This is a fantastic book. Review over. Ok, you probably need more than that.
‘The pig that wants to be eaten and 99 other thought experiments” to use its full title, is an anthology of some of the most interesting thoughts to seep from the minds of western philosophers to date. Author Julian Baggini modifies and in some case creates 100 thought experiments in a popular fashion meaning that some of the most rewarding principles of thought can be instantly accessible.
I came across this book while I was studying for my philosophy degree (Baggini himself being co-founder of ‘The Philosophers’ magazine’ and recognising the premise downloaded it to my digital reader of choice without hesitation.
Once downloaded I devoured this book. Each thought experiment (indexed and numbered) is presented in a brief, breezy and easy to read and absorb manner for you to digest and consider followed by a brief discussion on the more traditional theories and thoughts which gave rise to the experiment with citations in place of course. The real trick here is just how easy and accessible they are, I managed to read some to my daughter and she enjoyed the brain teasers a lot (as I enjoyed some of the more interesting “solutions” that only a child of that age could come up with.
I was careful of course with which I would read to her, as an examination of the human existence, not all thought experiments give rise to the most child-friendly subject matter.
Long after reading the book I found that I was able to use some quotations from it as a source in one of my later works in the degree, a pleasant surprise until I realised that on an e-reader, it’s hard to cite a page number as this changes with the text size and style, hence me buying a spare copy (this is important later). I was pleased however that in using the book and reading it again (citing with the page numbers some poor tree gave it’s trunk for) I realized again just how enjoyable the thought experiments are, possibly the better part of philosophy in the end. I have used these experiments to prompt some of the most enjoyable conversations I have ever had and I find that in the way they are presented everyone can contribute with an interesting point of view.
If I had to say who this book was for it becomes tricky. If you want to take a few first steps into philosophy, this book is for you. If you want to understand more about why it’s worth thinking about the abstract then this should be in your library. If you have a regular commute that involves ten minutes a day of staring at Facebook and refreshing BBC news in case anything changed then this should be downloaded on your phone or kept in your handbag. Bite size single experiments give ultimate flexibility to read a bit at a time and if you want, devour a host of further reading later on.
I hope you do get a chance to read it, should you be curious. It’s on Amazon at the moment ( http://amzn.eu/0vjdwHh) and I dare say many other places but as I mentioned, I have a spare copy. If you would like this, please comment below or contact me via any means you have and after a suitable amount of time, I will send it off to someone to enjoy.