Christmas : Better Than a Lump of Coal

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From Santa, elves and Ebenezer Scrooge, to the culture wars and virgin birth, Christmas - Philosophy for Everyone explores a host of philosophical issues raised by the practices and beliefs surrounding Christmas. * Offers thoughtful and humorous philosophical insights into the most widely celebrated holiday in the Western world * Contributions come from a wide range of disciplines, including philosophy, theology, religious studies, English literature, cognitive science and moral psychology * The essays cover a wide range of Christmas themes, from a defence of the miracle of the virgin birth to the relevance of Christmas to atheists and pagans

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  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 149.86 x 228.6 x 20.32mm | 385.55g
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • Wiley-Blackwell (an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Ltd)
  • ChicesterUnited Kingdom
  • English
  • New.
  • 144433090X
  • 9781444330908
  • 1,908,589

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Author Information

Scott C. Lowe is professor of Philosophy and chair of the Department of Philosophy at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. His current interest is in the political philosophy of Richard Rorty. He is the editor, along with Steven Hales, of Delight in Thinking: An Introduction to Philosophy Reader (2006).

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Review quote

"'Philosophy' here means not the serious study of logic, metaphysics, and so on, but something closer to 'a collection of interesting ideas and arguments', an eclectic amalgam of popular psychology, sociology and morality ... Be irenic by all means, but to allow your opponent to win before you have even begun is to eviscerate the arguments and discussion that are the very reason for this book." (New Directions, 1 December 2011) "For those more philosophically trained or inclined, the utilization of these philosophical works within the context of the great Christmas debate provide an alternative dimension into classic philosophical arguments of ethics and sociological structures, not typically revealed in academic literature." (Metapsychology, 30 September 2011) "Wickedly humorous and innovative philosophical insights in a range of essays on Christmas themes make you think more than twice about the most widely celebrated holiday in the Western world." (, December 2010)"Still, it contains several thoughtful and bruising entries, the perfect mix for this time of year". (CBC News, 21 December 2010) "This great new book, in fine Socratic fashion, probes the meaning of Christmas, asking challenging questions that help us reflect on how we celebrate the birth of Jesus." (The Englewood Review of Books, January 2011) "It seems that this time of year most of us are consumed with, well, consuming, whether it's indulgent holiday fare or gift giving. But if you've ever found yourself contemplating some of the deeper aspects of the season, Christmas Philosophy for Everyone offers insight into the season of giving with thought and humor". (Urban Baby, 17 December 2010) From Santa Claus, elves and Ebenezer Scrooge to rampant consumerism and controversial questions of multiculturalism and the virgin birth, this immensely entertaining and thought-provoking volume, in the oft-audacious Philosophy for Everyone series, explores a plethora of philosophical issues raised by the practices and beliefs surrounding Christmas." (, 16 December 2010) "It all goes to show that philosophy can engage comfortably with popular themes after all - in this case, by offering an antidote to festive semiotic overload, and bringing a little reason to the season". (Time Out, 16 December 2010)

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Back cover copy

Some wise men, a stable, a few sheep, and a young virgin giving birth to the mortal son of a prefect God: Christmas is one of Christianity's holiest days, and yet it is also a major pagan festival, a secular, cultural celebration, and a commercial event of epic proportions. As consumerism runs rife, have we lost sight of its very essence? Is celebrating Christmas really a good idea? From elves and Ebenezer Scrooge, to the culture wars and virgin birth, "Christmas - Philosophy for Everyone" unwraps the religious and moral issues surrounding the Yuletide season, including: Should parents lie to their children about Santa Claus? What relevance does Christmas hold to atheists and pagans? What does the Bible actually say about the virgin birth? How does Santa know if we have been naughty or good - is there a darker side to our festive friend? "Christmas - Philosophy for Everyone" offers thoughtful and humorous philosophical and cultural insights into the festive season with plenty of goodwill and just a little bah humbug.

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