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  • 5/1/2004

1-On Blindness: Letters Between Bryan Magee and Martin Milligan

Bryan Magee,Martin Milligan

On Blindness opens the eyes of the sighted to the world as experience by the blind, offering a unique opportunity to explore the challenges, frustrations, joys - and extraordinary insights - experienced in the everyday business of discovering the world without sight. What difference does sight or its absence make to our ideas about the world? What begins as a philosophical exchange between the noted philosopher and broadcaster Bryan Magee and the late Martin Milligan, activist and philosopher blind almost from birth, develops into a personal and intense discussion of the implications of blindness. The debate is vigorous and often heated; sometimes contentious, it is always stimulating. In discussing the range of blind experience, from those born blind to those who became blind - including those who have to cope with the shock of gaining sight they had never before possessed - On Blindness argues strongly against the notion that blindness is a simple experience. This extraordinary book casts new light on one of the most fundamental aspects of human experience. It will make fascinating reading for anyone interested in sight and blindness from a personal, practical or philosophical point of view. This dictionary is intended for anyone who enjoys food and would like a handy, non-technical guide to the terms they encounter on food labels, in advertising or in the media. Its broad coverage of food and nutrition makes it invaluable for consumers, cooks, and a range of students and practitioners in the fields of catering, home economies, food technology, and health care. This book is intended for those interested in sight and blindness; those who live or work with blind people; philosophers, psychologists, neurologists, cognitive scientists, and students of those subjects.

Book Description
For three centuries, philosophers have held that knowledge derives from experience. If so, it may be possible that blind people, lacking an important component of experience--visual perception--know the world in ways that differ from the rest of us. Curious about this possibility, the noted philosopher, author, and BBC host Bryan Magee began to correspond with Martin Milligan, Dean of the Philosophy Department at the
University ofLeeds, and himself blind nearly since birth. On Blindness presents their fascinating letters to each other, letters which, as Magee notes, soon "hared off" in unforeseen directions, to delve not only into philosophical questions of perception, but also into the day-to-day differences between blind and sighted people and how these differences define their respective worlds.

Through these letters, the reader eavesdrops on two brilliant thinkers as they wrestle with important philosophical issues and discuss everything from how to convey the stunning visual beauty of a flamingo-covered African lake, to tasting the "brownness" of coffee, to defining sight as "feeling from a distance," to Milligan's description of his own dreams and their significance. Much of this dialogue is quite thought-provoking, such as Milligan's assertion that people blind from birth do not "live in a world of darkness," that they don't even have a sense of what darkness is, nor would many of them want their sight restored. And at times the exchanges become rather heated, as when Milligan makes the philosophical argument that "knowing" and "knowing that" are essentially the same, that all knowledge is propositional knowledge--an assertion that Magee finds anathema. Likewise, when Magee claims that differences between the sighted and the blind "can only be described as vast," Milligan (who had fought prejudice against the blind all his life) sends back a passionate rebuttal.
Here in the course of their wide ranging correspondence, Magee and Milligan probe the limits of what can be known, or expressed, or understood, shedding much light on the writings of such thinkers as Kant, Russell, Schopenhauer, and Wittgenstein, among others. And as they do so, they also bring their readers closer to understanding what divides the blind and the sighted--and what brings them both together in the struggle to understand the world.

2-Story of Philosophy
Bryan Magee


Bryan Magee has been one of the most successful English-language popularizers of philosophy in the 20th century; in this coffee-volume, he presents a brief but information-packed history of Western philosophy from pre-Socratic Greek philosophers like Thales and Heraclitus to postmodern French thinkers like Derrida and Foucault. Illustrations fill every page, offering not only portraits of the major philosophical thinkers but illustrations of some of their key concepts, while ample marginalia provide supplementary information for historical context.

Book Description
Philosophy is a subject that influences many aspects of our lives, yet it can seem dauntingly inaccessible. Unrivaled in its clarity and insight, The Story of Philosophy guides us expertly through the history of ideas and thinking. 2,500 Years of Western Philosophy: Embark on an entertaining and enlightening journey through the history of philosophy from the Ancient Greeks to the Existentialists and beyond. Professor Bryan Magee writes with a clarity and insight that makes The Story of Philosophy appealing to the general reader, yet substantial enough for the more experienced student. What is Philosophy? Philosophers have questioned the fundamental principles underlying all knowledge and existence. Covering every major philosopher, from Plato to Popper via St Augustine, Locke, and Nietzche, Bryan Magee addresses such seminal questions as "What is being?" and "Can the existence of God be proved?," opening up the world of philosophical ideas in a way that is easily understood by everyone. Comprehensive, highly visual, and filled with penetrating observations, The Story of Philosophy is the essential guide to this fascinating subject.


The Great Philosophers
Bryan Magee (Editor)


From Library Journal
Magee has taught philosophy atOxford, and in each of these volumes he attempts to make philosophy understandable to the lay reader. The DK book devotes just a few pages to each of the major thinkers and is lavishly illustrated. It would be suitable for high school, college, and public libraries. Great Philosophers is a series of conversations with important contemporary philosophers about the major historical figures, originally produced for the BBC. Confessions is an autobiographical excursion through Western philosophy.

4-The Tristan Chord: Wagner and Philosophy [BARGAIN PRICE]

Bryan Magee

From Library Journal
Magee, a British writer on philosophy, music, and theater criticism and a former member of Parliament, has made a remarkable contribution to the already extensive literature on the life and works of Wagner. His central thesis that Wagner's intense study of philosophy had a profound influence on his compositions is lucidly presented in 17 chapters, each rich with historical detail and intellectual discourse. The chapters proceed in rough chronological sequence; we first read of the young Wagner as a left-wing revolutionary and end with his mature, complex relationship with Nietzsche. In the central part of the book, Magee provides an overview of Schopenhauer's philosophy and reveals the extent to which Wagner completely overhauled his own values in order to embrace that thinker's world view. Readers to whom all this may appear somewhat arcane and daunting will be pleasantly surprised by the eminently readable nature of the book. Magee's text is not only illuminating but also highly personal and enormously engaging. The lengthy appendix, in which he tackles head-on the thorny issue of Wagner's anti-Semitism, is a brilliant, balanced discussion and is alone worth the price of the book. Throughout, Magee cites myriad secondary sources but includes no bibliography. Despite this omission, this work is highly recommended for all public and academic libraries. Those readers already passionate about Wagner's works will find new reasons to appreciate them, and those who have avoided his music will find the book a revelation and may be inspired to rethink their phobia. Larry Lipkis, Moravian Coll.,Bethlehem,PA

Book Description
Richard Wagner's devotees have ranged from the subtlest minds (Proust) to the most brutal (Hitler). The enduring fascination with his works arises not only from his singular fusion of musical innovation and theatrical daring, but also from his largely overlooked engagement with the boldest investigations of modern philosophy. In this radically clarifying book, Bryan Magee traces Wagner's intellectual quests, from his youthful embrace of revolutionary socialism to the near-Buddhist resignation of his final years. Magee shows how abstract thought can permeate music and stimulate creations of great power and beauty. And he unflinchingly confronts the Wagner whose paranoia, egocentricity, and anti-Semitism are as repugnant as his achievements are glorious.
At once a biography of the composer, an overview of his times, and an exploration of the intellectual and technical aspects of music, Magee's lucid study offers the best explanation of W. H. Auden's judgment that Wagner, for all his notoriety, was "perhaps the greatest genius that ever lived."

5-The Philosophy of Schopenhauer

Bryan Magee

This is a revised and enlarged version of Bryan Magee's widely praised study of Schopenhauer, the most comprehensive book on this great philosopher. It contains a brief biography of Schopenhauer, a systematic exposition of his thought, and a critical discussion of the problems to which it gives rise and of its influence on a wide range of thinkers and artists. For this new edition Magee has added three new chapters and made many minor revisions and corrections throughout. This new edition will consolidate the book's standing as the definitive study of Schopenhauer.

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