Day 108 — Book Resource The Philosophy Gym: 25 Short Adventures In Thinking

This is one of a handful of books I keep with me as additional source material for discussions and inspiration, and not just for the pre-teen to teenage class.

The Philosophy Gym: 25 Short Adventures in Thinking features short chapters on key questions, peppered with interesting dialogues in a “community of inquiry” vein. By unpacking the ideas, proposing questions and introducing key thinkers and schools of thought, this is an extremely accessible and useful book when stuck for ideas for livening up a topic.

There are dialogues, philosophical stories and thought experiments, illustrations and “thinking tools” sections to explain key ideas and provide the odd diversion. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that philosophy is an activity. The best way to get the most out of any philosophy book is to join in the activity by reading critically and thinking for yourself. Question the assumptions and unpick the arguments as you go along… if you find yourself disagreeing with me and constructing counter-arguments of your own, that’s a healthy sign.

The informal style doesn’t mean that it lacks in detail — in fact, often the questioning of assumptions that are built up are the most useful elements and can provide further food for thought. Chapters are also linked to other chapters for further reading; each chapter is listed as “warm up”, “moderate” or “more challenging”. As an introductory text to several key ideas and concepts, it’s both a useful resource and a fun, accessible read.

Some example chapters: Can We Have Morality without God and Religion? Is Creationism Scientific? Why Expect the Sun to Rise Tomorrow? What Is Knowledge? Should You Be Eating That?

Further Resources:

Stephen Law’s official college page
Blogs at Stephen Law and Believing Bullshit
Interview on another text, The Philosophy of Christmas
Stephen Law at the BHA Conference 2011: