Thinking in Action (series)

Title: Thinking in Action (series).
Editor/s: Kearney, Richard.
Material type: Book.
Publisher/date: Routledge.
Format: Paperback. (Titles average at 150 pages)
Area and topic: Philosophy and daily life/culture/experience.
Intended audience/ reading level: General/medium (some titles are easier reads than others).
Purchasing and information:
  • routledge.com/books/series/thinking_in_action
  • amazon.com
  • fishpond.co.nz
Unique and/or salient feature/s: The ‘Thinking in Action’ series is aimed at the general reader. Each book, written by a different author offers philosophical insight and critical debate on a variety of contemporary topics and issues of significance to Western cultural life. For the most part, the topics chosen are (arguably) of ‘considerable’ importance in today’s world i.e. they are not of a generally mundane or frivolous nature. This point contrasts with the ‘Philosophy for Everyone’ series (see review).
Synopsis and/or additional information: The following information is sourced from the above links (see ‘Purchasing and information’) and the text.

  • The book titles are as follows: On Privacy; On Manners; On … Delusion; Courage; Architecture; Criticism; Landscapes; Waiting; Shame; Translation; Education; the Human Condition; the Political; the Public; Anxiety; Cloning; Personality; Being Authentic; Evil; Humanism; the Meaning of Life; On Literature; Humour; Film; Stories; Religion; Science; Belief; Immigration and Refugees; Cosmopolitanism; Forgiveness.
  • Example title and details – ‘On the Internet’: ‘Can the internet solve the problem of mass education, and bring human beings to a new level of community? Drawing on a diverse array of thinkers from Plato to Kierkegaard, ‘On the Internet’ argues that there is much in common between the disembodied, free floating web and Descartes’ separation of mind and body. Hubert Dreyfus [ the author] also shows how Kierkegaard’s insights into the origins of a media-obsessed public anticipate the web surfer, blogger and chat room. Drawing on studies of the isolation experienced by many internet users and the insights of philosopher such as Descartes and Kierkegaard, Dreyfus shows how the internet’s privatisation of experience ignores essential human capacities such as trust, moods, risk, shared local concerns and commitment’.
Strengths: The ‘Thinking in Action’ series explores a wide range of topics from a philosophical perspective, many of which extend beyond what is commonly associated with philosophy as an academic discipline. As a resource for secondary school teachers, the content is especially appropriate and relevant for those subjects that fall within the domain of cultural and social studies – ranging from psychology through to film and television. At the very least, the books may serve as useful background information for approaching practically any subject of cultural or personal relevance from a philosophical perspective.
Limitations: The books in this series are not written or presented in a style that can be directly used as a general resource for teaching. Because of this, they will require, some ‘mining’, and imaginative (and possibly time consuming) manipulation of the content to arrive at something that is presentable and appropriate for secondary level teaching.

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