By now, you’ve probably come across Doug Ray’s “Social Media Explained” using a donut. It’s wildly popular due to its simplicity and its accuracy. In some ways, authors William Raeper and Linda Edwards attempt to do the same thing with philosophy and theology in their book A Brief Guide to Ideas. “Each of us has a mixture of ideas in our heads about ourselves and the world. These ideas have to come from somewhere,” they write in the introduction (p. 11).
The book is divided into 16 parts, each part comprised of three chapters, each chapter highlighting one major philosopher, theologian, or concept. It is a wonderful introduction to a panoply of subjects and people. At just under 400 pages, it is tantalizingly brief, often leaving the reader jotting down names and ideas for further study. Instead of highlighting a person or idea that they cover in the book, I will attempt to apply Doug’s whiteboard elegance to philosophers: