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How the World Thinks: A Global History of Philosophy

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In the first global overview of philosophy, Julian Baggini travels the world to provide a wide-ranging map of human thought. One of the great unexplained wonders of human history is that written philosophy flowered entirely separately in China, India and Ancient Greece at more or less the same time. These early philosophies have had a profound impact on the development of In the first global overview of philosophy, Julian Baggini travels the world to provide a wide-ranging map of human thought. One of the great unexplained wonders of human history is that written philosophy flowered entirely separately in China, India and Ancient Greece at more or less the same time. These early philosophies have had a profound impact on the development of distinctive cultures in different parts of the world. What we call 'philosophy' in the West is not even half the story. Julian Baggini sets out to expand our horizons in How the World Thinks, exploring the philosophies of Japan, India, China and the Muslim world, as well as the lesser-known oral traditions of Africa and Australia's first peoples. Interviewing thinkers from around the globe, Baggini asks questions such as: why is the West is more individualistic than the East? What makes secularism a less powerful force in the Islamic world than in Europe? And how has China resisted pressures for greater political freedom? Offering deep insights into how different regions operate, and paying as much attention to commonalities as to differences, Baggini shows that by gaining greater knowledge of how others think we take the first step to a greater understanding of ourselves.


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In the first global overview of philosophy, Julian Baggini travels the world to provide a wide-ranging map of human thought. One of the great unexplained wonders of human history is that written philosophy flowered entirely separately in China, India and Ancient Greece at more or less the same time. These early philosophies have had a profound impact on the development of In the first global overview of philosophy, Julian Baggini travels the world to provide a wide-ranging map of human thought. One of the great unexplained wonders of human history is that written philosophy flowered entirely separately in China, India and Ancient Greece at more or less the same time. These early philosophies have had a profound impact on the development of distinctive cultures in different parts of the world. What we call 'philosophy' in the West is not even half the story. Julian Baggini sets out to expand our horizons in How the World Thinks, exploring the philosophies of Japan, India, China and the Muslim world, as well as the lesser-known oral traditions of Africa and Australia's first peoples. Interviewing thinkers from around the globe, Baggini asks questions such as: why is the West is more individualistic than the East? What makes secularism a less powerful force in the Islamic world than in Europe? And how has China resisted pressures for greater political freedom? Offering deep insights into how different regions operate, and paying as much attention to commonalities as to differences, Baggini shows that by gaining greater knowledge of how others think we take the first step to a greater understanding of ourselves.

40 review for How the World Thinks: A Global History of Philosophy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    Reading this book aloud in the car, discovering gems together over Kopi and Roti Prata, letting a stranger skim through it just before the start of a lecture, discussing it with my boss after a workshop, trying to explain its gist to a curious 7-year-old. These were my favourite memories of reading this one. And as I travelled for work and play, through car and taxi rides, brought it from café to café, drunk cups of Caramel Latte/Kopi-C Peng/Genmaicha while I nibbled on doughnuts, woke up early Reading this book aloud in the car, discovering gems together over Kopi and Roti Prata, letting a stranger skim through it just before the start of a lecture, discussing it with my boss after a workshop, trying to explain its gist to a curious 7-year-old. These were my favourite memories of reading this one. And as I travelled for work and play, through car and taxi rides, brought it from café to café, drunk cups of Caramel Latte/Kopi-C Peng/Genmaicha while I nibbled on doughnuts, woke up early to get some chapters in before starting on work, gave thanks for late turn-ups and having to wait for the little one at ballet classes that let me pore through the book, Baggini took me through East Asia, Europe, America and Africa, through the ages from the time of Confucius, Socrates and Buddha to the world of today. I took a long time to get through this one because it kept me pausing to reflect and rexamine my own thinking and what has shaped it. Often I found myself needing to reach out to discuss with other minds. And now, having completed it, I feel simultaneously nourished and hungry. Gratifying read

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mike Steinharter

    I so wanted to learn from this book; Understanding philosophies from around the world sounded quite interesting and it grabbed my attention at the bookstore and no doubt the author’s experience is extensive, but the writing just didn’t invite me in to learn and understand. To be fair, i enjoyed a number of parts of the books, such as the chapter on Japanese relational self and the anecdotes that illustrate it. But he jumps around way too much for me and I found myself skimming more often than I I so wanted to learn from this book; Understanding philosophies from around the world sounded quite interesting and it grabbed my attention at the bookstore and no doubt the author’s experience is extensive, but the writing just didn’t invite me in to learn and understand. To be fair, i enjoyed a number of parts of the books, such as the chapter on Japanese relational self and the anecdotes that illustrate it. But he jumps around way too much for me and I found myself skimming more often than I prefer.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tom Smet

  4. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

  5. 4 out of 5

    Monika Cutri

  6. 4 out of 5

    John Mannion

  7. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  8. 5 out of 5

    Conor Murphy

  9. 5 out of 5

    Graham Petrie

  10. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

  12. 4 out of 5

    John

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  14. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Noe

  15. 4 out of 5

    Frank Hamilton

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alex Rauket

  17. 4 out of 5

    Valentine

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lea

  19. 5 out of 5

    David

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anders Hjortshøj

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tanis

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lucia

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christina Van Moorsel

  24. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Bainbridge

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gerald

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

  27. 5 out of 5

    Syed Umar

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rex

  29. 4 out of 5

    Annie

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Mouton

  31. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Vanderbilt

  32. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Miller

  33. 5 out of 5

    Elissa

  34. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

  35. 4 out of 5

    Bermal

  36. 4 out of 5

    Mohmed Ashraf

  37. 4 out of 5

    Kurdo Chali

  38. 5 out of 5

    Navneet Gidda

  39. 5 out of 5

    Nazrul Buang

  40. 5 out of 5

    Brendan

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