Think: A compelling introduction to philosophy – Simon Blackburn

Think:A compelling introduction to philosophy is an non-fiction philosophy book.
Here is a series of quotations from the first chapter:

This book is for people who want to think about the big themes: knowledge, reason, truth, mind, freedom, destiny, identity, God, goodness and justice.

These are not the hidden preserve of specialists. they are things that men and women wonder about naturally.

The word ‘philosophy’ carries unfortunate connotations: impractical, unworldly, weird.

I have chose these quotations because the first one lists all what philosophy is about and it is significant because the third quotation tells us that ‘philosophy’ is regarded as nerdy by many people, when I read this book, people call me a ‘nerd’. But the second quotation tells us that these subjects or themes in philosophy are the thoughts of normal people in normal everyday life, not just by philosophers who specialize on philosophy! So if ‘philosophy’ is thought by everyone, then WHY do people think of it as ‘useless’, ‘nerdy’ and everything else that is bad? Why do they call themselves that?

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5 comments to Think: A compelling introduction to philosophy – Simon Blackburn

  • Michelle

    Jolly, I couldn’t help but notice that you had grouped the word ‘nerdy’ in with things such as uselessness and, I quote, ‘everything that is bad’. But what’s bad about being a nerd in the first place? That’s a question to ask oneself (especially because you’re reading a book on philosophy). Why is being a nerd something that people are ashamed of? The book said it best: ‘ subjects or themes in philosophy are the thoughts of normal people in normal everyday life.’ If you contemplate the connotations the word ‘nerd’ brings, it should really be a compliment to be called one.

    Think about it. What does the word ‘nerd’ actually mean when used as an insult? If you deconstruct it, people who say “you’re so nerdy” technically mean “Why are you learning about things? Why are you accumulating knowledge?”

    Being a nerd isn’t a bad thing. It’s a pretty bad insult because it doesn’t really insult someone in the first place. 🙂

  • (Jolly) Nga Wan

    Yes, it is a bad insult because nerd is slang for “stupid or crazy person” but in this case, it is the opposite of that. But this leads to another question – how do we define “stupid”? Does it mean the lack of knowledge of a person, or does it mean that the person’s acts are in a sense that they don’t understand what they are doing? But then THIS brings in another question -What is knowledge? Is it something that we can create? To what extent of knowledge do we know?
    I could go on for a long time so I’ll cut it here.

  • Aurora

    Haha, this posts (and the comments) are really interesting. It really gets you thinking.. Seems like an interesting book, I think i might read this book soon! Great post Jolly:)

  • Mr. MacKnight

    Paul Graham, “Why Nerds Are Unpopular”: http://www.paulgraham.com/nerds.html.

  • Michelle

    Regarding Mr. MacKnight’s interesting link: huh. I had no idea that was what nerds technically were. Excuse my slight ignorance on that part. By Graham’s definition of a ‘nerd’, I can see why the title is wholly unlikable; but, like Graham’s article has addressed, it seems that nowadays, the definition of nerd has unfortunately warped into something that simply generalizes anyone that’s smart (and that kind of seems as though, in my process of attempting to disapprove this, I ended up proving it instead. Whoops, my apologies).

    Copied and pasted for your convenience: “So far I’ve been finessing the relationship between smart and nerd, using them as if they were interchangeable. In fact it’s only the context that makes them so. A nerd is someone who isn’t socially adept enough.”

    And as for Jolly, feel free to go on! It’s a very interesting train of thought. The world today is defined by society’s opinions, and while I don’t particularly agree with the questions you’re asking, I definitely want hear them out.

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