The consolations of philosophy by alain de botton

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The Consolations of Philosophy

the consolations of philosophy by alain de botton

What Great Philosophers Can Teach Us About How to Live: Alain de Botton (2000)


The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton. Our Assessment: B- : often amusing presentation of philosophy -- but ultimately too simple and offering few consolations. Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review 's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The Consolations of Philosophy is written in this very Socratic tradition. To be sure, in trying to popularize and humanize these philosophers, de Botton runs the risk of trivializing them as I certainly do in the summaries below. The philosophers featured are mostly tragic figures who rose above their given circumstances, at times heroically, and their middle fingers have remained raised to fate for centuries. This book has little in common with Badass , but its subjects do mostly share the same core values: a dogged determination to be true to oneself, and a nigh-sociopathic disregard for anyone who stands in their way. De Botton starts at the beginning with Socrates, perhaps the poster child for philosophy itself and a reasonable patron saint of the unpopular. While Aristophanes famously portrayed Socrates with his head in the clouds, we should respect Socrates for doing guerilla philosophy in the streets.


Alain de Botton: On Love - Sydney Opera House


First published by Hamish Hamilton in , subsequent publications onwards have been by Penguin Books. The title of the book is a reference to Boethius's magnum opus Consolation of Philosophy , in which philosophy appears as an allegorical figure to Boethius to console him in the year he was imprisoned, leading up to his impending execution. In Consolations , de Botton attempts to console the reader through everyday problems or at least help them to understand them by extensively quoting and interpreting a number of philosophers. These are categorised in a number of chapters with one philosopher used in each. The critical reception for Consolations has been primarily positive.

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I was wandering through the upper gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as one does when one has a few hours to while away before catching a London flight, when my eye was taken by a painting of the death of Socrates. It wouldn't, I realised, be warmly greeted by the hoi polloi who would see such an undertaking as smug and effete, but does not Plato teach us that it's OK to be unpopular? My mind turned to objects of desire. Sadly I could only afford three of them, but does not Epicurus teach us that it is OK not to have enough money? Even so, I sometimes feel frustrated when things don't go my way. Why is my philosophy series only being shown on Channel 4 and not on BBC1? At times like this, I turn to Seneca.

T he early "for dummies" books -- on computers and auto repair -- were a fine idea. The car titles spoke to everyone who thinks she should grasp the internal combustion engine but would settle for a few troubleshooting techniques beyond popping the hood and looking concerned. But then the publishing phenomenon "for dummies" titles were listed on Amazon. Alain de Botton's new book represents another, equally useless side of dummymania. Readers interested in the interplay of thought and language or of earthly and ideal beauty are likely to be insulted by de Botton's boiling down the impassioned struggles of these six thinkers into "Chicken Soup for the Soul. De Botton isn't even providing a way into his consolers in the manner of the "For Beginners" series of illustrated books on Sartre, Nietzsche, Foucault et al.

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5 thoughts on “The consolations of philosophy by alain de botton

  1. Alain de Botton's The Consolations of Philosophy takes the discipline of logic and the mind back to its roots. Drawing inspiration from six of the finest minds in.

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