Truth has always been a thorny topic. How does it work? Who decides what it is? And why is it seen as so important? In this lucid introduction to the topic, leading scholar Simon Blackburn describes the main approaches to the notion of truth and considers how these relate to different perspectives on belief, interpretation, facts, knowledge and action. He then looks at how these ideas can be applied to: - aesthetics, taste and the judgement of art; - ethics and how people decide how they should (or should not) live; - reason and rational truth and whether these may be found or learnt in conversation, agreement and disagreement; - religious belief and the ultimate cause of the cosmos. Understanding what constitutes truth has practical value in every aspect of life, and whether you are voting in an election or finding an excuse for being late, Professor Blackburn's clear and incisive account will illuminate your choice, and stimulate, inform and entertain you along the way.
Ideas in Profile: Small Introductions to Big Topics Shakespeare is the world's greatest writer. In this lively and authoritative introduction, Paul Edmondson presents Shakespeare afresh as a dramatist and poet, and encourages us to take ownership of the works for ourselves as words to be spoken as well as discussed. We get a wide sense of what his life was like, his rich language, and astonishing cultural legacy. We catch glimpses of Shakespeare himself, how he wrote and see what his works mean to readers and theatre practitioners. Above all, we see how Shakespeare tackled the biggest themes of humanity: power, history, war and love. Shakespeare scholar Paul Edmondson guides us through the most important questions around Shakespeare and in the process reminds us just why he is so celebrated in the first place.
Ideas in Profile Series Is music a science or an art? It's both, as Andrew Gant reveals in this lively and accessible account of what music is and what it's for. Music has been central to life since the dawn of humankind and is intimately bound up with the origins of language. Andrew Gant introduces us to its long history and its many genres and manifestations. He explains how composers compose, players play and singers sing. He looks at how musical styles develop, the ways they fall in and out of fashion, and why certain kinds of music - dancing and love songs, for example - is a universal in human culture. He considers how music is composed, the nature of genius and the workings of inspiration. He shows how music can be composed and used to stir patriotism, instill courage, reinforce identity, sell a product, or make a political point. And he goes beyond humans to examine music in the natural world in the creativity of birdsong. This is, in short, the ideal introduction to a very big subject.
Ideas in Profile: Small Introductions to Big Topics This introduction to the ancient world, part of the Ideas in Profile series, covers all its different cultures, from the million people crammed into Rome to the Jews and Syrians who refused to be Romanised. Jerry Toner shows what can be learnt from new approaches to ancient history, from analysing the bones of the dead in Pompeii or assessing the impact of environmental change, and considers how we can discover what it was like to live back then. He looks at every period, not just classical Athens and Republican Rome, but the Hellenistic kingdoms that followed Alexander and the Christian-dominated later Roman Empire. Greece and Rome, he argues, must be fitted into the global history of their day: what did Persians think of Greeks and how does the Roman empire stack up to China's? With vivid examples and animation from award-winning Cognitive at every stage, this is the ideal introduction to the ancient world for general readers and students.
Ideas in Profile: Small Introductions to Big Topics In the first title of an exciting new series one of the world's leading political scientists asks the big questions about politics: what is it, why we do we need it and where, in these turbulent times, is it heading? From the gap between rich and poor to the impact of social media, via Machiavelli, Hobbes and Weber, Runciman's comprehensive short introduction is invaluable to those studying politics or those who want to know how life in Denmark became more comfortable than in Syria. The Ideas in Profile series is what introductions can and should be. Concise, clear, relevant, entertaining, original and global in scope, Politics makes essential reading for anyone, from students to the general reader.
Roger Scruton looks at the central ideas of conservatism over the centuries. He examines conservative thinking on civil society, the rule of law and the role of the state on the one hand; and freedom (including freedom of expression and association), morality, equality, property and rights on the other. He traces the origins and development of the conservative ideology in the philosophies and thoughts of, among others, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, John Ruskin, Michael Oakeshott, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and Robert Nozick. He shows how conservative ideas have worked out in the politics and policies of leading figures people such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Disraeli, the Earl of Salisbury, Calvin Coolidge, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. He also looks closely at the degree to which capitalism and free markets have been, and are integral to, conservative ideology and politics in the UK and in the USA. Professor Scruton's clear, incisive guide is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the politics and policies of the west now and over the last three centuries.
Physicist Frank Close takes the reader to the frontiers of science in a vividly told investigation of revolutionary science and enterprise from the seventeenth century to the present. He looks at what has been meant by theories of everything, explores the scientific breakthroughs they have allowed, and shows the far-reaching effects they have had on crucial aspects of life and belief. Theories of everything, he argues, can be described as those which draw on all relevant branches of knowledge to explain everything known about the universe. Such accounts may reign supreme for centuries. Then, often as a result of the advances they themselves have enabled, a new discovery is made which the cur...
Ideas in Profile: Small Introductions to Big Topics Geography gives shape to our innate curiosity; cartography is older than writing. Channelling our twin urges to explore and understand, geographers uncover the hidden connections of human existence, from infant mortality in inner cities to the decision-makers who fly overhead in executive jets, from natural disasters to over-use of fossil fuels. In this incisive introduction to the subject, Danny Dorling and Carl Lee reveal geography as a science which tackles all of the biggest issues that face us today, from globalisation to equality, from sustainability to population growth, from climate change to changing technology - and the complex interactions between them all. Illustrated by a series of award-winning maps created by Benjamin D. Hennig, this is a book for anyone who wants to know more about why our world is the way it is today, and where it might be heading next.