Books shelved under “Philosophy”

36 reviews found

  1. Book cover for Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers

    Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers: Monstrosity, Patriarchy, and the Fear of Female Power

    by Sady Doyle

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Women are monsters, according to the patriarchy. That’s the thesis of Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers: Monstrosity, Patriarchy, and the Fear of Female Power, Sady Doyle’s follow-up to her 2016 Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear... and Why. To elaborate a bit more, Doyle argues that the portrayal of women (and femininity) in our media and culture overlaps with our understanding of the monstrous, the Other, the unnatural or…

  2. Book cover for Freedom Fallacy

    Freedom Fallacy: The Limits of Liberal Feminism

    by Miranda Kiraly

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I don’t remember how Freedom Fallacy: The Limits of Liberal Feminism came on my radar. Someone somewhere must have mentioned it; it looks like I bought it from Book Depository four years ago. Anyway, I finally got around to reading it last summer. I was hoping to dig deeper into some of the essays, but honestly things like breaking my elbow took up most of my time, and now I just don’t have the inclination…

  3. Book cover for The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

    The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

    by Umberto Eco

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It occurs to me that, with the exception of The Prague Cemetery, since I bought that when it was released, I have basically been reading Umberto Eco’s books in publication order. This is entirely unintentional, and now I only have one more to go … but on the bright side, that sounds like an excuse, after I finish that one, to wrap around and start re-reading them all, in order again!

    But I don’t…

  4. Book cover for Genesis

    Genesis

    by Bernard Beckett

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I love it when a book leaves me feeling so deeply ambivalent. I mean, I would prefer it if I could just outright love Genesis, no ambivalence necessary. But I would rather ambivalence than apathy. Bernard Beckett has clearly put a lot of effort into crafting this deep, philosophical dialogue. It’s a beautifully constructed piece of literature.

    But I also didn’t really like it that much.

    Anaximander, or Anax as she is called, is…

  5. Book cover for Sophie's World

    Sophie's World

    by Jostein Gaarder

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Hard to know what I could add to my previous review of Sophie’s World. I suppose in the 6 years that have passed since that second reading I have grown and changed and that means my perspective on this book will have changed as well. But I stand by the earlier review, and now I’ll just elaborate.

    I bought this fresh copy of Sophie’s World as a gift; actually, I bought it twice over.…

  6. Book cover for Data Love

    Data Love: The Seduction and Betrayal of Digital Technologies

    by Roberto Simanowski

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    There is a school of thought rising in popularity which wants coding to become a mandatory subject in schools. I have some thoughts on this, but that is neither here nor there for this review. Rather, it’s just interesting that for all the talk of teaching kids to code because it will lead to “better jobs”, there isn’t much emphasis on teaching about the way Big Data is redefining our lives. From data mining…

  7. Book cover for Trekonomics

    Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek

    by Manu Saadia

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Money is one of humanity’s most clever and enduring technologies. It is a brilliant way of transferring value across vast distances and decentralizing our economy. Barter makes sense on a hyperlocal, neighbourly scale, but you can’t run a vast industrial economy on it. As Niall Ferguson chronicles in his excellent The Ascent of Money, increases in numismatic sophistication were vital in increasing the range of trade and our abilities to innovate and provide services…

  8. Book cover for Reason, Faith, and Revolution

    Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate

    by Terry Eagleton

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I read the first 78 pages of this book so you don’t have to.

    I was trying to make it to at least 100, but I’m sorry. The body is willing but the mind is weak.

    I added this book to my to-read list after reading The God Delusion; it somehow coming up as a counterpoint to Dawkins’ atheistic arguments. I just went back and re-read my review of that book, and I’m pleased…

  9. Book cover for The Tao of Pooh

    The Tao of Pooh

    by Benjamin Hoff

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    It was a Friday; I wasn’t working, I’m a little behind on my read count, so I took this off the stack. It looked short and light enough to finish in an afternoon. This need to achieve things rather than “living in the moment” of simply existing and enjoying the book goes against the principles of Taoism, of course. But I never claimed to be Pooh Bear.

    The Tao of Pooh is a short book…

  10. Book cover for A Fair Country

    A Fair Country: Telling Truths About Canada

    by John Ralston Saul

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    My exposure to politics as a child was, like so many things, gradual and haphazard. There were the overt attempts to indoctrinate me into democracy—vague spectres of mock elections in grade six dance in the deep recesses of memory. There more subtle episodes, such as the late-night satirical sketches of Royal Canadian Air Farce, where most of the humour would go over my head for years after I started watching. There were the disruptive…

  11. Book cover for The Philosopher's Apprentice

    The Philosopher's Apprentice

    by James K. Morrow

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    What is this I don’t even.

    Argh, my brain hurts. Where did it all start going so wrong? Was it when the sexually ambiguous cadre of private female shock troops seized the recreation of the Titanic in order to force its first-class passengers to toil at menial labour in an effort to rehabilitate them? Or was it earlier than that, when the ludicrously one-dimensional antagonists unleash a clone army of aborted foetuses on unsuspecting would-be…

  12. Book cover for Pythagoras' Trousers

    Pythagoras' Trousers: God, Physics and the Gender Wars

    by Margaret Wertheim

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I want to start this review by inviting you to read my review of A Short History of Nearly Everything, so you can understand my feelings about science going into this book.

    If that’s tl;dr, then allow me to reiterate the main thrust of the review: science is fucking awesome. Got it?

    Margaret Wertheim would agree with me, but in Pythagoras’ Trousers she explores how the general absence of women from mainstream scientific…

  13. Book cover for Why Rousseau Was Wrong

    Why Rousseau Was Wrong: Christianity and the Secular Soul

    by Frances Ward

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I really need to stop going into bookstores. With a title like Why Rousseau Was Wrong, how could I not buy it? It didn’t help that the author, is the dean of the local cathedral, was sitting behind the table with the last two or three copies, and engaged me in a nice conversation before offering to sign the book for me. I didn’t quite mention that I was an atheist. Perhaps she suspected…

  14. Book cover for The Universe Within

    The Universe Within

    by Neil Turok

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Certain things just make Canadian public broadcasting awesome, and the Massey Lectures are one shining example. For one week, since 1961, with a few exceptions, CBC radio has broadcast annual lectures on a topic from philosophy or culture by notable figures. These lectures now get published in book format. Douglas Coupland’s most recent novel, Player One, is an adaptation of the lectures he gave in 2010. Now Neil Turok, a noted physicist and current…

  15. Book cover for God's Debris

    God's Debris: A Thought Experiment

    by Scott Adams

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Editor’s note (2020): Since writing this review in 2012, Adams’ behaviour has continued to deteriorate. He now regularly espouses views I find reprehensible, and as such, I can neither recommend nor endorse Dilbert or any of Adams’ other writings. This review remains for posterity.

    Scott Adams is an interesting figure. I'm an unabashed Dilbert fan; I have the massive, slipcase-clad twentieth anniversary book, and I particularly love the short-lived TV series. I don't regularly read…

  16. Book cover for The Faith Instinct

    The Faith Instinct: How Religlion Evolved and Why It Endures

    by Nicholas J. Wade

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Editor's note: Since I read this back in 2012, Wade has gone on to write more openly racist and eugenical books. For what it’s worth, I don’t think his views are so overtly on display in Before the Dawn. Nevertheless, as a result of his more recent writing, I do not recommend reading this book or any of Wade’s books. This review is preserved for posterity.

    There is a conciliatory tactic in the trenches…

  17. Book cover for My Spiritual Journey

    My Spiritual Journey

    by Dalai Lama XIV

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    He’s just this guy, you know?

    My Spiritual Journey is a collection of the Dalai Lama’s writings, speeches, and thoughts as they pertain to his life as a human being, as a Buddhist monk, and as the Dalai Lama. This is not a traditional autobiography or memoir. Instead, some of the chapters (passages? sections?) are quite short—even less than a page—but no less meaningful or inspiring. Rather than looking for some kind of chronological theme,…

  18. Book cover for A Brief History of Infinity

    A Brief History of Infinity

    by Brian Clegg

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    My two teachables, the subjects which I will be qualified to teach when I graduate from my education program in May, are mathematics and English. When I tell people this, they usually express surprise, saying something like, “Well, aren’t those very different subjects!”

    And it irks me so.

    They’re not, not really. Firstly, mathematics and English are both forms of communication. Both rely on the manipulation of symbols to tell a tale. As with writers…

  19. Book cover for The Pearly Gates Of Cyberspace

    The Pearly Gates Of Cyberspace: A History Of Space From Dante To The Internet

    by Margaret Wertheim

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Space is a difficult word to pin down. Colloquially, it probably conjures images of stars and supernovae, Jupiter and Saturn and Mars, and the shuttle hanging against the backdrop of clouds and the horn of Africa. It is—or was—the Space Age, when we were supposed to go forth and colonize the stars. It didn’t work out that way, but our association of the word with “not of Earth” continues. Space can also refer to a…

  20. Book cover for Tomorrow

    Tomorrow: Science Fiction and the Future

    by Alan L. Madsen

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I’m pretty sure that if there isn’t already a sport that involves mocking what people of the past predicted our society would be like, then we need to invent it. Right now. Tomorrow: Science Fiction and the Future has some gems. It opens with a piece by Isaac Asimov, who begins:

    Predicting the future is a hopeless, thankless task, with ridicule to begin with and, all too often, scorn to end with. Still, since I

  21. Book cover for The Beauty Myth

    The Beauty Myth

    by Naomi Wolf

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    One of the nice things about writing reviews on a place like Goodreads is the audience. I can pontificate about a book, and about subjects like feminism, for as long as I like, which is something I can’t do with my friends in person—at least, as I discovered empirically, not if I want to have friends in person. (Call me!) But you people, you crazy people, are different, because no one is forcing you to…

  22. Book cover for The Grand Design

    The Grand Design

    by Stephen Hawking

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I make no secret about the fact that I love science, and of all the sciences, I will make no secret about my love for physics, for theoretical physics, and for cosmology. These fields help us understand the universe, that crazy thing that’s all around us, and the fact that we have come so far is simply amazing. In The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow reflect upon how physics achieves…

  23. Book cover for Player One

    Player One: What is to Become of Us

    by Douglas Coupland

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Recently I stole the soapbox in another person's review of Shampoo Planet to pontificate about my personal reader's theory of Douglas Coupland. JPod was the first Coupland novel I read, and it is also my favourite. We all react to Coupland differently—i.e., JPod is my favourite, but some of my friends hate JPod with a passion and love Girlfriend in a Coma or Eleanor Rigby. Despite the fact that Coupland always deals with the…

  24. Book cover for Sophie's World

    Sophie's World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy

    by Jostein Gaarder

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Check out an updated review from 2018!

    "It's a bagatelle." These words have been knocking around my mind ever since grade 10, when the world's most awesome English teacher introduced me to Sophie's World. (For those of you not in the know, I'm referring to Ms. Sukalo. She also brought her remarkable energy and attitude to drama class, much to the enrichment of myself and my classmates. And she allowed a small group of…

  25. Book cover for The Art Instinct

    The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution

    by Denis Dutton

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I am at war with myself. The feminist in me, who has been taking philosophy courses and reading books that challenge contemporary notions about gender, regards much of culture as a construction, something abstract and even arbitrary that we should alter to improve the status of various groups of people. The scientist in me, who reads books about genetics and ponders how amazing it is that we're programmed to learn how to talk but have…

  26. Book cover for The Evolution of God

    The Evolution of God

    by Robert Wright

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The Evolution of God comes close, in many ways, to my ideal Platonic conception of a "non-fiction book." It is thick and weighty (all the better to use against zombies, should the apocalypse happen while reading it). It is organized into a series of logical parts, which are in turn each organized into a series of logical chapters, providing convenient stopping points for a respite. Last, but not least, it has endnotes. Pages upon pages…

  27. Book cover for The Prince and Other Writings

    The Prince and Other Writings

    by Niccolò Machiavelli

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Want to know the difference between the Renaissance and present-day society? If Machiavelli had written The Prince today, it would be called Ruling Principalities for Dummies. In the fifteenth century, manuals for prospective rulers took the form of profound philosophical treatises. In the twenty-first century, they're bullet-point lists bound in bright yellow covers with a cartoon on the front. Part history and part philosophy, The Prince is a glimpse into the mind of a…

  28. Book cover for Wired for War

    Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century

    by P.W. Singer

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The first time I had ever seen, let alone heard of, a Predator drone is from the episode "Chuck vs. the Predator" of the NBC television series Chuck (the drone actually appearing in that episode was a Reaper, the Predator's even deadlier successor). Before the Predator's appearance, I had no inkling of the extent to which the American military—indeed, any country's military—has integrated unmanned and robotic devices into its forces. Maybe I just don't read…

  29. Book cover for The Illustrated A Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell

    The Illustrated A Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell

    by Stephen Hawking

    5 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Welcome to our universe. We only get one (regardless of however many there are). The search for a more complete understanding of our universe, out into the macroscopic and deep into the quantum foam, is a search for an understanding of who we are, why we're here … and where we might end up. This is a book of sublime thought that takes the ivory tower and turns it into an ivory ladder that anyone,…

  30. Book cover for Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

    Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

    by Robert Klee

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Just so there are no illusions, from the top I want to make one thing clear: this is a difficult book to read. It is short, and Robert Klee explains concepts and theories very well. Nevertheless, he covers so much that I had to refer frequently to the glossary to keep all the terms straight. I read this book in two weeks because I'm taking a Philosophy of Science & Technology course; if you're reading…

  31. Book cover for Zero

    Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

    by Charles Seife

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    My grade 11 math teacher gave this to me, and I remember reading it and loving it. Here I am, three years later, returning to Zero for a second read. No longer the gullible high school student (now a gullible university student!), I'm apt to be more critical of Zero. Nevertheless, it stands up to a second reading and both inspires and informs.

    Imagining a world without zero is probably difficult for most people.…

  32. Book cover for Descartes' Bones

    Descartes' Bones: A Skeletal History of the Conflict Between Faith and Reason

    by Russell Shorto

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I was ambivalent about the gimmick of basing the history around the journey of Descartes' bones. How interesting could it be? Much to my delight, Russell Shorto managed to surprise me. While this book isn't quite the "historical detective story" it advertises, it does contain some detective work. I was fascinated by the way various people treated Descartes' remains, particularly the skull. For most of the owners of the skull, the object was one of…

  33. Book cover for The Stillborn God

    The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West

    by Mark Lilla

    2 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    The impact of religion on politics—particularly the invocation of divine authority to justify a specific social order—is an issue both interesting and complex. In The Stillborn God, Mark Lilla promises an episodic presentation of the rise and fall of political theology from sixteenth century England to twentieth century Germany. While often interesting and thoughtful, the book ultimately fails to fulfil this promise, instead becoming mired in its exploration of the interaction among various philosophical…

  34. Book cover for Multiculturalism Without Culture

    Multiculturalism Without Culture

    by Anne Phillips

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    We used this book in the second half of my Philosophy and Gender course (the first book we discussed was Feminism: Issues and Arguments, by Jennifer Saul). It's probably one of the best discussions of multiculturalism I will ever read. Anne Phillips provides a marvellous survey of contemporary political and philosophical attitudes toward multiculturalism while simultaneously advocating her approach.

    Phillips' thesis is clear: she wants to keep multiculturalism but change how we understand the…

  35. Book cover for The God Delusion

    The God Delusion

    by Richard Dawkins

    3 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Full disclosure: I was brought up Christian (Protestant), although my family wasn't particularly observant--we went to church, less frequently as I grew up, and my dad would read from the Bible each Christmas (the nativity story, naturally). As I approach the third decade of my life and am shocked to find myself becoming an adult, not just legally but intellectually, I slide further and further along the scale from agnostic to atheist. Although I was…

  36. Book cover for Feminism

    Feminism: Issues & Arguments

    by Jennifer Saul

    4 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    If a book's merits are judged based on whether or not it achieves the goal its author intends, then Feminism: Issues and Arguments has great merit. Jennifer Saul explicitly states that she is not out to provide a final say on any of the issues she discusses in her book; rather, it's an introduction to contemporary feminist thought by focusing on several issues key to feminism. The only remaining question is one of quality; how…