For those who enjoy contemplating some of life’s biggest mysteries and reflecting on some interesting philosophical questions, ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Reality’ offers a broad range of discussion points and solutions which have the potential to alter your view of the world.
The book is broken into three parts, ‘Social Reality, or Is Money Real?’, ‘The Doors of Perception, or Are Colours Real?’, and ‘Physical Reality, or Are Photons Real?’ To address these issues Baggott adopts a conversational tone and uses plenty of relevant examples to effectively translate ‘big picture’ concepts into more readily digestible pieces.
While references to the expected philosophical greats such as Kant and Plato are present, Baggott also draws on popular culture, scientific research and current social events to help ensure explanations are easily understood by readers. References include everything from movies (such as Memento, Matrix and Blade runner), books (such as Alice in Wonderland, and The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), to people (like Niels Bohr, Bill Clinton, Albert Einstein and JRR Tolkien).
The first two parts of the book are easier going than the last part. This is due more to the content of this third part rather than because of any fault with the writing. While the book is not necessarily a quick read, given that any type of philosophical contemplation requires time for concepts to be understood and absorbed, the time taken is well worth the effort.
To assist readers with their reflection, Baggott breaks down concepts as much as possible, though thankfully avoiding the need to resort to condescension or oversimplification. Apart from what ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Reality’ offers in its own right, it is a book which also provides a good starting point for readers to take on further philosophical explorations.