Ethics Online

Bringing Philosophy to Life

News   •   May 10, 2016 11:08 BST

Set in a magical, misty after-life, two protagonists - G.K. Chesterton and Friedrich Nietzsche meet on a remote path. They hate each other. The only thing they have in common is food and a tatty old book, but in the distance they see great philosophers and decide to see what they have to say.

Whenever someone has an opinion about anything - whether its to condemn a love-rat or to decide whether or not to leave the EU - they are using philosophy. Yet people are scared of 'philosophy'. It sounds a dry, academic thing. Nicky Hansell's book puts it right in perspective and unpicks all the detail in a way we can all understand. It is funny and serious, light but at the same time meaty. Looking at perennial questions such as whether there are standards that are absolutely right - for all time and in all places - or whether they are cultural and relative things, the book explores the lives of the philosophers against the backdrop of perennial problems. It was as much a dilemma for Kant as to what he might do in a tricky situation as it was for JS Mill. Just because they were philosophers didn't stop them making painful decisions - that's what life is about. And knowing a little bit more about what they said and why, will help in our own lives too.

The book is being hailed as a revolutionary new tool in the formal teaching of Philosophy and Ethics and making it more widely understood by people who previously thought that academic theories were inaccessible and dry. No longer. With this book philosophy really does 'come to life in a way that entertains and informs, challenges and confronts.