Dream Weaver, The

Prentice Hall
Jack Bowen  
Total pages
February 2008
Related Titles


This fascinating introduction to philosophy presents major philosophical topics -- including personal identity, knowledge, the existence of God, and free will -- through the fictional experiences of the 14-year-old protagonist, Ian, and his mentor, the Old Man.


Rigorous treatment of important philosophical issues is presented in a lively, narrative form -- a novel -- engaging students in philosophical debate and showing them the relevance of philosophy to everyday life.  Annotations in the margins link the story as it unfolds to important historical and contemporary philosophers, and comprehensive treatment of both sides of an issue encourages students to think analytically and formulate their own conclusions.



  • Teaches philosophy through a narrative, plot-driven story -- a novel -- featuring 14-year-old Ian, the mysterious Old Man, Ian's parents, and his best friends Jeff and Alexis, who together explore the major concepts of philosophy.
  • The first half of each chapter presents one side of an issue (e.g., we do not have free will); the second half questions the position (e.g., we do have free will).  This approach demonstrates how positions are both developed and defended, while leaving readers with the opportunity to draw their own conclusions.
  • Each chapter includes annotations in the margin, which connect the ideas in the story with contemporary thinkers, reinforce basic philosophical concepts, and encourage the reader to explore an idea further.
  • Discussion questions at the end of the book promote critical thinking over rote memorization, and encourage readers to engage with others to develop their own philosophical ideas.
  • Each chapter concludes with an “Ian in His World” adventure, which applies the lessons of the chapter in an action-oriented adventure featuring Ian and his friend Jeff.   
  • A companion anthology, A Journey Through the Landscape of Philosophy contains important primary sources that support the narrative experience of the philosophical novel.


New to this Edition

  • A new foreword by John Perry, co-host of "Philosophy Talk" and Stanford University Professor, reflects on the unique approach and offers context for and analysis of the significance of this engaging introduction to philosophy.
  • NEW final chapter, The Words After All Previous Words, includes:

    -a more in-depth look at "personhood" as it relates to stem cell research, abortion, and the soul

    -a discussion of human biases framed by topics such as bottled water, psychics, and other areas where humans make reasoning errors

    -a personal exposé by the author highlighting his own conceptual framework and how writing this book and going on book tours have affected him

  • Transcript of an interview with the author on National Public Radio has been included, which highlights the relevance of important philosophical issues in contemporary culture. 
  • Lyrics for the book's theme song, “Beautiful Colors,” written and performed by Matt and Jack Bowen, have been included, along with discussion questions that tie the song into the book's themes.  The song can be heard at the book's website, www.dreamweaverphilosophy.com.
  • Comprehensive index increases the book's effectiveness as a study tool, providing students and instructors with an easy and accessible reference to important philosophical issues.

Table of Contents



    Note to Reader

    Chronological List of Philosophers Encountered by Ian

This is the Title of the Prologue.

     A Note from the Old Man.


1. Knowledge.

What Really Really Happened.

2. Self, Mind, Soul.

What's In a Name?

3. Science.

We Are It.

4. Liar.

Silent Lonesome Tree.

5. God.

The Purpose of Meaning.

6. Evil.

The Price of a Paper and a Paper for a Price.

7. Going East.

No Thing.

The Problem with Solutions.

8. Faith and Reason.

Why He Loves Her.

9. Free Will.

The Power of the Hill.

10. Selfishness (and Science revisited).

The Power of the Quill.

11. Heaps and Eggs.

The Hanging Town.

12. Society, Politics and Money.

If Only.

13. Ethics and Morality.

Can You (Not) Believe It?

14. The Final Excursion.


15. The Words After All Previous Words.



Reading Group Discussion Questions.


Lyrics to "Beautiful Colors"


An Interview With the Author



Back Cover

“An intriguing tale that will instill readers with an abiding sense of philosophical wonder. If you're smitten with Sophie's World, you're sure to be entranced by The Dream Weaver.”

~Christopher Phillips, Author, Socrates Café


 “Jack Bowen's novel is like traveling with Alice to a Wonderland inhabited by the greatest philosophers and scientists who ever lived…A triumph!”                                          

~Wenda O'Reilly, Ph.D., President, Birdcage Press and Author, The Impressionist Art Game


The Dream Weaver is an outstanding how-to-think book… [This book] is a philosophical odyssey that tackles the mysteries of life, of science, and of the meaning of reality.”                                                                                                       

~Susanne Pari, Author, The Fortune Catcher



For a free download of Ian's theme song, “Beautiful Colors,” written and performed by Matt and Jack Bowen, go to www.dreamweaverphilosophy.com. For more philosophy resources, visit us at www.ablongman.com/philosophycafe.


Jack graduated with Honors from Stanford University in Human Biology and earned a Masters Degree in Philosophy from CSU Long Beach, Summa Cum Laude.  Currently, he teaches philosophy at De Anza College.  Jack has been invited to speak at philosophy conferences throughout the world and has also published in numerous philosophy journals.