October 2, 2007
Contact: Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
AMHERST, Mass.—“If no one ever loves me during my lifetime, will I have not lived a good life?” “Do the advances in the field of biotechnology threaten our moral values?” “Are there any reasons to have a child that aren’t selfish?” “Is there no such thing as bad art?”
These are among the questions asked and answered in What Would Socrates Say?, a new book edited by Alexander George, professor of philosophy at Amherst College. Published in the U.S. by Clarkson Potter, the book draws from AskPhilosophers.org, a popular Website created by George, which brings together some of today’s most esteemed philosophers. Using their knowledge of the arguments laid down by the likes of Aristotle, Camus, Locke and Socrates, and their own insightful interpretations, participating philosophers answer questions from real people around the world in an accessible style. Included are questions on pressing social issues (war, euthanasia); timeless conundrums about religion and morality (how do we know God exists?); personal perplexities about adultery, child-rearing and sex; and some lighthearted topics, like whether it’s right to let your kids believe in Santa.
What Would Socrates Say? is being translated into 10 languages and will be sold around the world. All proceeds from sales, after taxes, are being distributed to educational charities via the AskPhilosophers Fund (www.askphilosophersfund.org).
A member of the faculty at Amherst since 1988, George received a B.A. degree from Columbia University and earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University. He is editor of Reflections on Chomsky (1989), Western State Terrorism (1991) and Mathematics and Mind (1994). His most recent philosophy book, written with Daniel Velleman, professor of mathematics at Amherst, was Philosophies of Mathematics (2002). With his Amherst colleague Lawrence Douglas, George is co-author of Sense and Nonsensibility: Lampoons of Learning and Literature (2004). Douglas and George also have published humorous work together in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, McSweeney’s and the Boston Globe, among other publications, and they contribute a regular column to The Chronicle of Higher Education.