Answers for Aristotle
How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to A More Meaningful Life
By Massimo Pigliucci
(Basic Books, Hardcover, 9780465021383, 320pp.)
Publication Date: October 2012
How should we live? According to philosopher and biologist Massimo Pigliucci, the greatest guidance to this essential question lies in combining the wisdom of 24 centuries of philosophy with the latest research from 21st century science. In Answers for Aristotle, Pigliucci argues that the combination of science and philosophy first pioneered by Aristotle offers us the best possible tool for understanding the world and ourselves. As Aristotle knew, each mode of thought has the power to clarify the other: science provides facts, and philosophy helps us reflect on the values with which to assess them. But over the centuries, the two have become uncoupled, leaving us with questions—about morality, love, friendship, justice, and politics—that neither field could fully answer on its own. Pigliucci argues that only by rejoining each other can modern science and philosophy reach their full potential, while we harness them to help us reach ours. Pigliucci discusses such essential issues as how to tell right from wrong, the nature of love and friendship, and whether we can really ever know ourselves—all in service of helping us find our path to the best possible life. Combining the two most powerful intellectual traditions in history, Answers for Aristotle is a remarkable guide to discovering what really matters and why.
Massimo Pigliucci is a professor in the philosophy program at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center and was formerly a biology professor at Stony Brook University. He is the author or editor of eight previous books, most recently Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk. He lives in New York City.
[Answers for Aristotle] will make you reflect on both the meaning of science and of your own life.”
[A] careful examination of the surprising connections between science and philosophy .[Answers for Aristotle] is a witty and insightful look at the relevance of philosophy today.”
Bravely renewing the entire Aristotelian project, Pigliucci surveys the latest scientific research in primatology, psychology, and neurobiology, always integrating the researchers’ empirical findings into a meaningful philosophical perspective. This scientific-philosophical (or sci-phi”) perspective opens onto particularly provocative interpretations of human morality .Remarkably versatile....A book sure to spark debate.”
A useful introduction to sources on both sides of the science-philosophy divide.”
Dario Maestripieri, Professor of Comparative Human Development, The University of Chicago, and author of Games Primates Play
Massimo Pigliucci’s beautiful mind and encyclopedic knowledge are on full display in Answers for Aristotle. He is as comfortable discussing quantum physics and cognitive psychology as he is explaining the complexities of evolutionary biology and moral philosophy. Answers for Aristotle is a stimulating, entertaining book that demonstrates that we need both science and philosophy to make sense of who we are and how we live our lives.”
Glenn Branch, Deputy Director, National Center for Science Education
From ethics to epistemology, from the self to the state, from the hormones of love to the heavens above, Massimo Pigliucci’s Answers for Aristotle argues for the mutual relevance of science and philosophy in understanding the world in which we live. Enthusiastic, enlightening, and enthralling.”