Great book, this. Philosophy, The Basics, by Nigel Warburton
A lot of problems are described very simply, without recourse to huge multisyllabic words like “multisyllabic”.
As an atheist, I enjoyed the discussions on the various proofs that there is indeed a god. No conclusions were given, other than that there is more discussion needed.
I’ve just finished reading up on ethics, and am only slightly disappointed to find that there are indeed no hard and fast rules for how to live your life (unless you are religious, in which case “good” means “what god says”). Some ethic theories (utilitarianism, virtue theory, Kantian ethics, etc) were discussed, along with some example problems and how they might be solved with the various systems.
Based on the above, I think I may follow something like “negative utilitarianism”, whereby the goal of any action is to minimise suffering.
Now that I think of it, that could even explain my vegetarianism – I don’t kill and eat cows, because it would cause the cows pain, and I don’t suffer by eating potatoes instead.
How that allows me to come to work in suede shoes, and leather trousers, is beyond me – but hell, I’m not a consistent person!
The book is aimed at people who don’t study philosophy in-depth, but want an overview of it. That aim has been achieved. Everything is explained clearly and concisely.
Of course, not everything is explained – after reading certain sections, I had some questions that were not answered, but the book supplies “further reading” lists at the end of each chapter.