, Crusaders tells a tale soaked in Islamic, Christian and Jewish blood, peopled by extraordinary characters, and characterised by both low ambition and high principle. Dan Jones is a master of popular narrative history, with the priceless ability to write page-turning narrative history underpinned by authoritative scholarship. Never before has the era of the Crusades been depicted in such bright and striking colours, or their story told with such gusto.
The Knights Templar were the wealthiest, most powerful - and most secretive - of the military orders that flourished in the crusading era. Their story - encompassing as it does the greatest international conflict of the Middle Ages, a network of international finance, a swift rise in wealth and influence followed by a bloody and humiliating fall - has left a comet's tail of mystery that continues to fascinate and inspire historians, novelists and conspiracy theorists.
'A tour de force.' - THE SECRET BARRISTER'
Clear-eyed and hard-headed. His defence of liberalism is political writing at its most urgent and engaging.' - NICK COHEN, OBSERVER COLUMNIST
'Dunt's gift for making complicated issues comprehensible is second to none. Courageous.' - JAMES O'BRIEN, LBC
The authoritarian right is taking control. From Viktor Orban in Hungary, to Brexit in Britain, to Donald Trump in America, nationalists have launched an all-out assault on liberal values. In this groundbreaking new book, political journalist Ian Dunt tells the story of liberalism, from its birth in the fight against absolute monarchy to the modern-day resistance against the new populism. In a soaring narrative that stretches from the battlefields of the English Civil War to the 2008 financial crash and beyond, this vivid, page-turning book explains the political ideas which underpin the modern world.
But it is also something much more than that - it is a rallying cry for those who still believe in freedom and reason.
Longlisted for the National Book Award for Nonfiction and A New York Times Notable Book of 2018. Our understanding of the 'tree of life', with powerful implications for human genetics, human health and our own human nature, has recently completely changed. This book is about a new method of telling the story of life on earth - through molecular phylogenetics.
It involves a fairly simple method - the reading of the deep history of life by looking at the variation in protein molecules found in living organisms. For instance, we now know that roughly eight per cent of the human genome arrived not through traditional inheritance from directly ancestral forms, but sideways by viral infection. In The Tangled Tree, acclaimed science writer David Quammen chronicles these discoveries through the lives of the researchers who made them - such as Carl Woese, the most important little-known biologist of the twentieth century; Lynn Margulis, the notorious maverick whose wild ideas about 'mosaic' creatures proved to be true; and Tsutomu Wantanabe, who discovered that the scourge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a direct result of horizontal gene transfer, bringing the deep study of genome histories to bear on a global crisis in public health.
Quammen explains how molecular studies of evolution have brought startling recognitions about the tangled tree of life - including where we humans fit into it. Thanks to new technologies, we now have the ability to alter even our genetic composition - through sideways insertions, as nature has long been doing. The Tangled Tree is a brilliant exploration of our transformed understanding of evolution and of life's history itself.
A bold new history of how botany and global plant collecting - centred at Kew Gardens and driven by Joseph Banks - transformed the earth.
Botany was the darling and the powerhouse of the eighteenth century. As European ships ventured across the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, discovery bloomed. Bounties of new plants were brought back, and their arrival meant much more than improved flowerbeds - it offered a new scientific frontier that would transform Europe's industry, medicine, eating and drinking habits, and even fashion.
Joseph Banks was the dynamo for this momentous change. As botanist for James Cook's great voyage to the South Pacific on the Endeavour, Banks collected plants on a vast scale, armed with the vision - as a child of the Enlightenment - that to travel physically was to advance intellectually. His thinking was as intrepid as Cook's seafaring: he commissioned radically influential and physically daring expeditions such as those of Francis Masson to the Cape Colony, George Staunton to China, George Caley to Australia, William Bligh to Tahiti and Jamaica, among many others.
Jordan Goodman's epic history follows these high seas adventurers and their influence in Europe, as well as taking us back to the early years of Kew Gardens, which Banks developed devotedly across the course of his life, transforming it into one of the world's largest and most diverse botanical gardens. In a rip-roaring global expedition, based on original sources in many languages, Goodman gives a momentous history of how the discoveries made by Banks and his collectors advanced scientific understanding around the world.
THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER
One of the most influential voices in modern philosophy - the author of The Course of Love, Religion for Atheists, The Art of Travel and The School of LifeAlain de Botton presents a one-stop shop for solving the problems of everyday life through the wisdom of history's great philosophers.
'Singlehandedly, de Botton has taken philosophy back to its simplest and most important purpose: helping us live our lives' Independent'
Few discussions on the great philosophers can have been so entertaining... An ingenious, imaginative book' The Sunday Times
'Witty, thoughtful, entertaining... It manages to make philosophy both enjoyable and relevant' Anthony Clare, Literary Review
'No doubt about it, philosophy is the new rock and roll and Alain de Botton is its Colonel Tom Parker...A pleasure to read. And good writing, like good philosophy, is always a consolation' John Banville, Irish Times
Alain de Botton has set six of the finest minds in the history of philosophy to work on the problems of everyday life. Find out what Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche would say about the things that bother us all the most: lack of money, the pain of love, inadequacy, anxiety, the fear of failure and the pressure to conform.
FROM THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE SILK ROADS 'Filled with Byzantine intrigue, in every sense this book is important, compellingly revisionist and impressive in its scholarly use of totally fresh sources' Simon Sebag Montefiore In 1096, an expedition of extraordinary scale and ambition set off from Western Europe on a mass pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Three years later, after a journey which saw acute hardship, the most severe dangers and thousands of casualties, the knights of the First Crusade found themselves storming the fortifications and capturing the Holy City. Against all the odds, the expedition had returned Jerusalem to Christian hands.
In 'the most significant contribution to rethinking the origins and course of the First Crusade for a generation' (Mark Whittow, TLS), Frankopan paints a strikingly original picture of this infamous confrontation between Christianity and Islam. Focusing on Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire, a truly fresh interpretation of a very old story emerges that radically alters our understanding of the entire crusade movement.
It is difficult to think of a more quintessential symbol of the British countryside than the British Hedgerow, bursting with blackberries, hazelnuts and sloes, and home to oak and ash, field mice and butterflies. But as much as we might dream about foraging for mushrooms or collecting wayside nettles for soup, most of us are unaware of quite how profoundly hedgerows have shaped the history of our landscape and our fellow species. One of Britain's best known naturalists, John Wright introduces us to the natural and cultural history of hedges (as well as ditches, dykes and dry stone walls) - from the arrival of the first settlers in the British Isles to the modern day, when we have finally begun to recognise the importance of these unique ecosystems.
His intimate knowledge of the countryside and its inhabitants brings this guide to life, whether discussing the skills and craft of hedge maintenance or the rich variety of animals, plants, algae and fungi who call them home. Informative, practical, entertaining and richly illustrated in colour throughout, A Natural History of the Hedgerow is a book to stuff into your pocket for country walks in every season, or to savour in winter before a roaring fire.