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What Great Philosophers Can Teach Us About How to Live: Alain de Botton (2000)

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00:00   |   Mar 03, 2015

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What Great Philosophers Can Teach Us About How to Live: Alain de Botton (2000)
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In Consolations, de Botton attempts to console the reader through everyday problems (or at least help them to understand them) by extensively quoting and interpreting a number of philosophers. About the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0679779175/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0679779175&linkCode=as2&tag=tra0c7-20&linkId=76ab197b7e0eeb36a236503597b1ead8

These are categorised in a number of chapters with one philosopher used in each. Consolation for Unpopularity (Socrates) Consolation for Not Having Enough Money (Epicurus) Consolation for Frustration (Seneca) Consolation for Inadequacy (Montaigne) Consolation for a Broken Heart (Schopenhauer) Consolation for Difficulties (Nietzsche)

The critical reception for Consolations has been primarily positive. A few critics have been negative. Edward Skidelsky of the New Statesman wrote: "Comforting, but meaningless. In seeking to popularise philosophy, Alain de Botton has merely trivialised it, smoothing the discipline into a series of silly sound bites. ... [De Botton's The Consolations of Philosophy] is bad because the conception of philosophy that it promotes is a decadent one, and can only mislead readers as to the true nature of the discipline."

Jonathan Lear, writing in the New York Times said: "Academic philosophy in the United States has virtually abandoned the attempt to speak to the culture at large, but philosophy professors are doing something of incredible importance: they are trying to get things right. That is the thread that connects them back to Socrates -- even if they are not willing to follow him into the marketplace -- and that is the thread that The Consolations of Philosophy cuts. ...[L]et's face it, this isn't philosophy."

Mary Margaret McCabe stated in the Times Literary Supplement: "In the culture of the market economy, we miss the fact that philosophy is valuable in and by itself.... It is deeply dispiriting, then, that the latest attempt to popularize philosophy [De Botton's The Consolations of Philosophy] - that is to say, to make philosophy into televisual fodder - does so precisely on the basis that philosophers can provide us with useful tips.... This is not the dumbing down of philosophy, it is a dumbing out. Nothing in this travesty deserves its title; Boethius must be turning in his grave."

The book was the inspiration for the Channel 4 TV series Philosophy: A Guide To Happiness. The series was produced mirroring the book's layout with the following six episodes: Socrates on Self-Confidence Epicurus on Happiness Seneca on Anger Montaigne on Self-Esteem Schopenhauer on Love Nietzsche on Hardship

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Consolations_of_Philosophy

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (/mɒnˈteɪn/; French: [miʃɛl ekɛm də mɔ̃tɛɲ]; 28 February 1533 – 13 September 1592) was one of the most influential philosophers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. He became famous for his effortless ability to merge serious intellectual exercises with casual anecdotes and autobiography—and his massive volume Essais (translated literally as "Attempts" or "Trials") contains, to this day, some of the most influential essays ever written. Montaigne had a direct influence on writers all over the world, including René Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Albert Hirschman, William Hazlitt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Stefan Zweig, Eric Hoffer, Isaac Asimov, and possibly on the later works of William Shakespeare.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_de_Montaigne

Arthur Schopenhauer (German: [ˈaʁtʊʁ ˈʃɔpənˌhaʊ̯ɐ]; 22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860) was a German philosopher best known for his book, The World as Will and Representation (German: Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung), in which he claimed that our world is driven by a continually dissatisfied will, continually seeking satisfaction. Influenced by Eastern philosophy, he maintained that the "truth was recognized by the sages of India"; consequently, his solutions to suffering were similar to those of Vedantic and Buddhist thinkers (e.g., asceticism). The influence of "transcendental ideality" led him to choose atheism.

At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the four distinct aspects of experience in the phenomenal world; consequently, he has been influential in the history of phenomenology. He has influenced many thinkers, including Friedrich Nietzsche, Richard Wagner, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Otto Rank, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, Leo Tolstoy, Thomas Mann, and Jorge Luis Borges, among others.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Schopenhauer