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The Thief of Time: Philosophical Essays on Procrastination [Paperback]

Mark D. White , Chrisoula Andreou

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Book Description

April 12 2012 019991737X 978-0199917372 Reprint
When we fail to achieve our goals, procrastination is often the culprit. But how exactly is procrastination to be understood? It has been described as imprudent, irrational, inconsistent, and even immoral, but there has been no sustained philosophical debate concerning the topic. This edited volume starts in on the task of integrating the problem of procrastination into philosophical inquiry. The focus is on exploring procrastination in relation to agency, rationality, and ethics - topics that philosophy is well-suited to address. Theoretically and empirically informed analyses are developed and applied with the aim of shedding light on a vexing practical problem that generates a great deal of frustration, regret, and harm. Some of the key questions that are addressed include the following: How can we analyze procrastination in a way that does justice to both its voluntary and its self-defeating dimensions? What kind of practical failing is procrastination? Is it a form of weakness of will? Is it the product of fragmented agency? Is it a vice? Given the nature of procrastination, what are the most promising coping strategies?

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Review

"As various scholars argue in 'The Thief of Time' a collection of essays on procrastination, ranging from the resolutely theoretical to the surprisingly practical - the tendency raises fundamental philosophical and psychological issues." --The New Yorker

"This collection is good reading for anyone who would like to do philosophy on the subject of procrastination or who seeks to procrastinate her work by reading interesting things." --Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"[This book] deals in fresh ways with well-known philosophical problems: will and rationality and their weaknesses, vice and virtue, identity, the nature of lived time. And more importantly, Andreou and White's collection often weds these questions to ordinary struggles and anxieties - lucidly and sometimes enjoyably.... All in all, 'The Thief of Time' does two important things. It explores standard philosophical problems with rigour and erudition. And it examines a widespread, human, all-too-human failing with sensitivity, clarity and practicality. In this, Andreou and White's anthology rewards a careful, patient reading." --The Philosopher's Magazine

About the Author

Chrisoula Andreou is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Utah. Mark D. White is Professor in the Department of Political Science, Economics, and Philosophy at the College of Staten Island, CUNY.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thief of time indeed Nov. 21 2011
By DW - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The title of this book was particularly appropriate - I couldn't put it down. A serious look at philosophical underpinnings, approached from wide variety of backgrounds. An in depth approach to a topic which is so often trivialised or commercialised. Outstanding.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading, but heavy going Sept. 1 2013
By Fenimore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book based on a recommendation from a weekly web newsletter I receive, and true to form, the book is actually a very interesting collection of essays on the nature of procrastination. I would have given this four stars to say "I like it" if it had even SOME sense of humor about the phenomenon, but, alas, it is a quite serious philosophical tome.

That said, the book is very much worth reading. There are discourses on procrastination from the standpoints of biology, psychology, history, anthropology and, of course, philosophy -- The essays look at topics like: Why do people procrastinate? Is procrastination a bad thing? Can procrastination drive creativity? This is NOT a book one will sit down and read in one sitting. It is sometimes densely written; it is moderately academic/intellectual in its approach (not a self-help book!); and it is nearly always thought-provoking. At the risk of making a time joke, I definitely believe this book is worth finding the time to read. It just takes some work and dedication to get through it all.

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