Philosophy for Everyone (series).

Title: Philosophy for Everyone (series).
Editor/s: Allhoff, Fritz. In addition, each title has its own editor.
Material type: Book.
Publisher/date: Wiley-Blackwell.
Format: Paperback (Between 220-300 pages)
Area and topic: Popular philosophy. Philosophy and daily life/culture/experience.
Intended audience/ reading level: General/medium
Purchasing and information:
  1. http://au.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-405212.html
  2. amazon.com
  3. fishpond.co.nz
Unique and/or salient feature/s: The aim of this series is to introduce philosophy to the general reader through themes and issues that are not typically considered to be philosophical subject matter (or to even warrant philosophical reflection). As the titles suggest, each book in the series focuses on comparatively mundane, culturally specific and ‘current’ subject matter. Specifically, the themes discussed in each book concern things and issues that are of immediate interest – that reflect our concrete, ‘everyday’ engagement with life and the world; in other words, things and issues that we supposedly ‘care’ about.

 

Synopsis and/or additional information: The following information is sourced from the above links (see ‘Purchasing and information’) and the text.

  • Each title includes a number of chapters each of which are essentially self contained articles written by different authors. In effect, each book is a collection of entries exploring different aspects of the main title topic from a variety of angles.
  • Full titles include: ‘Coffee – Philosophy for Everyone: Grounds for Debate.’ ‘Dating – Philosophy for Everyone: Flirting With Big Ideas ‘Gardening – Philosophy for Everyone: Cultivating Wisdom.’
  • All other titles are (in Brief): College Sex, Cycling, Serial Killers, Climbing, Christmas, Porn, Motherhood, Hunting, Whiskey, Wine and Philosophy, Beer and Philosophy, Food and Philosophy, Running, Fatherhood.
  • Example title and details: ‘Cannabis – What Were We Just Talking About?’ Edited by Dale Jacquette. This book is a ‘… frank, professionally informed and playful discussion of cannabis usage in relation to philosophical inquiry. [Included within are discussions on] the meaning of a ‘high’, the morality of smoking marijuana for pleasure, the slippery slope to more dangerous drugs, and the human drive to alter our consciousness. [The book] not only incorporates contributions from philosophers, psychologists, sociologists or legal, pharmacological, and medical experts, but also non-academics associated with the cultivation, distribution, and sale of cannabis’.
Strengths: As a general rule, philosophy is supposedly primarily concerned with universal issues and the content can also be rather dry and abstract. In contrast to this, the topics explored in this series are not usually given much consideration in philosophy; specifically, they are all related to the concrete ‘day to day’ lifestyle of our contemporary Western culture. In another sense, the series also cunningly explores these topics as a means of entry (for the general reader) into the more ‘usual’ subject matter of philosophy. For example, the discussion on cannabis raises issues about free will, rights, informal fallacies, ‘what is the good life’, and so forth. The approach adopted here is ideal for secondary school teaching as the key issues centred on are often very relevant or of interest to those of secondary school age. Furthermore, the exploration of one topic from many different philosophical perspectives helps to focus and tie together all the entries in each volume. This allows the reader/student to appreciate how a seemingly mundane, everyday thing can generate such a wide range of issues and problems; issues and problems that may be of interest to all areas and core branches of philosophy. Finally, although not designed for class use, the fact that each chapter is a self contained topic makes it easier to mine as a resource for teaching.
Limitations: The series considers issues of everyday interest from a philosophical perspective, but issues that are often seen as being too culturally specific and ‘fleeting’ to warrant serious philosophical reflection. Even if such themes are really being used as means to explore more enduring and philosophically important ideas, the fact remains that they risk becoming dated, or at least, less relevant as time goes on.

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