Summary of Think

A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy

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Think book summary
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6 Overall

6 Applicability

6 Innovation

7 Style


Gertrude Stein observed of Ezra Pound that he was a village explainer, and very good to have around if one happened to be a village. Simon Blackburn merits the same level of praise. This book’s stated intention is to give readers some sense of how philosophers approach the really big questions of knowledge, free will, God, reasoning, and so on. That’s a tall order. Think is better appreciated as a chrestomathy of thought-provoking quotations and asides. The book’s strongest points are its useful tips on formulating and analyzing arguments. Incidentally, the politically correct reader will be delighted at Blackburn’s bows to gender-neutral language, his digs at the religious right and his sly elbow in the dead ribs of Edmund Burke. getAbstract recommends this book for anyone interested in philosophy but short of time, or merely out to impress friends, colleagues and clients by dropping names of celebrity philosophers into conversations or sales pitches.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why the study of philosophy better helps us understand ourselves
  • Why studying philosophy can help you to step back and critically examine the origins, validity and consequences of ideas
  • What some major philosophical concepts are


On November 10, 1619 the philosopher, mathematician and pious Catholic René Descartes shut himself away in a room heated by a stove and had a vision followed by dreams. He concluded that this experience had revealed his vocation: to unfold the one true way to knowledge. The world...
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About the Author

Simon Blackburn is Edna J. Koury Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina. He was a Fellow and Tutor at Pembroke College, Oxford from 1969 to 1990. His books include the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy He edited the journal Mind from 1984 to 1990.

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