So I picked up a book at an airport more than a year ago and picked it up off my shelf today. I remembered how cool it was and wanted to share it with you guys today. The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten by Julian Baggini allows anyone to become an armchair philosopher. Here is the way it work: inside the cover lie 100 ‘thought experiments’ that you can do at home. These experiments challenge conventional thinking in regards to ethics, morality, freedom, religion, and almost any juicy topic you can think of. Each experiment is explained via a short, one page, situational story. The author then goes on to explain the reasoning behind the story. Here is one of my favourite examples from the book:
Mette looked into the eyes of her estranged husband, but could find no flicker of remorse.
‘You tell me you want us back,’ she said to him. ‘But how can we do that when you won’t even admit that you did the wrong thing when you left me and the children?’
‘Because in my heart I don’t think I did wrong, and I don’t want to lie to you,’ explained Paul. ‘I left because I needed to get away to follow my muse. I went in the name of art. Don’t you remember when we used to talk about Gauguin and how he had to do the same? You always said that he had done a hard thing, but not a wrong one.’
‘But you are no Gauguin,’ sighed Mette. ‘That’s why your back. You admit you failed.’
‘Did Gauguin know he would succeed when he left his wife? No one can know such a thing. If he was in the right then so was I.’
‘No,’ said Mette. ‘His gamble paid off, and so he turned out to be right. Yours didn’t, and so you turned out to be wrong.’
‘His gamble?’ replied Paul. ‘Are you saying luck can make the difference between right and wrong?’
Mette thought for a few moments. ‘Yes. I suppose I am.’
How crazy is that?
I would highly recommend picking this book up. Reading one of the experiments in the morning will have you thinking about it all day. It would no doubt also be a an excellent bathroom reader as well (is there a better spot to contemplate philosophy?). And for just $10 on Amazon its a steal.
Have fun pondering life’s great mysteries!