Friedrich Nietzsche is famous for many things, including the idea of the Übermensch, The Will to Power and his sceptical beliefs about truth that make him a precursor of much postmodern thinking. But according to Nietzsche expert Brian Leiter (the man behind the Leiter Reports Weblog) close reading of his work tells a different story.
Blaise Pascal's Pensées is renowned as a great book. Yet few philosophers know much more about it than that it contains Pascal's famous 'Wager' in which he purports to demonstrate that a rational agnostic should gamble on God's existence. Here Ben Rogers explains the context in which the book was written and outlines its key themes.
Jean-Paul Sartre's Being and Nothingness is sometimes described as the bible of existentialism. At its core is the notion of Bad Faith. For this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Sebastian Gardner, author of a recent book about Being and Nothingness, explains what Sartre meant by Bad Faith.
Parmenides was possibly the greatest of the pre-Socratic philosophers. Raymond Tallis, author of a recent book on this philosopher, The Enduring Significance of Parmenides, discusses his ideas and influences with Nigel Warburton in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Raymond Geuss wants political philosophers to focus on real politics. In this interview for Philosophy Bites he explains why he believes philosophers such as Robert Nozick and John Rawls were fundamentally misguided in the way they approached political philosophy. Geuss is in conversation with Nigel Warburton. The introduction is by David Edmonds.
Friedrich Nietzsche's The Genealogy of Morality presents a highly original account of the sources of our values. Christopher Janaway, author of Beyond Selflessness: Reading Nietzsche's Genealogy, discusses Nietzsche's influential book in this episode of Philosophy Bites.
Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason is a great but difficult work. In this interview for Philosophy BitesA.W. Moore gives an accessible account of the main themes of the book and explains what might have been motivating Kant's approach to metaphysics (no mean feat in under 20 minutes!).
Ray Monk discusses the relationship between philosophy and a philosopher's life in this interview with Nigel Warburton for the Philosophy Bites podcast. Can understanding the biographical context of a philosopher and the type of person that they were help us understand their philosophical writing? Is there anything that philosophers might learn from biography? Monk as an award-winning biographer of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell is well-placed to address these questions.