'The One Minute Philosopher' by Montague Brown

'The One Minute Philosopher' by Montague Brown

Catherine Sheehan

(Sophia Institute Press, 2001, 207pp, hardback, $39.95. Available from AD Books)

In today's world we are faced with a torrent of rhetoric from politicians, academics and the media. The Catholic faith is constantly coming under fire from different sections of society and for a variety of reasons. It is therefore important that we have a precise understanding of the terms that are used in order to make our own decisions and to put forward our own point of view and beliefs.

Often two words are thought to have similar meanings. Sometimes we know they are two quite different concepts yet it is difficult to articulate why this is the case. For example, what are the differences between "power" and "authority", "happiness" and "pleasure", "individualism" and "egoism" or "impartiality" and "indifference"? The list goes on and on.

The One Minute Philosopher is a collection of such terms. Listed alphabetically, each term is coupled with another term that is often confused as meaning the same thing or something similar.

Each concept has a one-sentence definition followed by a brief three-paragraph explanation using simple and clear language. There are also quotes from several different well-known people in relation to the topic and a short question for readers, to apply the concept in question to their own life experiences.

The One Minute Philosopher is an invaluable tool for anyone studying philosophy, as a concise understanding of words is vital to formulating arguments, which is the basis of philosophy.

In defending or explaining the faith to others this book would be extremely helpful. Misunderstandings often occur because we are unable to explain what we mean sufficiently or quickly enough when someone challenges our beliefs.

It is also a valuable resource for students, teachers, and basically anyone who would like to have a clearer understanding of the meaning of the terms often used in everyday conversations and discussions.

Catherine Sheehan is a Melbourne Catholic writer.

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