What We Are Reading Today: In Search of the Soul by John Cottingham

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Updated 16 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: In Search of the Soul by John Cottingham

The concept of the soul has been a recurring area of exploration since ancient times. 

What do we mean when we talk about finding our soul, how do we know we have one, and does it hold any relevance in today’s scientifically and technologically dominated society? 

From Socrates and Augustine to Darwin and Freud, In Search of the Soul takes readers on a concise, accessible journey into the origins of the soul in Western philosophy and culture, and examines how the idea has developed throughout history to the present, says a review on the Princeton University Press website. 

Touching on literature, music, art, and theology, John Cottingham illustrates how, far from being redundant in contemporary times, the soul attunes us to the importance of meaning and value, and experience and growth. 

A better understanding of the soul might help all of us better understand what it is to be human. Cottingham delves into the evolution of our thoughts about the soul through landmark works—including those of Aristotle, Plato, and Descartes. He considers the nature of consciousness and subjective experience.


What We Are Reading Today: The Muqaddimah

Updated 04 April 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Muqaddimah

Author: Ibn Khaldun

The Muqaddimah, often translated as “Introduction” or “Prolegomenon,” is the most important Islamic history of the premodern world.
Written by the great 14th-century Arab scholar Ibn Khaldun (died 1406), this monumental work established the foundations of several fields of knowledge, including the philosophy of history, sociology, ethnography, and economics.
The first complete English translation by the eminent interpreter of Arabic literature Franz Rosenthal was published in three volumes in 1958 as part of the Bollingen Series and received immediate acclaim in the US and abroad. A one-volume abridged version of Rosenthal’s masterful translation first appeared in 1969.
This Princeton Classics edition of the abridged version includes Rosenthal’s original introduction as well as a contemporary introduction by Bruce B. Lawrence.
This volume makes available a seminal work of Islam and medieval and ancient history to twenty-first century audiences, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.