Synopses & Reviews
Philosophy is a singularly expansive enterprise, a fascinating outgrowth of a human nature that demands we question who and why we are. In A Short History of Philosophy, the most accessible concise portrait of philosophy in seventy years, Robert Solomon and Kathleen Higgins meet the challenge
of accurately and engagingly describing it all, revelling in philosophy as "the art of wonder," the search for meaning, a gripping, dramatic endeavor.
Here is the entire history of philosophy--ancient, medieval, and modern, from cultures both East and West--described in its historical and cultural context. "The concepts that lie at the heart of philosophy antedate history by thousands of years," the authors write in their introduction, noting
that the ancient concept of immortality, prehistorical ideas about magic, and the complex set of beliefs implied by the practice of human sacrifice all exhibit philosophic underpinnings. Solomon and Higgins chart the profound development of philosophical thought around the world and through the
centuries from the first stirrings of speculation and wonder to the rise of distinct (and often antithetical) philosophical traditions, moral constructs, and religious practices. From the early Greek and Asian philosophers and the mythological traditions that preceded them, to the great Greek,
Indic, and Chinese philosophers, to the drama of the great religious philosophies, the authors have spun a marvelous tale that leads to the development and decline of modernity. Along with the major characters, such as Aristotle, Kant, and Confucius, Solomon and Higgins draw engaging portraits of
less well-known alchemists, mystics, rebels, eccentrics of all sorts, including figures often ignored in philosophy--figures such as Teresa of Avila, who contributed to the mystical traditions of Catholicism; al-Razi, a contrarian Persian philosopher within the Arabic tradition who described the
philosophical life as "godlike;" and Erasmus, the Dutch philosopher who parodied the foolishness of man in his praise of folly.
With a clear, witty style and a flair for making complex ideas accessible, the authors also convincingly demonstrate the relevance of philosophy to our times, emphasizing the legacy of the revolutions wrought by science, industry, colonialism, and sectarian warfare, and the philosophical responses
to the traumas of the twentieth century (including two world wars and the Holocaust): existentialism, positivism, postmodernism, feminism, and multiculturalism among them. But Solomon and Higgins go beyond merely retelling the rich history of philosophy; the authors provide their own twists and
interpretations of events, resulting in a story that reveals the continuing complexity and diversity of a richly textured and nuanced intellectual tradition. All who are "lovers of wisdom" will find much to reward them in this book.
"Engaging and illuminating.... Rose is successful both in capturing the imagination of young people with little exposure to formal science and in convincing advanced researchers in other fields that understanding evolutionary biology is important to their science and to their careers. This is a significant achievement."--American Scientist
"Well-written and entertaining.... Rose's innovative studies of the past 25 years have revealed much about the influence of natural selection on aging and have opened up several intriguing possibilities for extending human lives. Here he relates how many of his most significant discoveries were made, interlacing lucid explanations of their significance with interesting accounts of how his own sometimes difficult life experiences influenced his research, and frankly discusses his failures and successes."--Library Journal
"In this hugely enjoyable book, Rose provides a thorough but never too technical survey of one of the most instructive strands of the biology of aging--manipulating the rate of aging by accelerating evolution. If his attempt to extend his studies to mice had succeeded, we might be much closer now to extending human lifespan."--Aubrey de Grey
"Michael Rose is more qualified than anyone currently working in the field of aging to write about the evolutionary development of aging in biological organisms, and he presents us here with a clear, easy-to-digest overview of the field. We meet the leaders and the busy-bee scientists; the believers and the nay-sayers. His final summary of the possibilities for postponing human aging is one of the most accurate and believable to appear in recent years. But most of all, Rose gives us a sense of what it is like to be a living, working scientist. Far and away one of the best-rounded, deeply satisfying accounts of a scientist and his work I have read. Warts and all!" --William R. Clark, University of California, Los Angeles, and author of Sex and the Origins of Death and A Means to an End
"Michael Rose has developed novel and important views on the future of human longevity that draw from his pioneering laboratory experiments and his deep understanding of evolutionary biology. Rose's leads his readers on a fascinating journey from fly cages to the Biosphere, and beckons to the future which may not be so far ahead." --Caleb E. Finch, ARCO/ Keischnick Professor of Gerontology and Biological Science, Andrus Gerontology Center, University of Southern California, and author of Chance, Development and Aging
"Rose is not only an original scientist--he was among the first to demonstrate the extraordinary plasticity of aging in fruit flies after just a dozen generations of selective breeding--he is also a superb writer, and this book can be understood by anyone who ever took high school biology. But even those of us who are professional scientists will enjoy reading this book because of the global perspective he provides on the whole field of gerontology. By carefully reviewing his decades-long career with all the blind alleys that are commonplace for anyone who pioneers a new field, Rose gives us this perspective." --L. Stephen Coles, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder, Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group, and Stem-Cell Researcher at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine
The conquest of aging is now within our grasp. It hasn't arrived yet, writes Michael R. Rose, but a scientific juggernaut has started rolling and is picking up speed. A long tomorrow is coming.
In The Long Tomorrow, Rose offers us a delightfully written account of the modern science of aging, spiced with intriguing stories of his own career and leavened with the author's engaging sense of humor and rare ability to make contemporary research understandable to nonscientists. The book ranges from Rose's first experiments while a graduate student--counting a million fruit fly eggs, which took 3,000 hours over the course of a year--to some of his key scientific discoveries. We see how some of his earliest experiments helped demonstrate that "the force of natural selection" was key to understanding the aging process--a major breakthrough. Rose describes how he created the well-known Methuselah Flies, fruit flies that live far longer than average. Equally important, Rose surveys the entire field, offering colorful portraits of many leading scientists and shedding light on research findings from around the world. We learn that rodents given fifteen to forty percent fewer calories live about that much longer, and that volunteers in Biosphere II, who lived on reduced caloric intake for two years, all had improved vital signs. Perhaps most interesting, we discover that aging hits a plateau and stops.
Popular accounts of Rose's work have appeared in The New Yorker, Time magazine, and Scientific American, but The Long Tomorrow is the first full account of this exciting new science written for the general reader.
"Among his peers, Rose is considered a brilliantly innovative scientist, who has almost single-handedly brought the evolutionary theory of aging from an abstract notion to one of the most exciting topics in science."--Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker
Rose offers a delightfully written account of the modern science of aging, spiced with intriguing stories of his own career and leavened with his engaging sense of humor and rare ability to make contemporary research understandable to nonscientists.
About the Author
Michael R. Rose
is Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of California at Irvine and is Director of the University of California Intercampus Research Program on Experimental Evolution.