Doing Philosophy [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 27 (2):396-396 (1973)

This book represents an attempt to combine humanistic concern and pedagogic relevance in a systematic introductory textbook. A brief but enthusiastic introduction by Steve Allen asserts the importance of philosophic problems and Katen’s success at popularizing them in an entertaining fashion. The text itself is divided into three parts, dealing with the life, work, and persecution and death of the philosopher. Part I consists of a single short chapter which grants the poor public image of philosophers, but argues that philosophizing is still an important activity. Part II is composed of three major chapters on the basic fields of epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics—logic and aesthetics are judged inappropriate for treatment here—plus two short chapters, "A Little Reflection on Some Big Questions", and "The Role of Philosophy in the Space Age". Part III offers a brief final chapter on "Philosophy, Human Freedom, and Tragedy" stressing philosophy as a way of life and the claim that no harm comes to good men since the good they do lives on even after their deaths. A few pictures and diagrams illustrate the text and each chapter concludes with a summary of points covered. There is a glossary of terms and an index, but no bibliography or list of suggested readings. The central discussion of major issues and viewpoints is quite traditional and generally competent. Relevance is sought mainly in the introductory sections and through such devices as catchy titles, contemporary idiom and references, puns, and double entendre. Lacking spontaneity, much of this appears forced, artificial, and dated, both chronologically and in its perceptions.—C.A.C.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph1973272257
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