Sophie's World is a novel about the History of Philosophy. It all begins with a 15 year old school girl coming back from school one day and finding a letter in the mail box with just two questions, 'Who are you?' and 'Where does this world come from?' Sophie is, perhaps chosen because she keeps wondering at school as to why teachers who teach history, geography, science and other subjects do not discuss what a human being is. Or, what does it mean to be philosophical? There are many questions like: 'how come live fish come out of still waters?' Or, 'how do trees with leaves and fruits that are alive come from a dead earth?' and so on. During the intellectual journey that follows from the question and answer sessions, innumerable philosophers and world philosophies are revealed. The author has taken Sophie on a long journey of life by introducing a less known Greek philosopher like Anaxagoras (500-428 B.C.), going through Socrates and Plato, 'modern' philosophers like Locke and Hume, to the Buddha and on to Kant, Darwin, Marx, and Freud of our own time, up to the discovery of the Big Bang. Going through the book one is aware that probing into questions such as why we are here on earth is not as casual as collecting stamps. So, philosophy is not something you can learn; but perhaps you can learn to think philosophically.
Review of "Sophie's World: Jostein Gaarder", Translated from the Norwegian by Paulette Millen