The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living
By Massimo Pigliucci
Basic Books, $27.99, 312 pages
Philosophy and science have been intertwined for centuries. Galileo and Newton considered themselves natural philosophers. It wasn’t until the 19th Century that science and philosophy started to split from each other. Science became dominated by specific results that could be duplicated, while philosophy became more and more technical, moving away from its more accessible beginnings. Many books have dealt with the topic of bringing science and philosophy together, especially since the two used to be so close to one another. Massimo Pigliucci attempts to do this in his newest book. Unfortunately, it does not work out that well.
Mr. Pigliucci examines different concepts and topics from both the philosophical perspective and the scientific perspective. He mainly concentrates on the neurosciences since they provide the greatest insight into how our brains work. Each chapter starts off examining how philosophers have looked at a particular problem, mainly focusing on the work of giants in the field. He then takes a look at what science has to say, how that coincides with what we know from philosophy and how science has changed over the years. This book is a bit of a mess in terms of editing. It is all over the place. The book starts off strong but becomes weaker and weaker throughout, getting fairly redundant towards the end.
Reviewed by Kevin Winter
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