There Are Two Errors in the the Title of This Book: A Sourcebook of Philosophical Puzzles, Problems, and Paradoxes. Rev. ed.


328 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 1-55111-493-3
DDC 165





Reviewed by Jay Newman

Jay Newman is a professor of philosophy at the University of Guelph. His
most recently published work is Biblical Religion and Family Values: A
Problem in the Philosophy of Culture (2001).


This revised and expanded edition of Robert M. Martin’s engaging and
stimulating collection of philosophical puzzles offers well over a
thousand of these puzzles and also includes suggestions for further
reading, related questions to think about, and brief discussions at the
end of each of the 18 chapters of how the puzzles surveyed in the
chapter relate to issues in the mainstream of classical and contemporary
philosophy. Martin, who has for many years been a philosophy professor
at Dalhousie University, covers problems in a wide range of
philosophical areas, including philosophical theology, probability
theory, decision theory, logic, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and
aesthetics. He includes many of the old chestnuts, such as Zeno’s
paradoxes, the tension between freedom and determinism, William
James’s squirrel problem, the disappearing boat, and the prisoner’s
dilemma; but he goes well beyond these and apparently has been regularly
receiving new problems from colleagues and readers. Martin has a fine
sense of humour—one that will easily be recognizable to many readers
as a variant of “New York humour”—and he is a highly sophisticated
analytical philosopher with an impressive grasp of the general history
of philosophy. The book may now be a little too big, but as a sourcebook
it invites casual intellectual foraging.

Throughout the book, Martin makes a number of brief but important
observations about the nature of philosophy. These
“metaphilosophical” remarks are sometimes more than a bit dogmatic,
but they invite advanced students of philosophy to reflect on issues
regarding the relation of philosophy to cultural forms as diverse as
technology and humour. The book is accessible to some readers who have
not yet studied any philosophy, but some academic philosophical
background will really help here.


Martin, Robert M., “There Are Two Errors in the the Title of This Book: A Sourcebook of Philosophical Puzzles, Problems, and Paradoxes. Rev. ed.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024,