In ancient Greece or Rome, philosophers were seen as natural authorities on the most pressing questions. However, since then, the idea of finding wisdom from philosophy has come to seem bizarre. Enter a university department today and ask to study wisdom, and you will politely but firmly be shown the door. The Consolations of Philosophy sets out to refute the notion that good philosophy must be irrelevant and gathers together six great philosophers who were convinced of the power of philosophical insight to work a practical effect on our lives.
Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche are studied for the light their work can shine on certain great universal problems - poverty, inadequacy, lovelessness, and so on. They stand as examples of the practical utility of philosophy.
"Singlehandedly, de Botton has taken philosophy back to its simplest and most important purpose: helping us live our lives." (Independent)
"No doubt about it, philosophy is the new rock and roll and Alain de Botton is its Colonel Tom Parker.... A pleasure to read. And good writing, like good philosophy, is always a consolation." (John Banville, Irish Times)
"Few discussions on the great philosophers can have been so entertaining...an ingenious, imaginative book." (Humphrey Carpenter, Sunday Times)
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