“Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same,” wrote Michel Foucault; a brilliant transdisciplinarian whose work spanned philosophy, history, social theory and literary criticism. He mined past ways of thinking so as to see present-day assumptions and practices afresh, explains the philosopher Gary Gutting.
If killing is wrong, how can going to war be justified? Is it always wrong to kill civilians? If a Nazi soldier were billeted in your home, should you respond when he greets you? Philosopher Cécile Fabre chooses Five Books that help explore the profound ethical dilemmas of war.
Few people have had their ideas reinvented as many times as the German intellectual and political activist, Karl Marx. Professor of political theory, Terrell Carver, takes us through the most influential books, in English, about Marx, Marxism and his friend, publicist and financial backer, Friedrich Engels.
When scientists devised classifications of race in the 18th century, they envisioned it as a hierarchy with Europeans on top. But the concept of ‘race’ is misleading and inaccurate, says the veteran broadcaster Kurt Barling. Here he recommends the best Five Books on racism, and reveals what he said to Enoch Powell when they came face to face.
British philosopher Jonathan Wolff chooses five books by thinkers who have shaped the field. He explores the experiences that influenced each writer, saying ‘it’s very rare for philosophers to say very much about their history and what brought them to the views they have’.
© Five Books 2018