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     Volume 4 Issue 52 | June 24, 2005 |

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Five Moral Pieces

Umberto Eco
Translated from the Italian by Alastair McEwan
Vintage 2002

Embracing the web of multi-culturalism that has become a fact of contemporary life from New York to New Delhi, Eco argues that the world has entered an era when in wars both sides stand to lose and as nations, ethnic or political groups we are more connected than before. Tolerance, he says, is one ultimate value that no one can ignore in this complex world.

In this thin book Eco, one of the most influential thinker of our time, brings together pieces that tackles recent issues. His themes are varied and are ethical in nature. Eco calls them moral pieces as the writings are about "what we ought to do and what we ought not to do, and we must not do at all cost." The pieces are of two kinds: one of occasional ones and others are articles written on current affairs.

What good, he asks in a talk delivered during the Gulf War, does war do in a world of goods, services, and information is unstoppable, and the enemy is always behind the lines? What makes news today, who decides how it will be presented and how does the way it is disseminated contribute to the widespread disillusionment with politics in general? While stressing the role of the intellectuals in the strife-ridden world he says that they should never take sides as "their function lies in delving for ambiguities and bringing them to light."

In one of the most personal essays, Eco recalls experiencing liberation from Fascism in Italy as a boy, and examines the various historical forms of Facism, always with an eye towards such ugly manifestations today. And finally, in an itesely personal open letter to an Italian Cardinal, Eco reflect on a question underlying all the rflections in the book what does it mean to be moral or ethical when one doesn't believe in God.

As thoughtful and subtle as they are pragmatic and relevant, these essays present one of the most important thinkers at the height of his critical power.

Philisophy of Mind
Stephen Burwood, Paul Gilbert and Kathleen Lennon
Series Edito John Shand
University of Hull
UCL Press 1998

This remarkable and original introduction to philosophy of mind clearly and engagingly present the fundamentals of subject while also suggesting a new approach to tackling its most resistent puzzle.

The essential issues of the nature of mind, its content of thoughts, the subjective point of view and intentionality are all explained and the motivation for current scientific paradigms are interrogated. The book offer fresh and radical treatment by suggesting that apparently insoluble problems stem largely from the legacy of Descrtes' body/mind dualism persisting even in those current approaches that appear to reject it. The key is the neglect of the body and the pervasive division of "mind" and "body": the artificial conception of the mental that seperates it from our embodied engagement with the world.

Series editor John Shand culled this set of engrossing and lively introduction to current theories of the philosophy of mind in the context of Cartesean legacy of mind/body relations. The book opens with the mind/body duelism that originated from Descartes' complex work on the subject. It goes on to provide a lucid description of materialist position on mind, how the mind can be accommodated outside Descartes' dualistic framework. The fact that the mental can be reduced to the physical state according to the materialistic of physicalist metaphisic is given a full treatment.

Philosophy of Mind will be indispensable to all those with serious interest in the study of the human mind, from introductory philosophy student to scholars and to general readers.

Stephen Burwood, Paul Gilbert and Kathleen Lennon teach philosophy at the University of Hull.

Compiled by: Mustafa Zaman


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