|Title:||The Philosophy Gym. 25 Short Adventures in Thinking.|
|Publisher/date:||Thomas Dunne Books (2003).|
|Format:||Paperback (290 pages)|
|ISBN:||ISBN-10: 0312314523, ISBN-13: 978-0312314521|
|Area and topic:||Core areas/sub-disciplines/branches of philosophy. Popular philosophy. Key/important philosophical issues/topics/problems.|
|Intended audience/ reading level:||General/accessible|
|Purchasing and information:||
|Unique and/or salient feature/s:||‘The Philosophy Gym’ explores 25 issues from a philosophical perspective ranging from the relatively frivolous (e.g. whether a pickled sheep is really art) to more traditionally weighty questions such as ‘does God exist’. Each issue is explored through a variety of styles and approaches including dialogues, stories, thought experiments and illustrations.|
|Synopsis and/or additional information:||The following information is sourced from the above links (see ‘Purchasing and information’) and the text.
|Strengths:||The book is accessible, lively and fun, yet informative; for a relatively short book it also manages to cover a fair bit of ground. Unlike many other so called ‘popular philosophy’ authors, ‘Laws’ is very good at conveying fairly dense subject matter in a simple way but without misrepresenting or seriously diluting the issues under discussion in the process. The book is also a good ‘all rounder’ i.e. it covers many classic and contemporary philosophical problems while in the process introducing the main subjects in philosophy and bringing to light various philosophical methods, tools and other ‘tricks of the trade’. Although written primarily for the general reader, the book readily lends itself to class room work. For some, the lack of syllabus structure and content, and the self contained entries (which allows one to ‘dip and pick’) will be preferable to those books designed specifically for the classroom; i.e. books with set and centralised syllabus guidelines.
|Limitations:||There are no obvious or explicit guidelines, games, activity setups, open questions, exercises and so forth designed to engage the reader/student in a more practical or activity based sense. A notable common complaint from customer reviews (mostly from those with a more religious persuasion) is the supposed lack of even handedness that the author exercises. As one ‘Amazon’ reviewer writes ‘When Law unabashedly declares his final opinion -“In short, what creationists practice isn’t good science – its bunk” – it has the potential to offend. It detracts, too, from the book’s admirable aim to “provide the skills needed to think independently” and “help fortify your courage in making a moral stand”.|