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Sophie's World

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Tonight I was on a Harry Potter forum and someone recommended to me Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder.

From what I've read very briefly about it, it seems interesting enough for me to want to read. I have one more planned book to read, before I purchase this novel. So, I was wondering if anyone has read it, would also recommend it, and so forth.

Edited by intellectualammo

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Tonight I was on a Harry Potter forum and someone recommended to me Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder.

From what I've read very briefly about it, it seems interesting enough for me to want to read. I have one more planned book to read, before I purchase this novel. So, I was wondering if anyone has read it, would also recommend it, and so forth.

I've read it and greatly enjoyed it. I can't speak to its accuracy in the way it relates the philosophies it relates, but it was a very enjoyable and intellectually stimulating read.

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Tonight I was on a Harry Potter forum and someone recommended to me Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder.

From what I've read very briefly about it, it seems interesting enough for me to want to read. I have one more planned book to read, before I purchase this novel. So, I was wondering if anyone has read it, would also recommend it, and so forth.

As a history of philosophy, it was quite an interesting and unusual presentation. But as a novel, I didn't enjoy it as much, because the novel presents the world as though philosophies like Kant's are true. I found it too mystical -- while I love the Harry Potter books, the difference between HP and Sophie's World is that in HP, the "magic" is not really presented in a mystical fashion. The world of Harry Potter is our world, plus an extra *natural* phenomenon -- natural in that magic in the books behaves according to rules and can be harnessed by a thinking person. Sophie's World, while it begins in what looks like our world, is not our world -- as the novel progresses, it becomes clearer and clearer that reality is malleable to whim. That's what I didn't like about it -- it presented a world in which acting rationally would not necessarily get one anywhere.

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while I love the Harry Potter books, the difference between HP and Sophie's World is that in HP, the "magic" is not really presented in a mystical fashion. The world of Harry Potter is our world, plus an extra *natural* phenomenon -- natural in that magic in the books behaves according to rules and can be harnessed by a thinking person.

Yes! I so emphatically agree with you!! But, stellavision, if you get me started on the Potter series, this thread will very quickly turn into a Potter thread! It's happened before.

Sophie's World, while it begins in what looks like our world, is not our world -- as the novel progresses, it becomes clearer and clearer that reality is malleable to whim. That's what I didn't like about it -- it presented a world in which acting rationally would not necessarily get one anywhere.

I thought it was going to a little more like Maugham's Of Human Bondage...in the sense that philosophy is needed in our lives as guides for action, among other things...and that the reader may begin to realize just how practical it is in our lives. I'm still interested in the novel. I may be able to use it to illustrate my points further with the person who has recommened it to me.

Edited by intellectualammo

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So, I was wondering if anyone has read it, would also recommend it, and so forth.

I enjoyed Sophie's World for what it is - a basic introduction to the history of philosophy written for a young teen audience. Philosophers are presented in a chronological order allowing the reader to track the trends of thought as each builds on those who came before.

For a rational child of that age this novel's flawed mystic vibes should be easily recognizable. The child would know it's fiction and could enjoy it on that basis. It would certainly make for some excellent discussions.

Edited by ~Sophia~

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I enjoyed Sophie's World for what it is - a basic introduction to the history of philosophy written for a young teen audience. Philosophers are presented in a chronological order allowing the reader to track the trends of thought as each builds on those who came before.

Yeah, I saw the book was listed in "young adult" somewhere. I also read that is wasn't a very detailed account of the philosophies themselves. Which I'm not implying is a necessarily bad thing, in this case.

For a rational child of that age this novel's flawed mystic vibes should be easily recognizable. The child would know it's fiction and could enjoy it on that basis. It would certainly make for some excellent discussions.

Yes, I was thinking that it had the potential to do so. You mentioned mystic vibes being easily recognizible, easily identified. Just like in Harry Potter, I think that it is extremely important to note just how Hermione treated Divination class, as opposed to her other classes. When she walked out of that class...that was an awesome scene! Even look at how others treat the class and Professor Trelawney. This gives the reader a clear distinction that even though they use magic, which really isn't magic in our sense of magic, she still rejects anything and everything mystical, that which is not grounded in their reality.

I have not met a single person who has actually read any of the HP books and rejects them because of the use of magic in them...further showing how easily recognizable and easily identifiable it is to readers that this element is not mystical in their world as it is so in ours.

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For a rational child of that age this novel's flawed mystic vibes should be easily recognizable. The child would know it's fiction and could enjoy it on that basis. It would certainly make for some excellent discussions.

I'm not 100% sure that a child of 12 or so would read the book and think, "That's silly, of course we're not just a dream." The child of the novel, after all, accepts the irrational ideas of many of the philosophers that are presented to her without a great deal of criticism. I wonder if a 12-year-old might not think, "Well, I've never seen a talking dog or seen my reflection wink with both eyes, but the whole idea that this world is a figment of someone's imagination -- maybe that IS possible" -- and the child would not have the intellectual ammunition against this idea. Which, as you said, would make for some excellent discussions -- so I wouldn't just hand the book to a child to read, without talking to the child about it as s/he is reading it.

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I'm not 100% sure that a child of 12 or so would read the book and think, "That's silly, of course we're not just a dream." The child of the novel, after all, accepts the irrational ideas of many of the philosophers that are presented to her without a great deal of criticism. I wonder if a 12-year-old might not think, "Well, I've never seen a talking dog or seen my reflection wink with both eyes, but the whole idea that this world is a figment of someone's imagination -- maybe that IS possible" -- and the child would not have the intellectual ammunition against this idea. Which, as you said, would make for some excellent discussions -- so I wouldn't just hand the book to a child to read, without talking to the child about it as s/he is reading it.

I read it around 10 or 11 and found the whole "figment of imagination" and

characters escaping books into reality

ideas absurd.

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I'm not 100% sure that a child of 12 or so would read the book and think, "That's silly, of course we're not just a dream." The child of the novel, after all, accepts the irrational ideas of many of the philosophers that are presented to her without a great deal of criticism. I wonder if a 12-year-old might not think, "Well, I've never seen a talking dog or seen my reflection wink with both eyes, but the whole idea that this world is a figment of someone's imagination -- maybe that IS possible" -- and the child would not have the intellectual ammunition against this idea. Which, as you said, would make for some excellent discussions -- so I wouldn't just hand the book to a child to read, without talking to the child about it as s/he is reading it.

The lesson about mysticism, the distinction between fantasy vs. reality (primacy of conciousness vs. primacy of existance, thoughts by themselves don't shape matter and so on) comes up much earlier in child's development, even before the age 4.

Edited by ~Sophia~

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As a history of philosophy, it was quite an interesting and unusual presentation.

Indeed. I just began reading the novel. It seems like both "fiction" and "non-fiction" are so woven into the fabric of it's pages, that the pattern it creates, is very unique...esp. for a history of philosophy.

I particularly thought that the chapter on Aristotle was well written.

Even the way Alberto mentions democracy...:

But this form also has its negative aspect. A democracy can quickly develop into mob rule. (Even if the tyrannic Hitler had not become head of state in Germany, all the lesser Nazis could have formed a terrifying mob rule.)p.116

...and even the way he mentions the parallel between Socrates and Jesus, and Socrates and Plato's cave...was also worth reading.

I've learned a few things already...connections I hadn't made.

Edited by intellectualammo

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