Sophie's World is a novel by Jostein Garrdener which is based on a philosophy course. It's the bridge between a fiction and non fiction since the 'philosophical course' is inside the novel, so it’s a great way to inform yourself of the history of philosophy.
Since a huge interest of mine is philosophy, I really wanted to get more of an overview of the history of ideas of philosophy, and this is exactly what the book provides. It also has a very unexpected twist which I thought was really clever! I thought the ending became a little obscure, but also was really interesting in terms of questioning the style of the novel. Overall, I would thoroughly recommend to anyone wanting more of an overview on philosophers and their main ideas, through a more reachable and accessible (and interesting!) way. Here are the main things I found really interesting in the book:
Existence of the world :
Idea of the world changing constantly/ never changing
Earth wind fire and water are the 4 basic elements that do not change
Things change in their consistency of these but these things don’t change.
Philosophers were right saying that 'nothing changes' AND that 'everything does.'
Aristotle: empricist: “there is nothing in the mind than what was first in the Sences”
Soul / spiritual = breath or breathing
Descartes doubted everything _ “how can u be certain that your whole life is not a dream?” - only thing he is certain of is that he can think: “I tjink, therefore I am
Thought (conscious) and extension are separate- extended reality eg matter takes up space ect but thoughts do not = they r independent from reality : as long as mind is in body it interacts with it
Mind doesn’t age- physical matter does ( our body)
Descartes: All have idea if perfect entity - couldn’ have originated from us (imperfect) so must have come from perfect entity itself = god
Existence is a perfection
Spinoza : everything is one reality : god is in nature = nature is in god
Thought and extension are what humans recognise - these are gods attributes - 2 ways god manifests itself
We live through the laws of nature (god) eg lion being a predator - we don’t have free will because we are strained by the laws of nature (eg death) but we can decide things within these :
Everything is one/ related: expression of god
-opposed Hume that we cannot be sure of the laws of nature
Kant believed we should use both empiricism and rationalism:
- we can not know what the material world will contain without observing it through our senses , but we can use our knowledge to know that it will happen within time and space, and that it will follow the natural law of causation: which is inbuilt within us
Sensory perception and reason are the two things that participate to how we see the world: we can only be certain of how we see the world not actually how it is
Kant: law of causation is universal - if we are material we have no free will
But we are rational beings: have reason: only when we use are reason to make a moral decision do we have free will
NeoPlatonism - Plotinus
Believed 'one' or 'God' was the fire at on end , and the other end was darkness
Darkness is nothing - just the absence of light
The light of the 'one' shines on all the world - the forms are the closest thing to it
The sparks are our spirits
We all have 'the one' or 'the divine' or God therefore within us
All of nature has part of God/the divine in
Mysticism: mystic experiences is merging with the 'one' and feeling that you are part of the divine
Sinicm: no outer experience can control happiness, only you
Soicism: natural law - nothing happens accidentally
Epecureans: pleasure is good
Take into account the consequences of pleasure - i.e. Eating too much chocolate and then feeling sick
Do not worry about death: 'here pleasure is the highest good'
Agreed with the belief of Democritus that soul atoms - no life after death - believed soul atoms disperse: "death does not concern us. Because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist'
Satre: importance of individuality
There is no 'purpose in life' - we create our purpose in life
Thi is just a small overview of some things I learnt! It's a really great novel for learning so much but also an enjoyable read. I would definitely recommend!