In my previous post, I wrote about the release of the new book 50 Philosophy Classics, by Tom Butler-Bowdon. The publisher, Nicholas Brealey, has re-released all titles in Tom’s 50 Classics series as “The Literature of Possibility.” Taken together, they represent a highly valuable library of inspirational thought throughout the ages, aimed not at the specialist but for curious readers who are hungry for deep knowledge with applicability for daily life.

I mentioned that books by contemporary thinkers such as Daniel Kahneman and Nassim Nicholas Taleb shared space in the new book with the more familiar historical names (Aristotle, Plato, Confucius and so on). One of the strongest contributions of 50 Philosophy Classics is the inclusion of, besides Kahneman and Taleb, other modern-age writers that we more readily associate with other disciplines, including Iris Murdoch (a philosopher but better known as a novelist) and Marshall McLuhan (better known as a media/cultural observer).

Many readers will also appreciate the inclusion of the highly popular Harvard government professor Michael Sandel and his 2009 book Justice, as well as the oft-referenced Thomas Kuhn (“paradigm shift”), and his 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. In addition, there is the physicist David Bohm (who has been written about elegantly by Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski and others) and his 1980 book Wholeness and the Implicate Order.

Butler-Bowdon shows that philosophy is a big tent that can encompass ideas and inquiries that hold significant meaning and maps to understanding for some, and the opposite effect on others. “The purpose of this book,” he writes, “is not to tell you who is “right,” but to lay out some of the ideas and theories of note to help you make up your own mind.”