The Philosophy Gym: 25 Short Adventures in Thinking
by Stephen Law.
From Descartes to designer babies, The Philosophy Gym poses questions about some of history’s most important philosophical issues, ranging in difficulty from pretty easy to very challenging. He brings new perspectives to age-old conundrums while also tackling modern-day dilemmas — some for the first time. Begin your warm up by contemplating whether a pickled sheep can truly be considered art, or dive right in and tackle the existence of God. In this radically new way of looking at philosophy, Stephen Law illustrates the problem with a story, then lets the argument battle it out in clear, easily digestible and intelligent prose. This perfect little mental health club is sure to give each reader’s mind a great workout.
On my very first trip out of Australia, I encountered this book in an airport bookstore. I remember reading the blurb and being hooked. I unfortunately did not purchase this book but was so very lucky that my local library had a copy of another of Law’s books, The Philosophy Files. Years later, armed with my own credit card, The Philosophy Gym was one of the first books I bought.
While I had always been somewhat questioning in what I was told, The Philosophy Files and Gym opened my mind to a lot of established philosophical concepts and theorises. My mind was opened with the possibilities and unanswerable questions of the universe – and because of this book I quickly devoured so many more books about Philosophy.
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Shots of Awe, a YouTube channel, is dedicated to the philosophical musings of Jason Silva. Each of the videos featured on the channel are no longer than four minutes, however each clip is one that seeks to inspire its audiences.
Every episode is focused on one philosophical idea that features video of Jason discussing the notion, inter-cut with a mash of amazing footage taken from a wide range of sources. The real draw of the videos however are the sheer passion and enthusiasm with which Jason discusses these ideas. It is hard to watch a clip and not feel inspired, awed or moved by what he is saying.
Topics of the videos range from robotics, the universe, love, technology, sex, science and the very nature of being human. Each clip sees Jason quote from a plethora of sources, with each reference fitting in so well amongst his discussion that you can’t help but want to follow up on the source. I myself have ended up reading a number of the books and articles that Jason references. The passion for knowledge is at the centre of Jason’s videos as he brings new light to the world around us.
What makes these videos so great is Jason himself. The almost poetic way in which he expresses the philosophical ideas is done in a manner that can stimulate even the most jaded person. The universe, society and the individual are all explored extensively within the series, with Jason rhapsodising in a passionate yet accessible manner.
Shots of Awe is not only educational, it is downright inspiring. If you haven’t watched any, do yourself a favour and check them out. You won’t regret that you did.
Favourite videos of mine: ‘We are already cyborgs,’ ‘Existential Bummer,’ and ‘To be human is to be transhuman.’