måndag 27 juni 2016

Book review: Reality: A Very Short Introduction

Title: Reality: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Jan Westerhoff
Genre: Philosophy
Year published: 2011
Pages: ~160
A place to buy it: If you are in Sweden you can buy it from Bokus or it that is not the case you can buy it of Amazon.
Previous book review: In Every Moment Are We Still Alive

Interesting idea

This book has four chapters: 1. What is real? Dreams and simulations, 2. Is matter real?, 3. Are persons real?, 4. Is time real?. There is also an introduction and a conclusion etc. In the second chapter the writer gives the reader five different definitions to look at reality, such as the 'apocalyptic definition' where only things that would still exists if there were no humans are real. I'm not going to go through all the definitions, but hopefully you will get an idea of how the book is built up.

I find this idea interesting, but the thing is that with only five types of ways to approach the questions in each chapter, the book gets unnecessarily narrowed down. Of course I understand that it is in fact a very short introduction, but I think it would have been more interesting if it wasn't in this almost "locked" position because of the limitation of the five definitions. A little longer book had been something I would have preferred.

Angled towards realism

Even with the limitation I wrote about above it is still a good book, because it is after all just barely 150 pages and it is covering a lot of big topics, so I can see that some ways of limitation is necessary. But something I can not get over when reading the book is how the author constantly goes back to providing overwhelming amounts of evidence for realism. I don't  like that at all, I expected this book to be more open minded. Second of all, I hate to read books that are clumsily angled towards something, whether I agree with it or not. I prefer when the writer serves the reader facts and let them decide for themselves what they think is right or not.

After all that, I have to say that parts of the book get interesting. I especially liked the third chapter (3. Are persons real?). Whether I recommend it or not is hard to say, because it sure is an interesting book but it is a bit flawed. To be honest, I think it is up to you if you would like to read it or not, because I'm pretty sure some will hate it and others probably love it (as with everything).