Philosophical Propositions provides a fresh and lucid introduction to key philosophical problems in a classic style. Designed for students coming to philosophy for the first time, Jonathan Westphal introduces readers to the key problems in philosophy, encouraging them to work through those problems themselves. Each chapter considers a key philosophical problem: The Nature of a Philosophical Problem; Basic Concepts of Logic and Philosophy; The Problem of Evil; The Existence of God; Reality; Certainty; Time; Personal Identity; The Mind-Body (...) Problem; Freewill and Determinism; The Meaning of Life? By asking students to consider key philosophical questions such as "are people free?", "can God's existence be proved?" and "how is the mind related to the body", this book provides a firm grounding in essential philosophical problems for students at any level. (shrink)
An Introduction to Modern European Philosophy , contains scholarly but accessible essays by nine British academics on Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Maritain, Hannah Arendt, Habermas, Foucault, and the 'Events' of 1968. Written for English-speaking readers, it describes the varied traditions within 19th- and 20th-century European philosophy, reflecting the dynamism and plurality within the European tradition and presenting opposing points of view. It deals with both French and German philosophers, plus Kierkegaard, and (...) is not confined to any one school of thought. It has been purged of jargon but contains a glossary of important technical terms. There is a bibliography of further reading and website information at the end of each chapter. (shrink)
Should the hard questions of philosophy matter to ordinary people? In this down-to-earth, nonhistorical guide, Thomas Nagel, the distinguished author of Mortal Questions and The View From Nowhere, brings philosophical problems to life, revealing in vivid, accessible prose why they have continued to fascinate and baffle thinkers across the centuries. Arguing that the best way to learn about philosophy is to tackle its problems head-on, Nagel turns to some of the most important questions we can ask about ourselves. (...) Do we really have free will? Why should we be moral? What is the relation between our minds and our brains? Is there life after death? How should we feel about death? In a universe so vast, billions of light years across, can anything we do with our lives really matter? And does it matter if it doesn't matter? These are perennial questions we ask about the human condition, and Nagel probes them, and others like them, thoughtfully, clearly, and with humor. He states his own opinions freely but with refreshing modesty, always leaving it open to readers to entertain other solutions, encouraging them to think for themselves. Nagel is eminently qualified to introduce the uninitiated to the world of philosophical inquiry. Singled out by the Chicago Literary Review as "one of the sharpest analytic philosophers in America today," he has been praised in the New York Times Book Review for writing "sensitively and elegantly" and in the Times Literary Supplement for his ability, rare among philosophers, to combine "profundity with clarity and simplicity of expression." Never rarefied, What Does It All Mean? opens our eyes to a side of the world we rarely consider, demonstrating that philosophy is no empty study but an indispensable key to understanding our lives. It challenges us to think hard and clearly, to ask questions, to try out ideas and raise possible objections to them--in short, to become philosophers ourselves. (shrink)
Arthur C. Danto's lucid introduction to the central topics of Western philosophical thought remains an unparalleled guide to problems in metaphysics and epistemology that have engaged philosophers for several millennia. Examining the work of Plato, Berkeley, Descartes, Hume, and Wittgenstein, Danto explores debates about empiricism, the mind/body problem, the nature of matter, and the status of language, consciousness, and scientific explanation. In a new preface to this edition he considers the current relationship between philosophy and the humanities.
For almost four decades, Made Simple books have set the standard for continuing education and home study. In answer to the changing needsof today's marketplace, the Made Simple series for the '90s presents a thoroughly up-to-the-minute portfolio of skills, information, and experience, with revised and updated editions of bestselling titles, plus a whole range of new subjects from personal finance to office management to desktop publishing. B & W illustrations throughout.
Philosophy for Linguists provides students with a clear, concise introduction to the main topics in the philosophy of language. Focusing on what linguists need to know and how philosophy relates to modern linguistics, the book is structured around key branches of linguistics: semantics, pragmatics, and language acquisition. Assuming no prior knowledge of philosophy, Siobhan Chapman traces the history and development of ideas in the philosophy of language and outlines the contributions of specific philosophers. The book (...) is highly accessible and includes: a general introduction and introductions to each chapter; numerous examples and quotations; comprehensive suggestions for further reading and an extensive glossary of linguistic terms. (shrink)
Now in a third edition, Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings is a highly acclaimed, topically organized collection that covers five major areas of philosophy--theory of knowledge, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, freedom and determinism, and moral philosophy. Editor Louis P. Pojman enhances the text's topical organization by arranging the selections into a pro/con format to help students better understand opposing arguments. He also includes accessible introductions to each chapter, subsection, and individual (...) reading, a unique feature for an anthology of this depth. While the book focuses on a compelling sampling of classical material--including selections from Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant--it also incorporates some of philosophy's best twentieth-century and contemporary work, featuring articles by Bertrand Russell, Richard Taylor, John Searle, Thomas Nagel, and others. This third edition contains an expanded glossary, more extensive section introductions, and twelve new selections: Karl Popper: "Epistemology without a Knowing Subject" Richard Rorty: "Dismantling Truth: Solidarity Versus Objectivity" Daniel Dennett: "Postmodernism and Truth" Bruce Russell: "The Problem of Evil: Too Much Suffering" David Chalmers: "Against Materialism: Can Consciousness Be Reductively Explained?" Baron Paul Henri d'Holbach: "A Defense of Determinism" Michael Levin: "A Compatibilist Defense of Moral Responsibility" Plato: Socratic Morality: "Crito" Herodotus: "Custom Is King" J. L. Mackie: "The Subjectivity of Values" Louis P. Pojman: "A Critique of Mackie's Theory of Moral Subjectivism" Thomas Nagel: "Moral Luck". (shrink)
Lucidly written, this extensive and very original introduction to philosophy features over fifty brief, jargon-free essays arranged in pairs. Each pair answers one of the principal philosophical questions, such as "Does God exist?" or "Are we free?", with two opposing points of view. On the topic of relativism, for example, one essay argues that morality is created by society and relative to it, while the other claims that moral standards are absolute and universal. Each essay takes a definite stand (...) and promotes it vigorously, creating a sharp contrast between the two positions. While the essays often employ standard arguments of great philosophers, they present the ideas in contemporary language with vivid examples. The accessible style and conflicting answers engage students and promote class discussion. While other textbooks present a series of excerpts and theories without attempting to coordinate them into a larger picture, Philosophical Dilemmas encourages students in introductory philosophy courses to think for themselves and to begin constructing their own worldviews. (shrink)
In this journal theme introduction, first, I explain how comparative philosophy as explored in the journal Comparative Philosophy is understood and how it is intrinsically related to the constructive engagement strategy. Second, to characterize more clearly and accurately some related methodological points of the constructive-engagement strategy, and also to explain how constructive engagement is possible, I introduce some needed conceptual and explanatory resources and a meta-methodological framework and endeavor to identify adequacy conditions for methodological guiding principles in comparative (...) studies. Third, as a case analysis, I show how the constructive-engagement reflective practice bears on recent studies of Chinese and comparative Chinese-Western philosophy, especially in the past decade, for two purposes: to illustrate the foregoing theoretic characterization of the constructive engagement strategy, and to identify and explain some constructive morals that might have general significance for comparative studies. (shrink)
The Phenomenological Mind, by Shaun Gallagher and Dan Zahavi, is part of a recent initiative to show that phenomenology, classically conceived as the tradition inaugurated by Edmund Husserl and not as mere introspection, contributes something important to cognitive science. (For other examples, see “References” below.) Phenomenology, of course, has been a part of cognitive science for a long time. It implicitly informs the works of Andy Clark (e.g. 1997) and John Haugeland (e.g. 1998), and Hubert Dreyfus explicitly uses it (e.g. (...) 1992). But where the former use phenomenology in the background as broad context and Dreyfus uses it primarily (though not exclusively) as a critique of conventional AI, Gallagher and Zahavi wish to indicate a positive and constructive place for it within cognitive science. They do not recommend that we simply accept pronouncements of thinkers like Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre and Merleau‐Ponty and apply them to questions of cognition, but that we use revised forms of phenomenology to illuminate dimensions of cognitive experience that are missing in current research. The book is presented as an “introduction to philosophy of mind and cognitive science” written from a phenomenological perspective. It seeks to justify the use of phenomenology in cognitive science by showing what kinds of questions it asks and answers, the variety of uses to which it has recently been put and the fruitfulness of some of its findings. The catalog of topics, for the most part, matches other introductions to the philosophy of mind, such as questions of method, consciousness, perception, intentionality, embodiment, action, agency and other minds. One issue presented here that is not generally dealt with in existing philosophy of mind and cognitive science texts is temporality, a mainstay of the continental tradition. After an introductory chapter that places phenomenology in the context of other approaches, the book lays out the main tenets of phenomenological method. Here, one encounters expected components of phenomenology: the epoché (described below), phenomenological reduction, eidetic variation, and so on. This traditional fare is soon followed by some potential surprises, namely, attempts to “naturalize” phenomenology, a few attempts to formalize it, and the emergence of ‘neurophenomenology’. Each of these is a bit surprising because Husserl was a vocal critic of naturalism, seeing transcendental phenomenology as an alternative to the empirical study of consciousness. He was also skeptical about the possibilities of mathematizing phenomenology. Gallagher and Zahavi acknowledge these points, but since they are not repeating history or undertaking exegesis, strict adherence to canonical phenomenology is not required. Naturalizing phenomenology means recognizing that “the phenomena it studies are part of nature and are therefore also open to empirical investigation” (p.. (shrink)
How does science work? Does it tell us what the world is "really" like? What makes it different from other ways of understanding the universe? In Theory and Reality , Peter Godfrey-Smith addresses these questions by taking the reader on a grand tour of one hundred years of debate about science. The result is a completely accessible introduction to the main themes of the philosophy of science. Intended for undergraduates and general readers with no prior background in philosophy, (...) Theory and Reality covers logical positivism the problems of induction and confirmation Karl Popper's theory of science Thomas Kuhn and "scientific revolutions" the views of Imre Lakatos, Larry Laudan, and Paul Feyerabend and challenges to the field from sociology of science, feminism, and science studies. The book then looks in more detail at some specific problems and theories, including scientific realism, the theory-ladeness of observation, scientific explanation, and Bayesianism. Finally, Godfrey-Smith defends a form of philosophical naturalism as the best way to solve the main problems in the field. Throughout the text he points out connections between philosophical debates and wider discussions about science in recent decades, such as the infamous "science wars." Examples and asides engage the beginning student a glossary of terms explains key concepts and suggestions for further reading are included at the end of each chapter. However, this is a textbook that doesn't feel like a textbook because it captures the historical drama of changes in how science has been conceived over the last one hundred years. Like no other text in this field, Theory and Reality combines a survey of recent history of the philosophy of science with current key debates in language that any beginning scholar or critical reader can follow. (shrink)
Here at last is a coherent, unintimidating introduction to the challenging and fascinating landscape of Western philosophy. Written expressly for "anyone who believes there are big questions out there, but does not know how to approach them," Think provides a sound framework for exploring the most basic themes of philosophy, and for understanding how major philosophers have tackled the questions that have pressed themselves most forcefully on human consciousness. Simon Blackburn, author of the best-selling Oxford Dictionary of (...) class='Hi'>Philosophy, begins by making a convincing case for the relevance of philosophy and goes on to give the reader a sense of how the great historical figures such as Plato, Hume, Kant, Descartes, and others have approached its central themes. In a lively and accessible style, Blackburn approaches the nature of human reflection and how we think, or can think, about knowledge, fate, ethics, identity, God, reason, and truth. Each chapter explains a major issue, and gives the reader a self-contained guide through the problems that the philosophers have studied. Because the text approaches these issues from the gound up, the untrained reader will emerge from its pages able to explore other philosophies with greater pleasure and understanding and be able to think--philosophically--for him or herself. Philosophy is often dismissed as a purely academic discipline with no relation to the "real" world non-philosophers are compelled to inhabit. Think dispels this myth and offers a springboard for all those who want to learn how the basic techniques of thinking shape virtually every aspect of our existence. (shrink)
Making Sense of Education provides a contemporary introduction to the key issues in educational philosophy and theory. Exploring recent developments as well as important ideas from the twentieth century, this book aims to make philosophy of education relevant to everyday practice for teachers and student teachers, as well as those studying education as an academic subject.
In this book Jonathan Lowe offers a lucid and wide-ranging introduction to the philosophy of mind. Using a problem-centred approach designed to stimulate as well as instruct, he begins with a general examination of the mind-body problem and moves on to detailed examination of more specific philosophical issues concerning sensation, perception, thought and language, rationality, artificial intelligence, action, personal identity and self-knowledge. His discussion is notably broad in scope, and distinctive in giving equal attention to deep metaphysical questions concerning (...) the mind and to the discoveries and theories of modern scientific psychology. It will be of interest to any reader with a basic grounding in modern philosophy. (shrink)
Beginning with the death of Socrates in 399 BC, and following the strand of philosophical inquiry through the centuries to recent figures such as Bertrand Russell and Wittgenstein, Bryan Magee's conversations with fifteen contemporary writers and philosophers provide an accessible and exciting account of Western philosophy and its greatest thinkers. With contributions from A. J. Ayer, Bernard Williams, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Singer, and John Searle, the book is not only an introduction to the philosophers of the past, but gives (...) an invaluable insight into the view and personalities of some of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. (shrink)
Teaching about technology, at all levels of education, can only be done properly when those who teach have a clear idea about what it is that they teach. In other words: they should be able to give a decent answer to the question: what is technology? In the philosophy of technology that question is explored. Therefore the philosophy of technology is a discipline with a high relevance for those who teach about technology. Literature in this field, though, is (...) not always easy to access for non-philosophers. This book provides an introduction to the philosophy of technology for such people. It offers a survey of the current state-of-affairs in the philosophy of technology, and also discusses the relevance of that for teaching about technology. The book can be used in introductory courses on the philosophy of technology in teacher education programs, engineering education programs, and by individual educators that are interested in the intriguing phenomenon of technology that is so important in our contemporary society. (shrink)
This textbook by Martin Hollis offers an exceptionally clear and concise introduction to the philosophy of social science. It examines questions which give rise to fundamental philosophical issues. Are social structures better conceived of as systems of laws and forces, or as webs of meanings and practices? Is social action better viewed as rational behaviour, or as self-expression? By exploring such questions, the reader is led to reflect upon the nature of scientific method in social science. Is the aim (...) to explain the social world after a manner worked out for the natural world, or to understand the social world from within? (shrink)
Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction covers the major topics typically studied in philosophy of mind and discusses the dualist, behaviorist, functionalist, interpretationist, and eliminativist accounts of the nature of mind, along with a critical assessment of the recent trends in the subject. This fully revised and updated version of the highly successful first edition builds on the previously addressed themes and expands on central topics. The new edition includes: * A brand new chapter on consciousness * An (...) expansion of the Davidson and Dennett discussions, splitting them into two stand-alone chapters * A chapter looking at general issues associated with present day approaches to the theory of mind. (shrink)
Philosophy of music has flourished in the last thirty years, with great advances made in the understanding of the nature of music and its aesthetics. Peter Kivy has been at the center of this flourishing, and now offers his personal introduction to philosophy of music, a clear and lively explanation of how he sees the most important and interesting philosophical issues relating to music. Anyone interested in music will find this a stimulating introduction to some fascinating questions and (...) ideas. (shrink)
What is science? Is there a real difference between science and myth? Is science objective? Can science explain everything? This Very Short Introduction provides a concise overview of the main themes of contemporary philosophy of science. Beginning with a short history of science to set the scene, Samir Okasha goes on to investigate the nature of scientific reasoning, scientific explanation, revolutions in science, and theories such as realism and anti-realism. He also looks at philosophical issues in particular sciences, including (...) the problem of classification in biology, and the nature of space and time in physics. The final chapter touches on the conflicts between science and religion, and explores whether science is ultimately a good thing. (shrink)