The Inner Philosopher

Conversations on Philosophy's Transformative Power

By Lou Marinoff and Daisaku Ikeda
Dialogue Path Press, September 2012
ISBN 978-1-887917-09-4 / $12.95

Purchase options here!

In the sixteen spirited conversations of The Inner Philosopher, Lou Marinoff and Daisaku Ikeda revive philosophy as an accessible source of wisdom and courage. In their telling, the philosophies of Shakyamuni Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Aristotle, Socrates, Epicurus, and others are as essential now as when first articulated more than 2,000 years ago. The authors celebrate these philosophies as optimistic and empowering. Philosophy, they say, should do nothing less than help us draw forth the inner strength needed to face life’s challenges and hardships. The Inner Philosopher shows that wisdom is never out of reach and opportunities for positive transformation are many.

Lou Marinoff is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at The City College of New York. He is founding president of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association and his bestseller Plato Not Prozac! has been translated into twenty-seven languages.

Daisaku Ikeda is founder and president of the Soka Gakkai International, a lay Buddhist organization with twelve million members worldwide. He has written and lectured widely on Buddhism, humanism, and global ethics.

Advance Praise

In this day and age, when uncertainty reigns along with various other dictates that challenge all aspects of human endeavor, it is essential that The Inner Philosopher become a part of world literature and world dialogue. The content within takes one to the front lines of life’s grand adventure of the enigmatic human condition, and further on to an open and revealing dialogue, unraveling the mystery of “us.”
- Wayne Shorter, jazz composer and saxophonist, winner of nine Grammy awards, and National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master

These sparkling and engaging conversations make a compelling case for the importance of philosophy in our lives and in our world.  Daisaku Ikeda and Lou Marinoff are ideal guides to the nature and function of wisdom, from the times of the ancients through the challenges we all face now. This is a book that should be read by leaders, teachers, students, and adults of all ages.
- Tom Morris, Author of Philosophy for Dummies, If Aristotle Ran General Motors, and If Harry Potter Ran General Electric

In this exhilarating dialogue Daisaku Ikeda and Lou Marinoff demonstrate the enormous power of practical, engaged philosophy. They inspire their readers to break the bonds of authority in order to develop their own inner resources – to embrace even the most difficult of life's questions with intellectual and emotional honesty, courage, discipline, and generosity.
- Larry A. Hickman, Center for Dewey Studies, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Do not pick up this book without a highlighter in your hand! You will want to return to many individual statements.  Better still plan a reading schedule to allow for each conversation, time to let the book drop into you lap while you ruminate on the most recently read of portions that will call you to do so. These conversations between Lou Marinoff and Daisaku Ikeda are rife with simple sentences that articulate shimmering complexities that light up the mind and move the reader to the contemplative reflection that is the medium of philosophy. Each exchange offers multiple keys to the doors of the reader’s “inner philosopher.”

These conversations provide us with seeds of philosophic inquiry through which to cultivate the fruits of seeking alternatives to the ideological polarization that stifles democracy and justice. They illustrate that authentic truth seeking is a perennial characteristic of human thought; that knowledge is not a commodity to be monopolized by the powerful. We are instructed that philosophy begins with questions, a point congenial to peace educators who embrace critical pedagogy as a means through which to guide students toward what Daisaku Ikeda refers to as creating value; echoing what the educators see as peace building.

The open inquiry fundamental to peace education is brought to mind by Lou Marinoff’s assertion that no one controls truth. The conversations invite all to be seekers of truth, assuring us that all can and should engage in philosophic reflection on the issues of our individual lives and our common society. We are reminded that we are deprived of this most fundamental of human experiences, as we embrace the mastery of technology over the development of our humanity.  We are encouraged by the wisdom the two share with each other and with us to release the inner philosopher to liberate the outer social actor. The book is a good “peace read.”
- Betty A. Reardon, Founding Director Emeritus, International Institute on Peace Education