Notable: Unorthodox approaches to philosophy

Published Sept. 17, 2013


Dreamed of in our philosophy

Three new books take unorthodox approaches to the usually sober subject of philosophy.

The Diary of Edward the Hamster 1990-1990 (Blue Rider Press) by Miriam Elia and Ezra Elia is the illustrated musings of an unusually gloomy rodent who questions whether his cage is of his own making and goes on a 16-minute hunger strike.

The Elixir of Immortality (Other Press) by Gabi Gleichmann is a wide-ranging historical-philosophical novel about Ari Spinoza, who is the 36th generation of his family to inherit a secret manuscript with the recipe for eternal life.

The Trolley Problem, or, Would You Throw the Fat Guy Off the Bridge? A Philosophical Conundrum (Workman) by Thomas Cathcart explores an intriguing thought experiment in which lives are at stake, yet there is no clear ethical choice — not even doing nothing.

Colette Bancroft, Times book editor