Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 35-40,000 words
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“Enrico Degiuli lives in Verona, Italy. He studied theoretical physics at the University of Trento and holds a master's degree in applied mathematics from the University of Milano-Bicocca.
He likes volleyball, snowboarding, hiking and enjoys playing mind sports like chess, go and poker.”
“Why are there so many subjects people hold different, and often conflicting, opinions about? If we were to address every issue rationally, wouldn't we always agree?
These questions trigger a discussion between Andrew, Bob, and Charles, friends and physics students. They believe that sharing information that everyone can use in reasoning plays a key role in reaching understanding, and that different starting information may explain different results.
The three friends carry out an experiment: find a topic about which their opinions differ, share information they consider important, and see if they are able to come to an agreement.
One a Christian, another agnostic and the third a deist, they decide to compare their religious views, exposing the main reasons that led each to their conclusion.
Drawing on such sources as Augustine, Kant and Plato, Sapere Aude! addresses important topics in simple and direct language, explaining interesting facts, well known to scholars, but almost entirely ignored by the public.
The three young friends accompany the reader on a journey full of unexpected discoveries and surprises, and like all journeys to an unexplored land, Sapere Aude! will fascinate and enrich all those who undertake to find out where it leads.”
Sapere Aude is the fictional dialogue of three friends who theorize that if they choose a topic on which they disagree and explore all the facts they’ll be able to come to an agreement. The first subjects (where agreement is reached) are a prelude to the biggie, religion.
The format of the “story” feels forced, at least as a story, and I’m not sure it works, but as method of exploring the questions, facts, philosophy, and other factors considered, it makes the discussion more palatable and easier to relate to than a dry recitation of the various viewpoints would.
Sapere Aude is Latin that translates as “dare to know.” The idea of this book, as I see it, is that if you’ve blindly followed the beliefs of your parents or others without exploring and understanding the arguments for all sides, you can’t really know. When I finished Sapere Aude I wasn’t sure where the author stood on the subject. This is good. I’ve read other books that purported to be a fictional exploration on the subject and each ended with clear position that, in my opinion, wasn’t always justified by the facts presented. Here, things are left open, allowing you to make your own decision, which is how it should be.
No significant issues.
Rating: *** Three stars