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inquiry, we need to put ourselves in Sophie's world.” —Boston —USA Today. “ In the adroit hands of Jostein Gaarder, the whole sweep of. USA Today “In the adroit hands of Jostein Gaarder, the whole sweep of three SOPHIE'S WORLD A Berkley Book / published by arrangement with Farrar. "In the adroit hands of Jostein Gaarder, the whole sweep of three millennia of The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama.

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Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy (FSG Classics is not only a mystery, but also a complete and entertaining history of philosophy. “ This book contains a novel mantra for those days when the world gets in your face. Sophie's World spent three years as the best selling book in Norway. . Berkeley is most important to Sophie because he suggested that perhaps our entire lives. Read story Sophie's World - JOSTIEN GAARDER by jetzee with reads. jostien, This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part.

Many times what people prize in book as in other forms of entertainment is the ability to get lost in them. Gaarder constantly reminds us that we are reading a book about characters in a book a girl is reading. Besides the humorous irony that comes from such reminders, we are also forced to take the ideas of the novel seriously.

Sophie's World

The book itself insists that we must question what we read and attempt to better understand what Sophie and Hilde struggle with so that we can make philosophy personally relevant. In fact, dreams are used quite effectively to question our sense of reality.

Sophie obtains items that belong to Hilde in he dreams. However, the fact that Hilde cannot find the items that Sophie comes across suggests that strange things are happening. Hilde dreams that Sophie speaks to her before her father comes home and at the end of the book that is exactly what happens. Alberto also tells Sophie and therefore Albert tells Hilde about Freud and theories of dreams as wish fulfillment and links to the unconscious.

As a literary device, the dreams in the book provide foreshadowing. However, their role is greater than simply to alert the reader to future occurrences.

The dreams themselves bring into question our free will and our possibilities of understanding the world. He is intelligent and demanding, yet concerned with the understanding of his pupil. Furthermore, what he teaches has great personal relevance and he tries to inspire this same feeling in Sophie.

Of course, Alberto and Sophie are actually able to answer part of the question regarding their existence and so philosophy has a more direct import for them. However, Albert uses Alberto to teach Hilde and he is inspiring to her as well. Alberto also makes Sophie come to many of her own conclusions, rather than thinking for her.

Such an interactive method of learning seems critical for philosophy, something that we need to be able to do on our own and all the time. She thinks about everything that Sophie is learning and applies it to her own existence. Hilde does not simply agree with Sophie or Alberto but takes their thoughts and uses them to come up with her own insights. She thinks philosophically and critically. Furthermore, Hilde questions the text itself. She wonders why her father does some of the things that he does.

It is important not to be indoctrinated. Descartes decided all of the learning passed down from the Middle Ages was worthless. We must likewise decide what to take from a book and what to disagree with.

Gaarder wants us to question above all else and Hilde does this. The difference between her lessons with Alberto and her attitude towards school is marked and telling.

School is an attempt to teach us things that will be valuable to us in life, but it is not always successful. There are some things in school that will not be very helpful to us. Sophie is eager to learn but she also can tell what resonates with her and what does not.

She understands the relevance of philosophy and after her time with Alberto she is clearly a philosopher of her own accord. But our lifestyles and the societies we live in often take us away from philosophical reasoning, even if as children we are very close to it.

Therefore we need to be good learners and students so that we can seize the opportunity to become philosophers should it come our way. It is addressed to her, without a stamp, and it contains only a question—"Who are you? She wonders whether her name matters much, whether her physical appearance makes her who she is.

Then Sophie thinks about the fact that contemplating life leads inexorably to thinking of death, and vice versa. She returns to the mailbox and finds another letter, with the question "Where does the world come from?

Sophie realizes it is a legitimate question and goes to the den, her outdoor hiding place, to ponder. She thinks about the fact that the world is part of the universe, and that that must have come from somewhere.

But that means that something must have come from nothing, which she cannot accept. Equally poor is the possibility that the universe has always existed. Even if God created the universe, he himself must have come from somewhere. Then, when Sophie gets the mail, she receives a mysterious postcard. The Top Hat Sophie tells no one about the strange letters, and is uninterested in playing with her friend Joanna the next day.

After school she rushes home and finds a letter written to her. It contains three pages describing philosophy. The letter suggests that what is most important in life is philosophizing—attempting to understand ourselves and our role in the world. There are not many philosophical questions, but there are many ways to answer each one.

Life itself is like a magic trick, and philosophers must always observe it with wonder. After reading the letter, Sophie goes back to the mailbox and finds another one, which stresses the fact that all that is required to be a philosopher is the capacity for wonder. Summary and Analysis 15 but most people become inured to life and no longer find it wonderful.

Philosophers are different from others, and the philosopher writing the letters wants Sophie to never lose her sense of wonder. The letters will comprise a philosophy course for her to take. Sophie tries to have a philosophical discussion that night with her mother, but it only leads to her mother wondering if Sophie has begun taking drugs. The Myths A day later, after school, Sophie finds a letter from her dad, working far away, and then another on philosophy.

This letter describes the situation leading up to the beginning of western philosophy. Before the Greek philosophers, people explained life through myths— stories about the gods. But the early Greek philosophers questioned the myths and began looking for other explanations for why the world is the way it is.

Sophie thinks about this and realizes that making up stories to explain the workings of nature is not so far-fetched, for she would do the same if she did not already have other explanations. Analysis The first questions that Sophie receives make her think about who she is and where the world came from.

These questions are easy to ask and almost impossible to answer, but what is most amazing of all is that people stop asking them.

Sophie realizes that she has never really thought about these things before, and when she does she understands that nothing could be more important. It seems that knowing who we really are is necessary for our lives to have meaning and import. Beyond that, we live in the world, and are in constant interaction with nature, yet most people take that interaction for granted and do not stop to consider how the world itself came about.

As little children we are tremendously inquisitive, and we wonder about everything, but as life goes on we begin to take certain things for granted even though we do not understand them. Sophie is warned not to let this happen to herself, and when she talks with her mother she realizes that most adults not only do not ask themselves these questions, they think doing so is absurd.

But Sophie is taking the course seriously, and she ponders everything that she reads. Although she is not sure of exactly who she is or where the world came from, Sophie is aware of the difficulties inherent in attempting to answer such questions and also the importance of asking them. What is most important in life is asking these philosophical questions and most people do not ask them. In fact, a philosopher has more in common with a child than with most adults. Gaarder seems to think that most people live their lives without actually partaking in the most important part of living.

It is thinking that is critical, and not just thinking about practical, everyday affairs. We need to think about life itself, to ask why about everything that we normally take for granted. Summary and Analysis 16 Sophie learns that before people started turning to other types of explanations, they made up myths to explain what they could not understand. After reading about this, she thinks that she probably would have done the same thing—when things seem to happen of their own accord it is easy for us to believe that there is some higher power behind their actions.

But what is important is to attempt to explain things using our reason rather than making up stories. With our reason we may be able to actually gain an understanding of the world, whereas the myths simply transfer the uncertainty elsewhere. Sophie realizes that the suggestion that God created the world does not really answer anything.

Although for some it might solve the issue of where the world came from, Sophie understands that one could simply ask where God came from, and we would be back to the same problem. The philosophical questions are not to be escaped through easy answers but rather to be struggled through, and the implication is that a good life is one that constantly involves battling these issues. Since it has no stamp, she thinks it is a love letter, and Sophie lets her think that in order to maintain her privacy.

Inside it are three more philosophical questions, and Sophie puzzles over them for a day before she receives the next package. The letter tells her that her philosophy course will go from ancient Greece up to the present moment. It also points out that it is very important when assessing each philosopher to understand what his project was—what questions he was attempting to answer. Sophie learns that the ancient Greeks believed the world was eternal, and so they did not ask about where it came from but rather were interested in the question of change.

The natural philosophers believed that there was one substance that all things were made of. Some thought it was water, others air, but they were all left with the problem of how changes occurred.

Parmenides believed that nothing actually changed, and he held to his reason despite the evidence of his senses, making him the first rationalist. Heraclitus believed in his senses and felt that nothing stayed the same. But Empedocles resolved this problem by suggesting that there were four basic substances and that all changes are the result of intermingling of the four. He also makes a distinction between "substance" and "force", something that scientists still do today. Anaxagoras, from Athens, believed nature was made up of infinitesimal particles but that each one contained Copyright by SparkNotes LLC.

Summary and Analysis 17 part of everything. Sophie thinks about all of this and concludes that one cannot learn philosophy; one can only learn how to think like a philosopher. Democritus After reading the last packet, Sophie finds another white envelope in the mailbox.

It asks only why the Lego is "the most ingenious toy in the world. She learns that physicists today still believe that there is some smallest particle in the physical world. Sophie is amazed by the fact that Democritus managed to use the philosophers before him to come up with a new theory. Fate Sophie finds another envelope with three new questions on it, and she decides to send a note of her own.

She writes a letter to whomever it is who is teaching her philosophy, inviting that person to coffee. She leaves it in the mailbox and then goes upstairs to go to bed. Just before falling asleep, she thinks she sees a man in a beret come to the mailbox, put something in, and take out her letter.

Sophie goes and gets the envelope and learns that the ancient Greeks were fatalists—they believed that everything in life was predetermined. However, the historians Herodotus and Thucydides and the doctor Hippocrates began to look for naturalistic explanations for the events that occur in life.

The next day is Saturday, and when Sophie wakes up, she finds a scarf with the name Hilde on it. Analysis The debates over the substance that the Greek philosophers believed made up the world are very instructive for Sophie. With Parmenides comes rationalist thought, the concept that what we perceive through our senses may be flawed, but we can trust in our reason. Although we do not deny the changes that we see occurring all around us, it often seems that things remain the same.

Heraclitus, on the other hand, believes that we can only know what we perceive, and since our senses tell us that things are in a constant state of change, they therefore must be changing.

The debate of whether to trust our reason or to trust our senses is one that people deal with frequently. It is fairly common for someone to not completely believe what she has seen because it goes against her reason or common sense.

Summary and Analysis 18 attempting to explain the way the world must be based upon what we can perceive of it, and this is extremely important. Although we could live without thinking about these sorts of questions, the very questions themselves and the answers that we pose to them determine precisely what the very act of living means. Sophie finds that everything she learns seems to make sense to her, and, moreover, to be extremely applicable to life. Philosophy is not an activity that takes place outside of everyday life; Gaarder says that nothing could be more relevant to the way we live than philosophy.

Scientific understanding is generally regarded as telling us about the world, and since philosophy has informed our scientific understanding it suggests that what we discover through philosophical thinking may go beyond our relationship with the world to the actual features of the world itself. The fatalism of the ancient Greeks fits in well with the mythological picture of the world.

Sophie learns that philosophy builds upon itself, each new philosopher moving from the conclusions of those before him. Socrates, Athens, and Plato Summary Socrates Sophie goes into her hiding place and finds another letter there. It is a response to her own, and she learns that Alberto Knox is the name of the philosopher who is communicating with her and that he will send his letters via a messenger. He also mentions that she may come across a silk scarf that belongs to someone else and that she should take care of it.

Sophie is bewildered because the letter was delivered directly to a secret spot and she cannot Copyright by SparkNotes LLC.

Sophie learns about skepticism, the belief that we cannot have true knowledge about the world, practiced by the Stoics in Athens. Then she learns of Socrates, who lived in Athens and spent his time conversing with people throughout the city.

What we know of him comes from the writings of his pupil, Plato. Socrates would ask questions in an attempt to get people to come to proper philosophical conclusions on their own. He was considered subversive and condemned to die, and, rather than appeal for mercy or flee Socrates drank hemlock and died. Socrates believed in principles that he upheld.

He knew that he did not know very much, and this made him much smarter than other people. Socrates had faith in human reason and believed that people were only happy when they acted according to their reason.

Therefore, if someone knows what the right thing to do is in a situation she will do it, because it will make her happy. Socrates did not believe that people would deliberately act in a way to make themselves unhappy. Sophie gets into another discussion with her mother after reading the letter, but her mother seems quite unreceptive to these ideas. Athens Sophie receives a videotape that evening and she is amazed to see that it contains Alberto in Athens.

He tells her all about the way the city used to be and how Socrates would talk to people who went by, and then, somehow, he takes her back to ancient Athens. Alberto speaks to Socrates and Plato, and then Plato gives her a few questions to think about. Sophie is astounded by the videotape and cannot figure out what is going on. Plato The next day, Sophie thinks about the questions that Plato gave her, and when she receives a letter describing his philosophy, she learns that they are central to his thought.

Plato set up a school, called the Academy, and much of his work is preserved. He believed that everything in nature changes, but that there is an eternal world of ideas outside of the natural world. Plato thought that each thing that we see is an approximation of some perfect idea that exists somewhere else. We cannot have true knowledge about things that change, so we cannot actually know the real world, but we can have true knowledge about things that we perceive through our reason.

Thus Plato was very fond of mathematics, because it involves solely the use of reason. Plato believed that people were made up of a body that is a part of the natural world but also an immortal soul that is in contact with the world of ideas. When we are born, our soul no longer has the knowledge of that world, but through experience we jog its memory and recollect the true and perfect ideas.

Plato suggested a few ways of ordering human civilization, based upon ruling through reason, and he believed that women were just as capable of reasoning as men. Summary and Analysis 20 Analysis The philosopher presents Socrates as a man of principle, because he was willing to die for what he believed in.

However, what is interesting is that Socrates was killed by his own state. Although he stood for the use of human reason, some people found him so subversive to their own aims that they had him killed.

But the murder of a man who simply asked questions demonstrates that Athens, although a center of learning, attempted to control the thoughts of its citizens. Philosophers and intellectuals of the past two thousand years have perceived Socrates as a great and noble thinker, but in his own time, this was not the common perception.

If, as Alberto Knox suggests to Sophie, it is the nature of a philosopher to question the thoughts and actions of his contemporaries and to challenge the status quo, then they will always face persecution. Some states will take action against criticism, because many political systems do not allow themselves to be critiqued. Therefore, the philosopher in reality has two roles to play.

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One of them involves the individual use of reason to look at the great questions that will always be out there. The second role involves interaction with others in order to attempt to get other people to think beyond the routines of their daily lives and contemplate the questions we cannot answer. The second role can be dangerous, because both the government as well as the people themselves may not want to hear what a philosopher has to say. Plato returns to the idea of change. Socrates was concerned with moral philosophy and human interaction, and Plato attempted to unify a theory of the natural world with one of humanity.

Alberto teaches Sophie about each philosopher, and he does so in a chronological manner, but she still takes the philosophy of each as a separate entity.

Philosophy definitely builds upon itself, but it is important not to forget that each philosopher is an individual thinker capable of coming up with unique ideas.

Plato would not have been the great philosopher that he was if he had not been taught by Socrates, but his education did not make his ideas inevitable.

The history of philosophy that Sophie learns about is not necessarily an additive history. Thinkers use and respond to the ideas of those before them, but this does not mean they are following some necessary progression in the history of thought.

She comes upon a little lake and sees a red cabin on the other side of it. Without knowing why, Sophie uses the little rowboat at the shore to go over to the cabin. She knocks, and then enters, and inside she sees paintings entitled "Berkeley" and "Bjerkely. She looks at herself in a mirror and thinks that her image blinks back at her. She runs away when she hears Hermes barking, and she cannot row back across because the boat slid down the bank into the middle of the lake.

Sophie reads the questions in the letter, but does not think much about them because she has to explain to her mother what happened without getting her mother too worried.

She explains everything away without mentioning Alberto and convinces her mother that she does not have a boyfriend. Sophie writes the philosopher a letter, apologizing for her actions, and then thinks about the questions he gave her.

Then she talks with her mother, who feels she is growing up very fast and is surprised to learn that Sophie is not excited about her approaching fifteenth birthday. Aristotle Later that afternoon, Sophie receives a package containing information on Aristotle, plus a small note saying that Alberto is not upset with her but that he will have to move. Therefore, that eternal idea is in our minds but it comes from the natural world.

He did not think there was any reality beyond what we could perceive. Aristotle felt we have innate reason, but not innate ideas. Things have a substance and a form, and the former describes their physical characteristics while the latter describe their limitations or possibilities.

Aristotle believed in different types of causality, one of which was "final" cause, the purpose that he assigned to everything in nature. For example, it rains "because plants and animals need rainwater in order to grow.

Aristotle sees man at the top of nature followed by animals and then plants, and God to him is the force that set the stars in motion.

Summary and Analysis 22 monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy were good forms of government but warned against the dangers of each. Unlike Plato, he viewed women as "unfinished men.

Then she has another discussion with her mother, who thinks her daughter is growing stranger and stranger. Her sensory experiences—the postcards sent to Hilde, the mirror that blinked at her—are in direct conflict with what her reason tells her could be possible. Everyone faces this sort of conflict, but for Sophie it has become critical.

If she really did see herself blink, then either reason cannot be trusted or the senses cannot be trusted. Aristotle provides a good example of the advantage that we have when studying a philosopher who wrote many years ago.

His idea of final cause, for example, modern science would completely disagree with. However, in biology we have taxonomies. The forms of government he discusses have all been tried and it is still unclear which is the best form. It is somewhat incredible that his ideas have survived for over two thousand years. There are different degrees to which a philosopher can be wrong. So in a way we can rectify what we disagree with without disturbing what we still agree with.

Although her mother is not very philosophically inclined, she is a good mother who wants her daughter to be happy. Whenever Sophie tries to introduce her mother to some sort of philosophical idea, her mother begins to worry about Sophie.

He says he is sure she knows now why the postcards must be sent through Sophie and also promises to reimburse her for the loss of her wallet. Sophie runs back home and finds that the other postcard was also postmarked June She cannot understand what is going on but only knows that something is very wrong.

Sophie runs to meet Joanna, who impatiently awaits her. At school there is a test in Religious Knowledge, and Sophie answers all of the questions extremely well using her philosophy knowledge.

However, she does not refer to any of the homework assignments in the class, since she had not done them. The teacher tells her she must do her homework in the future but is satisfied with her test. After school, Sophie gets a package from Alberto on Hellenism, a period of several hundred years after Aristotle when Greek culture spread throughout many areas.

As borders broke down between societies, religious beliefs mixed together. Also, people began to feel a sense of decline in the world.

Philosophy became concerned with the way in which people can live a good life, and became intertwined with religion. Alberto describes the Cynics, who believed that happiness had nothing to do with material goods. The Stoics, who came after the Cynics, believed that there was a universal natural law that "governed all mankind. The Epicureans were less interested in political affairs and felt that pleasure should be sought in life.

But any particular act must be considered in terms of the pleasure it will bring compared to what else it will do. Plotinus, most famous of the Neoplatonists, believed that the world is characterized by opposite poles. One pole is light, called the One, or God.

The other pole is darkness, but it is defined solely by an absence of light.

Some of the light is inside of the human soul, and so we are all a part of the One. Sophie learns about mystics, who believe in personal experiences in which they lose themselves within a supreme being. Sophie has a mystical experience after reading the letter, and she feels she is a part of a greater cosmos. Summary and Analysis 24 and inside it they find postcards.

All of them are postmarked from Lebanon and addressed to Hilde, care of Alberto. They are all from her father, and the last one tells Hilde to be prepared to meet Sophie, who will probably begin to figure things out. It also mentions Joanna. It is postmarked May 16th. The two girls are very scared, and Sophie takes the mirror back with her. The next morning she finds a new package. Analysis Gaarder suggests that although we learn many things in school, the use of our common sense is not necessarily one of them.

Sophie has not done her homework for her Religious Knowledge test, but she managed to answer each of the questions very well using her reason. The philosophy course has taught her that she can think a question through and come up with a good answer to with nothing more than common sense.

Furthermore, there is nothing more important to us than the ability to use that reason. Unlike factual knowledge, our reason can be applied to anything.

The implication seems to be that learning how to think is much more critical to success than learning any specific set of facts. Sophie is told to do her homework in the future, an important injunction; reason informed by facts will do better than reason alone. For example, it would be very difficult to simply reason out the chemical structure of a compound.

On the other hand, knowing the chemical structures for a certain set of compounds is not useful unless they are used reasonably.

Sophie's World A Novel About the Histor

Sophie feels that she is learning a whole lot more with Alberto than in school, and she may be right, but it is not only how to use reason that Alberto teaches her. Alberto uses factual, historical examples to give Sophie a knowledge base and then she must reason out the philosophies on her own.

To memorize what Plato said means little compared to actually thinking about his ideas and coming to an understanding of them.

He explains that he left the postcards to Hilde in the cabin because he thought she would return, and he also refers to June 15th in a way that makes it seem as if it will be a special day. He says they will meet soon. His letter is about Jesus of Nazareth. Alberto starts by explaining that the Greeks and Romans are a part of Indo-European culture, while the Jews belong to Semitic culture.

Summary and Analysis 25 belief in many gods—pantheism. Similar ideas popped up in many different Indo-European languages, and were expressed by words that resembled each other greatly. Sight was the most important of the senses for Indo-European culture.

The Semites, on the other hand, are characterized by monotheism, the belief in one god. Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are all Semitic religions. But Christianity complicates things, because it spread throughout Indo-European cultures and incorporated many features of those cultures. Sophie learns the historical context leading up to Jesus—the fact that for almost a thousand years before his birth Jews in Israel prophesied a Messiah.

Jesus comes as the Messiah, not only to the people of Israel, but for all mankind. He showed that one could not earn salvation but that God is merciful and will forgive all who ask for forgiveness. Sophie learns about Paul, who converted to Christianity and then spread it to many places, including Athens.

Alberto tells Sophie he wants her to be aware of her historical roots and Sophie realizes that such knowledge will greatly enrich her. It dates from June 15th, and he tells Hilde he hopes it is still her birthday, and that a "week or two for Sophie does not have to mean just as long for us.

Although she does not understand him, he says Berkeley will be the key figure and that they must get Hilde on their side before her father returns. The next morning, she meets Alberto at a church where he tells her about the ten centuries of the Middle Ages. Although people in the Renaissance called this time the Dark Ages, Alberto points out that universities and schools were established in the Middle Ages.

In addition, nation-states became established, with their major cities. There was a period of cultural and population decline, as feudalism set in and bartering once again became the form of payment.

But the Pope was set up as head of the Church, and kings began to become very powerful. Greco-Roman culture split up and then came together again in the Renaissance. He went out of his way to unite Greek and Jewish thought. His great book was called theCity of God and he suggested that salvation came only through the Church.

Thomas Aquinas brought Aristotle into the Christian religion and he tried to show that reason and faith do not come into conflict. She also learns that one of the female philosophers at this time was named Hildegard, who had a vision in which she saw Sophia, the female side of God. Many questions remain: Neither of these questions are answered, and the mystery of Hilde seems to grow larger. Alberto makes some vague references to something that Sophie does not understand, but it is clear that he knows more than she does and that he is not happy with the situation.

Gaarder uses an interesting technique to add to the suspense. At the end of the chapter about the postcards things seem to rapidly be spinning out of control.

Yet in the first few sentences of the next chapter Alberto takes the responsibility for the postcards. Furthermore, that encounter will focus on the philosophy of Berkeley, someone Sophie and therefore the reader does not even know about.

By periodically making it appear as if some of the tension in the plot is not really as critical as it is, Gaarder manages to carry the story at a high level of tension for many chapters without making the reader feel that things have been drawn out too long. Also, the fact that we know that Alberto is teaching Sophie philosophy in chronolog- ical order combined with his certainty that Berkeley is a key figure is a way to make the teaching of the philosophy even more central.

We know that Sophie must learn at least all of the way up through Berkeley. But since Sophie learns the philosophy in a manner that makes it accessible to all of us, this ensures that the reader will learn the philosophy and believe it critical to do so.

For the first several chapters it is enough that the philosophy is transmitted to Sophie through mysterious means and by a mysterious person. However, since there is still much more philosophy to come, it is necessary to link the philosophy lessons inextricably to the plot. We know that Sophie cannot skip ahead to Berkeley because she must get to him with knowledge of the historical and philosophical context behind him.

Suddenly it is not only interesting that Sophie receives strange philosophy lessons—it is urgent that she do so. In the dream she finds a gold crucifix and when she wakes up it is under her pillow.

The next morning Hermes comes and guides Sophie to Alberto. Just before going inside she finds a postcard addressed to Hilde from her father, postmarked on June Then he tells her about the Renaissance. It was a time characterized by a belief in humanity, with a focus on the individual.

All cultural life flourished, and Rome was rebuilt. People felt that God was present throughout nature, a belief called pantheism. The idea of an empirical method was born in the Renaissance, and it resulted in an emphasis on investigation and experimentation. The practical value of scientific knowledge became important, and led to scientific innovation that has continued to the present day. The innovations have been both good and bad, but there is no way to return to the days before such inventions.

The heavenly spheres were no longer heavenly and the same law of gravity applied throughout the universe.

Earth could no longer be viewed as holding a particularly special place in the universe. She asks if she is Hilde but he avoids her question. Sophie realizes she has no money but then finds ten crowns, exactly the amount she needs to get on the bus.

She wonders how it got there, and why. Her mother tries to find out what is wrong, and they get into an argument that resolves nothing. Sophie finally explains to her mother about Alberto and the philosophy course, although she does not mention Hilde. In school on Thursday Sophie gets handed back an exam that she did very well on, and a postcard falls out of her booklet. He also tells her he is glad that she has lost nothing lately except for ten crowns and that he will try to help her find even that.

At the spot where she found the ten crowns, Sophie finds another postcard. Alberto gets angry over the card and then describes the Baroque, a period of many wars and a concern with the fleeting nature of life. People believed life was like a theater. Philosophy was characterized by conflict between idealism, the belief that existence is spiritual, and materialism, the belief that only material phenomena really exist. Everything that he has done suggests that he is some sort of a deity.

However, the explanation that he is a god does not seem plausible. If that were true, then it seems unlikely that he would bother to torment Sophie and Alberto in such devious ways. The problem is that we cannot possibly reason out the events that have taken place. Yet, since everything is surrounded by philosophy, there is a certainty that there must be some sort of philosophical explanation.

The novel stays focused on the key philosophical questions that were introduced at the beginning of the novel—who are you? Sophie and Alberto have covered around two millennia of philosophical thought, but they have never come upon a satisfactory answer to the major questions. Thus Alberto and Sophie study each new philosopher with similar questions and mind, and the reader in turn is forced to look at each one without taking anything for granted. Philosophy then is not necessarily viewed as progressive, as science often is, but rather as a continual attempt to offer answers to questions that have always troubled humanity.

In fact, Gaarder has found a way to place a clear distinction between philosophy and science. We generally trace the roots of Western science back to ancient Greek thought and tend to view things as adding up cumulatively from then. Not much advance occurred during the Middle Ages and then with the Renaissance and the empirical method science really took off.

Summary and Analysis 29 to suggest that philosophy, although in the west it starts from the same roots, asks questions that science cannot answer. Some philosophical questions have been answered by science, but it is possible that there are some that science will not be able to touch, and these are the questions that the book is most concerned with. Although philosophy has progressed, in the sense that each new philosopher has taken into account the arguments of the preceding ones, the same questions persist throughout the history of philosophy.

Philosophy is a continual task for humanity. It is the asking of questions that may not be answerable in an attempt to better understand our existence. And the literal importance that it has for Sophie and Alberto can be taken as a metaphor for just how critical it is for everyone.

Descartes decid- ed, much like Socrates, that he did not know very much.

He doubted the many philosophical works that had been handed through the Middle Ages and he set out to build his own philo- sophical system.

As rendered by his translator, Paulette Moller, the novel's style is sturdy and unsubtle, plain as a box. The characters made to fit inside the box are tissue thin. Moreover, there is enough about the wonder and magic of philosophy in "Sophie's World" to make some readers reach for their guns. The meat of the book -- its account of Western philosophical thought -- ranges in quality from philoso-Disney to a series of accurate and intelligent precis.

Alberto the philosopher is a kind of latter-day Mr. Wizard; whether we swallow his generously sweetened bait and become hooked on philosophy depends on the philosophy being expounded.

On Spinoza and Hume he is superb, but when he gets to Romanticism we see the supermarket encyclopedias lying open before his hidden God, Mr. I read natural science," he revealed on a visit to Dublin. The year-old, who spawned a publishing sensation when his novel, subtitled An Adventure in Philosophy, was translated into English a decade ago, is now perhaps most comfortable with the tag "environmentalist". Of course, he still writes books. His latest novel, The Orange Girl, has gone global, and he is a planning an anthology of his work for But he is at his most animated when talking about climate change, and how world opinion on the matter has been "spat on" by the United States.

That's good," he says. We have a cultural inheritance. But we also have a biological, or genetic, inheritance. It's very possible that in hundreds of years there will be no life anymore. I am more worried about that than about the lack of translations of Plato's dialogues. Has he undergone a latter-day conversion, prompted by ageing he has recently become a grandfather , or perhaps guilt?

He shakes his head. I was like a. Where did I find consolation? I am part of the universe.He believed that nothing less than our existence is at stake. She learns that physicists today still believe that there is some smallest particle in the physical world. He was considered subversive and condemned to die, and, rather than appeal for mercy or flee Socrates drank hemlock and died. Sophie loses interest in school while she is taking the philosophy course and Hilde skips school on her birthday to read the book.

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The philosophical question remains the same either way.

RONI from Berkeley
I do fancy reading novels properly. Look through my other posts. I have always been a very creative person and find it relaxing to indulge in matball.