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We cannot escape from philosophy because we philosophise when we reflect critically on how we are living and the study of living, suitably elaborated, is philosophy. Philosophies embody ideas of considerable force and fascination which can change lives. To live a philosophy we need to penetrate the illusions of appearance and the delusions of common sense by which life misleads us. Because philosophy is thinking about thinking it is a subversive and liberating activity. It is subversive because philosophers are never satisfied with final answers. It is liberating because philosophers confront us with our prejudices. Socrates, Plato, Diogenes, Epictetus, Machiavelli, Descartes, Hume, Voltaire, Rousseau, Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Beauvoir, Camus and others discussed here aim not merely to communicate information but challenge readers with striking ideas and to arouse curiosity, not to satisfy it.

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