Have breakfast with Socrates, go to work with Nietzsche, head to the gym with Foucault, then have sex with Ovid (or Simone de Beauvoir).
Former Oxford Philosophy Fellow Robert Rowland Smith whisks you through an ordinary day with history's most extraordinary thinkers, explaining what they might have to say about your routine. From waking up in the morning through traveling to work, shopping, eating, going to a party, falling asleep, and dreaming, Smith connects our most mundane habits to the wider world of ideas.Start with waking up: What does it really mean to be awake? How do we know we're not still dreaming? Descartes argues that if you're able to doubt whether you're awake, you are at least thinking, and so you probably exist -- no small achievement for first thing in the morning. Or take going to the gym: As you toil on the treadmill, is your panting a sign of virtue or of vice, of healthy exertion or of unhealthy narcissism?
,p>Working out is a version of what Max Weber called the Protestant work ethic -- a kind of spiritual exercise, it also leads to worldly vanity.With dry wit and marvelous invention, Smith draws on philosophy, literature, art, politics, and psychology to wake us up to a stunning range of ideas about how to live. Neither breakfast, lunch, nor dinner will ever be the same again.
"Although Smith’s philosophical observations are sometimes overshadowed by his clever, showy prose, the author is genuinely good at making connections between important ideas and lived experience, and successful in showing that philosophy can be a vehicle for making the trivialities of life more meaningful (and hence more bearable) than they otherwise might be." (Booklist)
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