Although it came out late last year, Alex Rosenberg’s book, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life Without Illusions hasn’t been getting the press it deserves. Indeed, the comparative attention lavished on Alain de Botton’s much less interesting Religion for Atheists seems downright unfair. Probably Rosenberg’s title is largely to blame. He has all but admitted choosing it as a marketing ploy. This was probably a mistake. The title does the book no justice, since one thing The Atheist’s Guide has relatively little to say about is atheism. This has led people like this Independent reviewer to focus on complaining that the book offers little to atheists (more sensitive to logical solecisms than de Botton, Rosenberg declines to offer them religion) while ignoring its real topic.
Spare a thought for Jim. Who’s Jim, you ask? Jim is a man with dreams, dreams which we of all people should be able to relate to. After losing his job in the public sector, Jim now has to decide what to do with his future. As a student he took his degree in Philosophy and English, and has since then continued to pursue philosophy in his spare time. Now he has the opportunity to make philosophy his career, by going back to university and with time, effort and money, one day become a philosopher by trade. But, Jim worries, is chasing after his dream worth it in this most cynically materialistic of ages? Is combining the best of both worlds – the fabled “job satisfaction” – really tenable for Jim? With the help of the Guardian, Jim called upon the nation for advice about his dilemma – who in turn seem to have encouraged him to follow his heart. Continue reading “Philosophy’s Debt to Society”