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    • March 2008
    • 9780231137232
  • 144 Pages

  • Paperback
  • $19.95
  • / £13.95

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    • May 2006
    • 9780231137225
  • 144 Pages

  • Hardcover
  • $65.00
  • / £45.00

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    • May 2006
    • 9780231510400
  • 144 Pages

  • E-book
  • $19.99
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Insurmountable Simplicities

Thirty-nine Philosophical Conundrums

Roberto Casati and Achille Varzi

"Perhaps not all the stories that follow are true. They could, however, be true, and the Reader is invited to ponder this."

So begins Insurmountable Simplicities, Roberto Casati and Achille Varzi's colorful incarnation of the many philosophical conundrums that hide in the wrinkles of everyday life. Why do mirrors seem to invert left and right but not up and down? How do we know whether strawberries taste the same for everyone? Where is it written that we must observe the law, and if it is not written, why should we observe it? What if we could swap brains-or the rest of our bodies?

Insurmountable Simplicities is filled with stories, dialogues, and epistolary exchanges that cover a range of themes-such as personal identity, causality and responsibility, fortune, the nature of things, the paradoxes of time and space, the interface between logic and language-in captivating and inventive ways.

Clear, concise, and intellectually engaging, this internationally acclaimed book brilliantly demonstrates that the beauty of philosophy resides in its thorough engagement with the simplicities of the world, insurmountable as they might initially appear.

About the Author

Roberto Casati is research director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris. He is the author of The Shadow Club and (with Achille Varzi) Parts and Places: The Structures of Spatial Representation and Holes and Other Superficialities. Achille Varzi is professor of philosophy at Columbia University. In addition to the books coauthored with Casati, he is the author of several volumes, including An Essay in Universal Semantics and Theory and Problems of Logic.

"The authors creatively weave...cleverly written stories. Highly recommended." — Library Journal

"Bite-sized bits of thought-provoking philosophy are cunningly explored in this little book of brainteasers." — Publishers Weekly

"An excellent and mentally stimulating introduction to a wide variety of difficult and deep questions." — Midwest Book Review

"These internationally well-known authors have a remarkable ability to make difficult philosophical and scientific issues palatable for the general public. They avoid ornaments that could distract readers and philosophical points emerge very clearly and with great immediacy." — Mario De Caro, Università Roma Tre, coeditor of Naturalism in Question

"Entry into the Houses of Philosophy is traditionally ponderous. As a kind of after-hours lark, Casati and Varzi slip you through unnoticed basement windows. In and out you go, from surface to depth, from depth to surface, finding yourself in Metaphysics or Aesthetics or Logic or Epistemology from an unauthorized perspective. The approach is bottom-up, the style is light-hearted, and the result educational. Philosophy needs more trespassers." — Roy Sorensen, professor of philosophy at Dartmouth College, author of Thought Experiments and A Brief History of the Paradox

"These stories are a colorful incarnation of philosophical concepts or paradoxes embedded in everyday life situations. It is not a random collection of stories, rather it is a systematic enterprise in which we find fresh episodes that help us understand the implications of philosophical concepts." — Marco Aiello, Vienna University of Technology and University of Trento

"A beautifully written, charming, accessible, and yet rigorous invitation to consider a number of challenging and delightful philosophical puzzles and themes." — Hud Hudson, Western Washington University, author of The Metaphysics of Hyperspace

About the Author

Roberto Casati is research director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris. He is the author of The Shadow Club and (with Achille Varzi) Parts and Places: The Structures of Spatial Representation and Holes and Other Superficialities. Achille Varzi is professor of philosophy at Columbia University. In addition to the books coauthored with Casati, he is the author of several volumes, including An Essay in Universal Semantics and Theory and Problems of Logic.

<strong>Table of Contents
Room 88
About a Useless Project
The Poet as a Young Man
The Chain of Events Leading Up to the Goal
Zombie, Inc. Sleeping Pills
Partial Amnesia
Person Transplant
My Ice Cream, Your Ice Cream
Playing Lotto in Reverse City
Lucky Numbers
The Invisible Disorder
A Missive from the Bell-Ringer
Sparkling Bubbles
Dates of Birth
Four-Seasons Island
Lost Beauty Spots
Hic Sunt Leones
Reflections
The Last Case of the President of Amoebas
The Hidden Statue
A Cupboard in Pieces
Holter Monitor
Row 13
Train Cancelled
Satellites
Verbatim
The Intelligent Dictionary
The Traveler's Pictionary
Ink Marks
Forced Choices
What Does the Majority Want?
Law Number One
Proud To Be Third
The Placebo Effect
Interesting!
Self-Reference Self-Explained
The Surprise Visit
A Risky Cake
Coda
Universal Acid
Note

About the Author

Roberto Casati is research director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris. He is the author of The Shadow Club and (with Achille Varzi) Parts and Places: The Structures of Spatial Representation and Holes and Other Superficialities. Achille Varzi is professor of philosophy at Columbia University. In addition to the books coauthored with Casati, he is the author of several volumes, including An Essay in Universal Semantics and Theory and Problems of Logic.

•Read an >excerpt from Insurmountable Simplicities. (pdf)•

About the Author

Roberto Casati is research director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris. He is the author of The Shadow Club and (with Achille Varzi) Parts and Places: The Structures of Spatial Representation and Holes and Other Superficialities. Achille Varzi is professor of philosophy at Columbia University. In addition to the books coauthored with Casati, he is the author of several volumes, including An Essay in Universal Semantics and Theory and Problems of Logic.

About the Author

Roberto Casati is research director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris. He is the author of The Shadow Club and (with Achille Varzi) Parts and Places: The Structures of Spatial Representation and Holes and Other Superficialities. Achille Varzi is professor of philosophy at Columbia University. In addition to the books coauthored with Casati, he is the author of several volumes, including An Essay in Universal Semantics and Theory and Problems of Logic.

About the Author

Roberto Casati is research director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris. He is the author of The Shadow Club and (with Achille Varzi) Parts and Places: The Structures of Spatial Representation and Holes and Other Superficialities. Achille Varzi is professor of philosophy at Columbia University. In addition to the books coauthored with Casati, he is the author of several volumes, including An Essay in Universal Semantics and Theory and Problems of Logic.