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1. General Philosophy
2. Philosophy: A General Introduction
3. Teach Yourself Philosophy of Religion
4. History of Philosophy, Volume
5. Sourcebook in Asian Philosophy
6. A History of Philosophy: Volume
7. Initiation Into Philosophy
8. The Problems of Philosophy
9. Writing Philosophy Papers
10. Introducing Philosophy: A Graphic
11. The Philosophy of Philosophy (The
12. Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology,
13. What If....Collected Thought Experiments
14. Discovering Philosophy, Portfolio
15. Heidegger's Analytic: Interpretation,
16. Greek Philosophy: Thales to Aristotle
17. Core Questions in Philosophy (5th
18. Philosophy of Biology: A Contemporary
19. Pleasures of Philosophy
20. Understanding African Philosophy:

1. General Philosophy
by Elton Trueblood
 Paperback: Pages (1986-02)
list price: US$9.94
Isbn: 0801088321
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2. Philosophy: A General Introduction
by Peter Koestenbaum
 Paperback: 350 Pages (1968-12)

Isbn: 0442230915
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3. Teach Yourself Philosophy of Religion (Teach Yourself: General Reference)
by Mel Thompson
Paperback: 288 Pages (2007-10-18)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$8.18
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Asin: 0071496998
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

Learn the thoughts behind the world's religions

How does religion relate to morality? Should religions be judged according to the behavior of their adherents? Teach Yourself Philosophy of Religion answers these questions and many more. Providing you with knowledge on current religious debates, it explores the key principles upon which all religions are based and considers how religion relates to our understanding of everyday life.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars This bookBalances scholarship with a jargon- free approach
This book is ideal for anyone from A Level students upwards who want to know more about the philosophy of religion and certain themes in the study of Theology and is an excellent preparation and companion for anyone about to begin studying either philosophy or Theology.

As a Theology and religious study student, at degree level, there are so many books that are found in student reading lists that are hard going and which are full of complicated theories and arguments. But this book uses clear language and perfect analogies.

Mel Thompson explains everything from the topic of Religious language to arguments for the existence of God, the problems of evil and suffering, to problems which science place on religion, and does so in a manageable easy to understand way. Balancing scholarship with a jargon- free approach Thompson makes even the most profound arguments accessible to readers of all levels.

This book can be used as a textbook or as a revision book. Using clear paragraphs, bullet points and summary pages Thompson certainly succeeds in getting complicated theories across.

If you are a student on or about to take a Philosophy/Theology and religious studies course from A level upwards or anyone wanting to learn more about these topics this book is a must!!

5-0 out of 5 stars What is Philosophy of Religion?
If you have asked that question then this is the book for you.It's accessible, easily understood and a good read!Explanations are just that explanations.I have lost my copy to a friend who just 'wanted a look'. So beware

4-0 out of 5 stars A simple and straight-forward book
The content of this book is perfectly organized and you can surely understand what Philosophy of Religion is after reading it once! ... Read more

4. History of Philosophy, Volume 6
by Frederick Copleston S.J.
Paperback: 528 Pages (1993-12-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$8.95
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Asin: 0385470436
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Conceived originally as a serious presentation of the development of philosophy for Catholic seminary students, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A History Of Philosophy has journeyed far beyond the modest purpose of its author to universal acclaim as the best history of philosophy in English.

Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of immense erudition who once tangled with A.J. Ayer in a fabled debate about the exiatenceof God and the possibility of metaphysics, knew that seminary students were fed a woefully inadequate diet of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with most of history's great thinkers was reduced to simplistic caricatures. Copelston sets out to redress the wrong by writing a complete history of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and intellectual excitement - and one that gives full place to each thinker, presenting his thought in a beautifully rounded manner and showing his links to those who went before and to those who came after them. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars All about Rousseau and Kant
I would echo the thoughts of "meadowreader:" this volume is mostly about Kant, who is considered one of the most difficult of all philosophers.The contents of Volume VI include an overview of the French Enlightenment, two chapters on the madman Rousseau, an overview of the German Enlightenment, and then on to pp. 182-392, which are devoted to Immanuel Kant.

With each new volume, my admiration for the stunning achievement of Father Copleston increases.He makes it possible to at least somewhat enjoy and understand the individual philosophers as individuals, but it also becomes clearer and clearer that the serious student needs to go back to page 1 of volume 1 and begin reading with full attention, probably taking notes along the way!

However, this volume by itself is a real treat for unfortunates like myself who have never understood what Kant was up to.At the very least, in simplistic terms, Kant was trying to reconcile the obvious facts about the universe uncovered by Newton with the dogmatic "we-can-know-nothing-about-the-world" attitude of David Hume.Clearly, Kant thought, Hume had missed the trail somewhere: the burning question was "Where?"

So the intellectual detective story continues!

5-0 out of 5 stars Kant get enough
The two main players in this volume is Rosseau and Kant, whose mentality is about as different as one can fing in the field of philosophy.

Rosseau has his idealistic notion of The Noble Savage, The Social Contract, amongst other things that one can clearly see is more how he wished the world was than how it actually operated.His ideas are so blatantly wrong even given the knowledge of the times it makes one wonder why he gets so much prominence.It does make for an interesting psychological study of how a social misfit tries to justify being inept for common society.

Kant is where one finds some real meat to chew on, whether or not you agree with him.There's no doubt he created a revolution in Philosophy, but the question remains.... is he right?Is time and space an a priori construct that allows humanity to experience phenomena.Is substance an a priori construct to discern objects from one another?His argumentation for some is solid, like his ideas on substance, which has been largely substantiated through neuroscience.The notions of time and space are much more difficult, and his ideas on these are much more debatable.

The main issue is his severance of the phenomenal world of he experience with the noumenal world which is not directly experienced.He never really sufficiently links the thing-in-itself with the object as experience, which later philosophers jumped on rather rapidly.

His moral theory while claiming to be completely on reason, is really mostly emotive(as Copleston rightly states), essentially saying that do an action only if you would think it justified for another to do the same.Hence, it's wrong to lie because you wouldn't wanyt everybody to lie.While okay, it's not a good enough foundation to really make a solid base.His views on aesthetics and art are fascinating, and surprisingly the most interesting of what he wrote.

Copleston bares his teeth a little more than usual with Kant, which took this reader a little bit by surprise.Now, Copleston was a Thomist, and Kant essentially tried to destroy metaphysics as it was understood by the ancients, so it's understandable.Mostly Copleston attacked Kant because of the philosophers after Kant who took his Critique to its logical conclusion, with ridiculous results.Needless to say, a mindblowing read, and his best since Volume 3.

5-0 out of 5 stars Balanced objectivity
Copleston has done it again.I have read the first five volumes of this history and just finished the sixth.Though he is a Jesuit (of course a Catholic) his elucidating History, which, perhaps one may think to lean slightly in favor of the Catholic point of view in regards to Epistemology and Metaphysics, among other things, comes nowhere close.He balances his own beliefs, telling the reader at some points, I believe thus and thus, while concurrently maintaining his objective role as scholar and historian of Phiolosophy.He will often make statements like, "if it is in fact true," for instance, regarding the existence of God.Though his own beliefs are ultimatley positive in this respect, he does not forget that he is writing a history and does not sacrifice the beliefs of any given philosopher for his own.

This is just one example among many in this book, and I have done so purposely for the sake of brevity.I do not enjoy reading nine and ten paragraph reviews and rarely will do so.All that needs to be said of a product, with very rare exception, can be done so in three or four paragraphs at most.

If you are thinking of purchasing this product, think no more, but act.If you have read previous volumes from this author, you do not need me to tell you how wonderful this History has been...

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Introduction to Philosophy Ever!
Copleston's series, "The History of Philosophy", is quite possibly the best introduction to the history of philosophical thought that has ever been published and certainly the best currently in print.

You will be hard pressed to find a better collection of solid philosophical surveys in one place.The beauty of the series is that Copleston has clearly done his research on each period and each thinker of Western philosophy.

I cannot recommend this series any more highly.It is a must-have collection for anyone who is a scholar (professional or casual) of philosophy, theology or any of the arts.

If this isn't on your bookshelf, it should be!

5-0 out of 5 stars Good intro to Kant
More than 200 pages of Copleston's Vol. 6 is devoted to the notoriously difficult writings of Immanuel Kant, in effect a book within the book.You will find there a detailed explication of what Kant wrote, what he was trying to accomplish, and why.The discussion is both scholarly and very readable. ... Read more

5. Sourcebook in Asian Philosophy
by John M. Koller, Patricia Koller
Paperback: 588 Pages (1991-01-14)
list price: US$74.40 -- used & new: US$55.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0023658118
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6. A History of Philosophy: Volume IX: Modern Philosophy from the French Revolution to Sartre, Camus, and Levi-Strauss
by Frederick Copleston
Paperback: 496 Pages (1994-02-01)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$11.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385470460
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Conceived originally as a serious presentation of the development of philosophy for Catholic seminary students, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A History Of Philosophy has journeyed far beyond the modest purpose of its author to universal acclaim as the best history of philosophy in English. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Review of Copleston's Ninth Volume
I'm a student, not a scholar, but I have read all nine of Copleston's volumes, so I understand the scope and style of his writing.

This volume covers a very broad range of topics. Not only does it discuss the giants like Comte and Sartre, but it also discusses about a dozen miscellaneous French trends and their proponents. Discussing small-time philosophers is common for Copleston, but this volume is more impressive than usual.

I regret that Copleston mentions nothing of Derrida and only references Focault in passing, but one could hardly expect him to wait forever--these philosophers were still developing their outlook in his old age. Also, I noticed several editing overlooks, so many so that I'm mentioning it here. It won't subtract from your overall enjoyment, but it is annyong when encoutered.

To start and finish Copleston is an amazing expreience, and I recommend it to any avid amateur in philosophical history.

4-0 out of 5 stars A decent overview
The ninth volume of focuses mostly on the modern French philosophers.As with most modern thought, there is a general tendency away from vast metaphysical systems.A lot of the themes that were discussed amongst the British and German philosophies such as Phlosophy of Science, idealism, and the bases of ethics are again here.

The high prophet of scientific positivism is Auguste Comte, whose committed the common fallacy of thinking that the dawn of the scientific age will remove the need for religion and create a peaceful society.This was rightfully mostly abandoned after the horrors of the second World War and the subsequent atheistic totalitarian regimes that came up afterwards.

There was an attack against this sort of radical positivism in the other side by the name of Henri Bergson, who stated instinct taught the real nature of things rather than conceptual thought and the sciences.Bergson emphasized the spiritual parts of knowledge, and attacked determinists as forcing reality into their own conceptual framework.While this reader agrees instinct before language enters though lends the closest view of reality, Bergson didn't seem to understand the need of analytical thought and observation in developing innate instinct, seemingly giving it an almost supernatural quality.

The section on the philosophy of Science I wich Copleston would have spent more time on.He never mentions Popper in any of his outlines of Philosophy of Science(knocked down a star for exactly this reason), and there is the problem that he only spends a few pages on each philosopher here, not giving nearly enough time to give a really good overview of their thought.

Some of the most interesting, and unintentionally hilarious, parts come from the section on Sartre.He makes it well known his annoyance with Sartre's redicuoulsly obtuse language.His thought is certainly unique, saying consciousness is a nullifying aspect on being on his environment, stating the absolute freedom, and his nihilistic views on ethics.Even though I disagreed with almost everything he has to say, at first glance his thought seemed shockingly rational.It's only when one looks at the way he uses terms and comparing it with ones own experience can one start to see the chinks, and Copleston's criticisms hit the nail on the head in this section.

Probably the most pathetic game of semantics this reader has ever seen is Sartre trying to synthesize Marxism and his radical existentialism.Never mind that Marxism and human freedom and about as antithetical as one can come by, it doesn't stop Sartre from playing elaborate word games to justify his political persuasions.While I respect his emphasis on personal responsibility, the politicizing of his philosophy as well as debauchery in his personal life speaks poorly of him.

A hard trudge, and very dull at times, but worth the effort to finish.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Introduction of Philosophy Out There!
Copleston's series, "The History of Philosophy", is quite possibly the best introduction to the history of philosophical thought that has ever been published and certainly the best currently in print.

You will be hard pressed to find a better collection of solid philosophical surveys in one place.The beauty of the series is that Copleston has clearly done his research on each period and each thinker of Western philosophy.

I cannot recommend this series any more highly.It is a must-have collection for anyone who is a scholar (professional or casual) of philosophy, theology or any of the arts.

If this isn't on your bookshelf, it should be!

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy now/read now
Copelston is one of the pre-emienent thinkers of philosophical history. Every one should read his entire works including this fine volume. ... Read more

7. Initiation Into Philosophy
by Émile Faguet
Paperback: 78 Pages (2010-03-07)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$20.00
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Asin: 115363080X
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The book has no illustrations or index. Purchasers are entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Subjects: Philosophy; Philosophy / General; Philosophy / History ... Read more

8. The Problems of Philosophy
by Bertrand Russell
Paperback: 174 Pages (2010-03-31)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$12.95
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Asin: 1451582854
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Bertrand Russell's work on general problems of Philosophy - includes his famous article "On Denoting" ... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Stimulating Set of Problems
Bertrand Russell was one of the most prominent British mathematicians and philosophers from the beginning of the twentieth century. He is considered one of the founders of analytic philosophy. His varied interests have led him to become widely known even outside his own domains of professional specialization. In 1950 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.

This book was written as some sort of an introduction to philosophy, having a general reader in mind. The topics and issues that are discussed herein are some of the most prominent and lasting ones in philosophy - what is knowledge, how are we able to acquire it, can we ever be completely certain of things that we know. Russell presents many of these topics from a historical perspective, introducing the reader to some of the most prominent philosophers who had previously dealt with them.

The writing in this book is lucid and precise, without becoming pedantic. This is by no means a light-hearted and watered-down survey of philosophy, so the reader should expect to have to be constantly intellectually engaged with the material presented here. However, the book is also not a technical work aimed at the experts, and no prior knowledge of philosophy is assumed. As long as the reader has a keen mind and appreciation for critical thinking, this book will be an enjoyable and stimulating adventure.

5-0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Engaging; Appropriately Challenging
First off, I am nowhere near qualified to comment on the philosophical arguments posited by Russell about knowledge.However, as someone who has rediscovered philosophy in middle-age, having taken it in college and abandoned it shortly thereafter, I found Russell's writing eminently readable.Some of the concepts discussed are appropriately challenging and I was surprised at how clearly and engagingly Russell writes.I incorrectly assumed that a great philosophical mind like his would wrap his prose in incomprehensible philosophical jargon.Fortunately, I was wrong.The highlight for me was a passage in the concluding chapter, where Russell explains the purpose of the philosophical discipline, which is to bring a person outside their immediate world of daily concerns and crises, to the larger world around them of thoughts and ideas, and thereby enlarge their world to their benefit.My favorite sentence: "Every complete sentence must contain at least one word which stands for a universal, since all verbs have a meaning which is universal."Highly recommended as an introduction to some of the fundamental questions addressed by philosophy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Philosophy 101
A brief tour of epistemology and metaphysics. This book is directed at at those who are curious about the discipline of philosophy; it's only about 150 or so pages, but navigating through may not be easy. Russell starts of by wondering whether material objects seen in the world of sense data really exist and takes the reader through a brief analysis of the differing view points regarding the existence and the nature of matter. The view points of the idealists and empiricists are compared and contrasted as Russell tries to take his position. What one gets out of this is the way the topic is analyzed and how seemingly obvious and self-evident points are dissected and a question mark put on them; the opinion he arrives at (ex. why the idealists & Berkeley were in the wrong) is irrelevant. In any case, given the brief nature of the discussion here, you will have to supplement your reading with other materials to get a genuine and more than a verbal understanding of these various schools of thought; the objective here is merely to give you a broad outline. Russell then moves on to the process by which we acquire knowledge, our reliance on inductive reasoning and proceeds to talk about a priori knowledge, contribution of Kant and the debate surrounding the feasibility of a priori knowledge. Plato's Universals is covered in two chapters. If and onceyou get to the end of it, questions whether all of this is merely hairsplitting and devoid of any practical utility is addressed by Russell in the final chapter where he says that the role of philosophy is to keep alive the "speculative interest in the universe" otherwise which we would be confined to verifiable and ascertainable knowledge.

A well written introduction and if the flame still burns there is a list of books in the bibliographical note to take your interest further.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Problems of Epistemology
I've always enjoyed Russell's perspicuity, as displayed so generously in A History of Western Philosophy; none of it is lacking here.

Russell takes on several key concepts, such as idealism, knowledge by acquaintance versus knowledge by description, and sets forth a theory which clearly delineates what we can and cannot know.

It addresses the fundamental problems of epistemology, and as such should probably be read pretty early on by those who are interested in epistemology and philosophy in general.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dense ... And Free
Dense is probably the best way to describe Russel's writing style. He throws a lot of complicated ideas and thoughts at you all at once. That being said, this is a great book, that anyone will enjoy. It is free, that is the biggest plus. The formatting is great for the kindle. This book really makes you think about a lot of things, and thinking is good for you. It is not a light read, you must really focus on what is being said to understand it. However, understanding it is very rewarding. This is my first book by Russel, but it has sparked an intrest in me, and I plan to read more of his work. So, if you want to read some great philosophy, and have a kindle, then you should look no further than this wonderful book.

Did I mention it's free? ... Read more

9. Writing Philosophy Papers
by Zachary P. Seech
Paperback: 176 Pages (2008-02-20)
list price: US$44.95 -- used & new: US$22.99
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Asin: 0495506842
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Discover an all-in-one guide to writing with Seech's WRITING PHILOSOPHY PAPERS, 5e. Written specifically for philosophy students, this unique book leads you through every aspect of writing philosophy papers and is an invaluable tool for any philosophy class that includes writing assignments. The book guides you through every step of creating and organizing a compelling philosophy essay--from the conception of a thesis and basic mechanics of writing through conducting effective research and accurately citing sources. You even learn tips for formulating an articulate, intelligent argument. Sample essays in the back of the book are provided for your reference. Specifics on the organization, style, and reasoning behind each primary type of philosophy papers prepare you to complete compare-and-contrast, research, and summary and explanatory papers. A new chapter on Internet research (Chapter 7) discusses source accountability and use of the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia. New discussions on plagiarism in a digital age and word processing today further equip you for success. WRITING PHILOSOPHY PAPERS, 5e, serves as a valuable, ongoing reference for any current or future philosophy class. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars Writing Philosophy Papers
I never received the book. I e-mailed Amazon.com on this but got no reply. I was shortchanged on this title.

5-0 out of 5 stars Prescribed reading
This is an excellent guide for academic writers, not only for students of Philosophy, for whom, as the title indicates, the book is primarily intended, but for students in all disciplines. The strength of this little manual lies particularly in that, although compact, it leaves nothing to chance. In other words, it covers ground that other well-meaning how-to books on writing assume that authors know, but material with which first-timers are either unfamiliar, or which seasoned writers, specifically writers in other genres, have forgotten. It should be made compulsory reading for all students. ... Read more

10. Introducing Philosophy: A Graphic Guide
by Dave Robinson
Paperback: 176 Pages (2007-11)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$4.49
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Asin: 184046853X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Philosophers have always enjoyed asking awkward and provocative questions, such as: What is the nature of reality? What are human beings really like? What is special about the human mind and consciousness? Are we free to choose who we are and what we do? Can we prove that God exists? Can we be certain about anything at all? What is truth? Does language provide us with a true picture of the world? How should we behave towards each other? Do computers think? "Introducing Philosophy" is a comprehensive graphic guide to the thinking of all the significant philosophers of the Western world from Heraclitus to Derrida. It examines and explains their key arguments and ideas without being obscure or solemn. Lively and accessible, it is the perfect introduction to philosophers and philosophical ideas for anyone coming to the subject for the first time. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Covers the Waterfront well
This is a quick and dirty introduction to Philosophy. It defines the primary questions of philosophy as: What is the nature of reality? What makes humans special? What is mind or consciousness? Can we be certain of anything? What is a valid argument? How should we behave towards each other? And: How should society be organized? Philosophy, the author tells us is a discipline organized to pursue answers to these and many similar questions. The major subcategories of the discipline are: Epistemology (questions about knowledge), Metaphysics (questions about the nature of time, space, god, cause, reality), Ethics (questions about good and evil), Aesthetics (questions about art and beauty), and political philosophy (questions about the organization of society). How these questions are pursued, has to do with methodology, the tools used to answer the questions.

Some believe that answers should evolve out of debate: that is out of the mechanics and art of how to ask questions properly. Others believe that "thinking about thinking" and questioning everything is the best tool. The book of course does not take sides on this important issues but proceeds to delve into the history and personalities of Philosophy beginning with the Egyptians who were good mathematicians but poor philosophers. But it then moves on to the Greeks who, at least in the Western World, are the acknowledged inventors of philosophy. They did this of course by challenging the worldview of religion. It was the Greeks who first refused to believe that religious answers were all there was to reality. They wanted to know what reality was made of?The preliminary answer they got was that it was made of air, fire, earth and water.Pythagoras however believed that mathematics held the secret to reality. And then, before the pre-Socratic era ended, came the "atomists," who believed that all matter could be "reduced" or broken down into ever smaller constituent components until the smallest possible, the atom was reached.

However, it was Socrates who believed that wisdom was a skill that could be taught and that virtue is knowledge, and who formally introduced thinking as a methodology. He and his contemporaries wrestled with questions such as "If we believe different things, how do we determine who is correct?"Ultimately, it was Socrates' view that man had to question everything, especially authority that got him condemned to death by "democrats" who forced him to drink hemlock. Despite this, it was his student Plato, who advanced the techniques of using "thinking about thinking" as the ultimate tool of philosophy. Through dialogue using a series of nested questions deductible from a central premise, Plato was able to prove that thought was indeed the ultimate instrument for answering the questions that revealed the underlying truths of philosophy. He also introduced the idea of ideal forms and most famously, the parable of the cave, in which reality was seen to be indistinguishable from a reflection of man's experiences depicted as shadows on a cave wall: Man was imprisoned by his experiences, which were little more than images on a cave wall.

It would take Aristotle to advance the ideas of both Socrates and Plato by formally linking philosophy to the tools of logic, that is, to inferences, both deductive and inductive. Arguments based on logic, propelled philosophy into a new era that has lasted for more than two millennia. And while there have been challengers, mostly from religion (the Stoics, the Epicureans, Skeptics, cynics, etc.), Aristotle's methods lasted until Rene Descartes' "Discourse on Method" introduced a way of further formalizing the systematization of knowledge. With a few procedural rules, and his most famous utterance "cogito ergo sum," Descartes used "doubt" as the new instrument that would lead philosophy into a new era of scientific thinking and methodology. After Descartes' Cartesian analysis of mind and body, philosophy was irrevocably changed. The battle between science and religion was finally brought out into the open and science was finally beginning to hold its own. There was hand-to-hand combat down the ages between the metaphysiciansand the scientists up until the modern era of philosophy.

And although there was quite a bit of "backtracking," today the background noise of those arguments can still be heard and felt. Even today, in the quantum physical world, the question of what constitutes reality still remains the centerpiece of philosophical discussions. However, in the modern era new problems have arisen about the nature of knowledge and indeed meaning itself. Language is consistently being implicated as the saga continues ...
For a $7.00 book I guarantee that the reader is sure to get more than his money's worth. Five stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Informative
I have always enjoyed the graphically illustrated "Introducing" series. For a visual learner such as myself, the pictorial overviews always bring the subject to life and make learning complex concepts entertaining.

"Introducing Philosophy" by Dave Robinson is an excellent overview of the subject, starting with the Ancient Greeks and continuing throughout the ages. Major philosophers covered include Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hume, Descartes, Russell, Sartre, and Wittgenstein. While Philosophy is a vast realm of knowledge that 176 pages couldn't begin to do justice to, "Introducing" does a stellar job of covering each philosophical category just enough to pique the reader's interest for more information.

While fundamental human subjectivity renders it impossible for any writer to give a complete bird's eye view in their presentation of information, Robinson does a good job of giving as fair of an overview as possible. His own personal biases only intrude on the text a handful of times.

Overall, I would recommend this book and any other "Introducing" books to visual learners with a thirst for knowledge yet little time for quenching. These books provide a wealth of information yet can be read in a day or two. Any reader will find their knowledge enriched considerably after reading these books.

4-0 out of 5 stars Philosopy - a short review
excellent (one+ page per philosopher/philosophy) introduction. Done in comics style format, but outlines "gist" of major philosophies without resorting to typical unreadable jargon.

4-0 out of 5 stars More a primer than an introduction
This book is about 170 pages, but much of the space is taken by cartoons which add little substantive value, so the amount of text is more like a 50-page book.As a result, this book winds up being somewhat superficial.Robinson is well informed and does manage to cover nearly all of the key names and ideas in Western philosophy (Eastern philosophy isn't covered at all), but he only quickly skims along the surface rather than ever providing any depth of treatment.As a result, this book isn't a true introduction, and I can recommend it only with caveats, as follows:

1. Readers who are new to philosophy can use this book to get a general sense of what Western philosophy is about and who the key players are.The book can therefore be used as primer to philosophy, but you can't really study philosophy from this book, even at an introductory level.The book will enable you to drop some names and terminology at the fabled cocktail party, but you'd better hope that nobody wants to discuss them!

2. Readers who are at least somewhat versed in Western philosophy can use the book to jog their memory and get a quick birds-eye (re)view of the subject.And if you read the book slowly, you can read it critically and compare your views with Robinson's, thus using the book as a vehicle to respond to.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good solid introduction
This gives a good overview of Western philosophy from its beginning to modern times.It's well written and clearly explains the central tenants of particular philosophies as well as explaining the evolution of the "purpose" of philosophy over the centuries.It is definitely a great springboard for most major subjects in Western philosophy. ... Read more

11. The Philosophy of Philosophy (The Blackwell / Brown Lectures in Philosophy)
by Timothy Williamson
Hardcover: 352 Pages (2008-03-07)
list price: US$89.95 -- used & new: US$80.95
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Asin: 140513397X
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The second volume in the Blackwell Brown Lectures in Philosophy, this volume offers an original and provocative take on the nature and methodology of philosophy.

  • Based on public lectures at Brown University, given by the pre-eminent philosopher, Timothy Williamson
  • Rejects the ideology of the 'linguistic turn', the most distinctive trend of 20th century philosophy
  • Explains the method of philosophy as a development from non-philosophical ways of thinking
  • Suggests new ways of understanding what contemporary and past philosophers are doing
... Read more

12. Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology, Volume 1
by Ludwig Wittgenstein
Paperback: 422 Pages (1988-10-15)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$29.10
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Asin: 0226904369
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Wittgenstein finished part 1 of the Philosophical Investigations in the spring of 1945. From 1946 to 1949 he worked on the philosophy of psychology almost without interruption. The present two-volume work comprises many of his writings over this period. Some of the remarks contained here were culled for part 2 of the Investigations; others were set aside and appear in the collection known as Zettel. The great majority, however, although of excellent quality, have hitherto remained unpublished.

This bilingual edition of the Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology presents the first English translation of an essential body of Wittegenstein's work. It elaborates Wittgenstein's views on psychological concepts such as expectation, sensation, knowing how to follow a rule, and knowledge of the sensations of other persons. It also shows strong emphasis on the "anthropological" aspect of Wittgenstein's thought. Philosophers, as well as anthropologists, psychologists, and sociologists will welcome this important publication.
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13. What If....Collected Thought Experiments in Philosophy
by Peg Tittle
Paperback: 256 Pages (2004-05-15)
list price: US$34.80 -- used & new: US$26.00
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Asin: 0321202783
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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What If. . . Collected Thought Experiments in Philosophy is a brief, inexpensive collection of over 100 classic and contemporary “thought experiments”, each with an accompanying commentary, that explore philosophical arguments and often address a genuine problem in life. The value of the book is in its simplicity in both format and tone: Each thought experiment is accompanied by commentary that explains importance of the experiment, and questions to provoke thought and discussion, all encapsulated within two pages. The book is direct, clear and conversational but does not dilute difficult ideas.

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Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great companion for an intro to phosilophy course
This book greatly assists you in "doing philosophy" instead of simply reading it. It helped me prepare for class discussion by presenting me with many of the questions the professor was going to ask ahead of time. Several of the though experiments showed up on quizzes and tests. You'd do well to get this or Ultimate Questions: Thinking About Philosophy to help you "do" philosophy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect for Intro to Philosophy
I've used many anthologies for my philosophy courses, but none ever seemed to have all the thought experiments I wanted. In addition, like many other philosophy professors, I'd repeated some of the same imaginative scenarios so many times that I couldn't remember their origin or even if I'd invented them.

Tittle's book addressed both those problems for me. She did all the hard work when she tracked down these passages. That alone would have been enough for me to adopt the text for my classes, but she didn't stop there. She added short commentaries for each scenario; better, her commentaries are not explications but distillations that underscore for the reader exactly why these mental morsels are so philosophically intriguing and thereby so durable.

The whole range of philosophy is covered--logic, epistemology, philosophy of mind, ethics, political philosophy--all the stuff that a good course should cover.

If you know little about philosophy but want an accessible introduction, or if you are a philosophy professor and want a guaranteed stimulant for class discussion, this is the book for you.

4-0 out of 5 stars A very nice resource.
The somewhat deceptive title aside (the thought experiments are much more substantive than silly "what if..." scenarios), this collection of (mostly) bite-sized bits of philosophy, nicely organized into categories like metaphysics, knowledge, or ethics, has its place on my shelf.It's not only a good reference for finding famous thought experiments or puzzlements, it's also a nice way to get a taste of a variety of periods and ideas. ... Read more

14. Discovering Philosophy, Portfolio Edition (2nd Edition)
by Thomas I. White
Paperback: 480 Pages (2007-01-06)
list price: US$66.40 -- used & new: US$40.00
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Asin: 0132302128
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Discovering Philosophy is a comprehensive introduction to philosophy that is specially designed for readers who are more comfortable with secondary, rather than primary sources. Using more accessible content that is unintimidating yet intellectually engaging, it relates the philosophical issues to readers' own experiences and challenges them to do philosophy on their own. Presents excerpts from primary sources when appropriate, but relies primarily on summaries, explanations, and discussions of the major arguments on the issues involved; teaches readers not so much about what philosophers think, but how to think philosophically themselves; demonstrates that after understanding a philosopher's position we are supposed to react to it, not memorize it; explores the major, traditional areas and topics of philosophy – logic, free will/determinism, ethics, political obligation, the nature of reality, knowledge, the existence of God, the meaning of life.

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15. Heidegger's Analytic: Interpretation, Discourse and Authenticity in Being and Time (Modern European Philosophy)
by Taylor Carman
Paperback: 344 Pages (2007-08-20)
list price: US$39.99 -- used & new: US$32.90
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Asin: 0521038936
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Unlike those who view Heidegger as an idealist, Taylor Carman asserts that Heidegger is best understood as a realist and offers a new interpretation of his major work, Being and Time. Among the book's distinctive features are an interpretation explicitly oriented within a Kantian framework (often taken for granted in readings of Heidegger) and an analysis of Dasein in relation to recent theories of intentionality; notably those of Dennett and Searle. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars Being" is a revealing way of seeing; it is world disclosive
I read this book for a graduate seminar on philosophy.Taylor Carman's book helps to illuminate one of the most influential philosophical books of the twentieth century, Martin Heidegger's "Being and Time," which deconstructs phenomenology. Heidegger's kind of phenomenology has to do with the idea of phenomenon, which means something that appears and shows itself. His criticism of traditional philosophy is that it gets started with categories, concepts, and notions, departing from the way human comprehension of this world first shows itself. This is Aristotelian and Aristotle is an enormous influence on Heidegger.

Yet, there is something very radical going on here, and that is the idea of "being" is connected to meaning and negativity. In the history of philosophy, being has a positive concept, something that "is" thus, the opposite of being is none being. Heidegger wants to show how the meaning of being is distorted by this understanding of being as a purely positive concept, as a "thing" a full present entity. For Example, he also very much critiques in modern art, the modern conception of objectivity, the world is transformed into an object independent of art, of its significance, its meaning, or interest in it. This was due in large part because of modern science, and its strong sense of objectification converting nature into a set of mere objects, time, and space that are measurable and analyzable through scientific means. Meaning, importance, and significance for Heidegger equals value; science and nature have none of this as pure objects. Therefore, anything of meaning, and of significance would be transferred into the subject it would be simply the human estimation, nature itself has no meaning or significance in that respect.

Heidegger critiques this scientific model. As he says in his phenomenology, "Well how is it that human existence first understands itself? Here he is talking about things that are very ordinary and complex. We are in a world that has significance, it is meaningful to us, it matters to us, it fits into our interests in such a way that we are absorbed into its significance. So, when we come across the world, first and foremost it is not a mere object that is standing apart from us or our mind, but rather it has significant elements of our environment that fit into our lives. Some things are significant, or they are useful, or dangerous, or satisfying, etc. What Heidegger wants to say in his phenomenology is we have to pay attention to this way of being. Therefore, first and foremost he says "being" matters, it matters to us. "Being" is a significance, it is not just a bare object or a bare fact. Heidegger doesn't accept this idea of subject on one side and object on the other side, that means that when humans have their understanding of the world, it is not just a human projection, it is not just a human construction. It is a revealing way of seeing; it is world disclosive. The meaning of the world wouldn't happen without us, because we are the ones that find it meaningful. Therefore, it is most important to understand that for Heidegger there is no object subject distinction. The term he uses to illustrate his idea is "Dasien" which means "human existence," Heidegger chooses it because he doesn't want to deal with the subject, or mind or consciousness, he wants to use a word that does not subjectivefy things. He uses "Dasien" as "humans being there" in this world and not just staying apart from it.

Humans are a being in the world, a term he uses is, "we dwell" in the world, we don't come across it as some bare thing in the world we "dwell" in it. Therefore, "meaningfulness" is a primary notion of being. Secondly, the meaning of "being" is connected with the notion of negativity. This is the notion of "being" moving toward death, and anxiety. Thus, the way that humans understand being is in part because of opposite of non-being and death is a perfect example of that. Humans are distinct because we understand that we are mortal, that we die. We are aware of death even when we are not in danger, which means we understand being and our world. Heidegger made a lot out of the fact that the Greeks understood this, that they were mortals, and that was no accident he thought. That death is a primary aspect of what it means to be human. If you are aware of death as he says, then you can be aware of the meaning of life. The meaning of life comes to us because we understand that we are finite, that we are mortal and not in control.

Another way to understand Heidegger is a wonderful analysis of the idea that the word "being" has become a noun in philosophy, like first things of beings, or things that are. Yet Heidegger says in the Greek language and other western languages this idea of "being" grammatically in language is derived from a verb, the primary verb "to be." Moreover, as a verb it is tensed which means it has to do with time. All verbs are tensed, even Aristotle said, "That is the difference between a verb and a noun." The difference between a verb and a noun, a verb is something that has to do with time, not just action, but time. That is why all verbs are tensed as future, and past. The very fact that time is another perfect indication of negativity, because time is ever changing, ever moving, and when we are in the present, the past is time of negativity it is no longer. When we are in the present, the future is kind of negative it is not yet. Yet we understand these negatives as meaningful, that is why we can get upset about the past that it is not happening anymore, and why we can become excited about the future even though it hasn't happened yet, they have meaning to us.

Another important feature of Heidegger's book is where he takes on the notion of skepticism. Skepticism is a classic problem in philosophy, it is really fostered by Descartes and Hume, and it has to do with the subject/object division. Skeptics argue that the mind is on one side of the fence, the outside world is on the other side, and the mind is something that comes across the world and just processes it, according to its categories of thinking, this is a very common modern construction of skepticism. If this skeptical construct were true, then it is very possible for someone to ask the question; "well how do we know that our minds that are on this side of the fence can ever really know that it is accurately talking about what is on the other side of the fence? If it is separated like this, how can we be sure that what we think about is actually the case? Heidegger is not talking here about ordinary skepticism, like wonder or "I am not sure" kind of skepticism; but what Heidegger argues against is the kind of radical skepticism, which asks, can we be sure of any of our knowledge. This idea plays on two objects, the subject object divide if we are on this side of the subject how can we ever know we are accurately talking about something. Secondly, is the certainty because the skeptic is someone who says well, "I really want to find with 100% certainty, and if I can find any reason for doubt then I am not going to commit. Heidegger says this is a classic philosophical problem that doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Because, no existing human self could ever radically call into question its environment and this world. It doesn't make any sense. You can call into question this or that aspect of it, but never the whole thing and never to say; "well it's possible that what humans say about the world may not have anything to do with the world." Even Descartes and Hume knew this was perverse, but they said this is what philosophy has to do. Radical skepticism is perverse to Heidegger. Skeptics like Descartes and Hume if right why are they writing to an audience. The very practice of skepticism undermines the idea of skepticism. Heidegger says, "Well if our practices betray the project of skepticism, which even Hume admits, he says I would go mad." You can't live as a radical skeptic. This skepticism can apply to things like morals and beauty values and artistic things, because they don't satisfy strict standards of knowledge and certainty.

To reiterate, it is important to know that Heidegger primarily wants to say that the meaning of being, is something that humans are involved with in a significant meaningful way, and it can't be either subjective or objective, those two ideas he says are polarizations that both account for how the world matters to us. The fact that it matters to us means it can't be a pure objective thing. Secondly, the fact that what matters to us is our world not just our opinions and our inner dispositions mean it can't be just a subjective thing. We are absorbed in the world; we are caught up in it. Heidegger's phenomenology wants to give voice to these notions rather than start with the modern categories of subjectivity and objectivity.

I recommend this work for anyone interested in philosophy, epistemology, and ontology.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Book!
Carman's book is not only brilliant but entertaining.Amidst an amazing range of references, he fearlessly takes issue with virtually every other major interpreter of Heidegger, and the sparks do fly!For analytic and continental philosophers alike, this is an adventure in philosophical reading not to be missed!

3-0 out of 5 stars A good study
This book is a fine piece of scholarship, and it certainly stands out amongst other commentaries on Heidegger's thought, most of which are plagued by ideological tendentiousness and unclarity.Carman's book avoids both of these failings, and for that reason alone is well worth a read.

The guiding thesis of the book is that Heidegger's "analytic" in "Being and Time" should be understood as the provision of "hermeneutic conditions," i.e. the conditions under which human beings are able to interpretively make sense of the world.Focusing particularly on Heidegger's views on language and intentionality, Carman makes a fairly good case for this reading.

The main problem that I found in this book is that, by tying Heidegger's researches with contemporary Anglo-American thought so closely, Carman winds up distorting the real originality of Heidegger's thought.Heidegger's thought is so deeply unlike virtually everything else that has come along in the last 200 years that it is a mistake to assimilate his work to that of other philosophers. Commentators and readers alike need to keep Heidegger's own admonitions about his work in mind while reading him; this is a man, after all, once told his students that it was his "personal conviction" that his "hermeneutics" is not philosophy at all (Summer 1923), and who later said that "It is my belief that it is all over for philosophy" (Winter 1923-1924).

That said, Carman's work is an eminently readable, well-argued study that ought to be a paradigm for other scholars.While I have my doubts about attempts to make Heidegger into an analytic philosopher, I can only praise Carman's effort at making Heidegger speak to a contemporary audience about issues of universal philosophical concern. ... Read more

16. Greek Philosophy: Thales to Aristotle (Readings in the History of Philosophy)
Paperback: 446 Pages (1991-10-14)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$6.80
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Asin: 0029004950
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Widely praised for its accessibility and its concentration on the metaphysical issues that are most central to the history of Greek philosophy, Greek Philosophy: Thales to Aristotle offers a valuable introduction to the works of the Presocratics, Plato, and Aristotle.

For the Third Edition, Professor Allen has provided new translations of Socrates' speech in the Symposium and of the first five chapters of Aristotle's Categories, as well as new selections bearing on Aristotle's Theory of Infinity, Continuity, and Discreteness. The book also contains a general introduction which sets forth Professor Allen's distinctive and now widely accepted interpretation of the development of Greek philosophy and science, along with selective bibliography, and lists of suggested readings. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars not what was promised
The book's condition was a little more beat up than I would have liked to see it in. Please honestly tell what condition you are sending the book in, not just, very-good for everything.

5-0 out of 5 stars Allen's Greek Philosophy
For a teacher willing to present his or her own analysis of the period, but looking for an inexpensive source of well-translated key texts from the pre-Socratics to Aristotle, this collection is unbeatable. At 450 pages it contains more than enough core reading for a one-term course. Moreover, it includes the 'unmoved mover' argument from the 'Phaedrus', which its competitors, even at twice the length and thrice the price do not.

3-0 out of 5 stars quality book of original texts
This book does not deal with analysis, it is a book of the texts of the ancients. The textual translations are accurate, and the sources Allen provides for further research are sound. It is an inexpensive quality wayto learn the extant writings of the Ancients. If you are looking foranalysis or explanation, though -- look elsewhere. ... Read more

17. Core Questions in Philosophy (5th Edition)
by Elliott Sober
Paperback: 560 Pages (2008-03-23)
list price: US$78.00 -- used & new: US$38.00
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Asin: 0132437783
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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For introductory philosophy courses.


Presented in an engaging lecture-style format, this text/reader focuses on the basic issues and ideas in philosophy with lectures/discussions, supported by readings from historically important sources. Discussions emphasize the logic of philosophical arguments and how they relate to the content of modern physical and social sciences.


Core Questions in Philosophy emphasizes the idea that philosophy is a subject de­voted to evaluating arguments and constructing theories.

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Customer Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars What?
This book makes no sense. But it does try and explain the concept it is just really confusing.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Unexpected Delight
My work deals with understanding cooperation in humans. Since social interaction has a moral element, I have been ineluctably concerned with philosophical ethics. Although I studied a fair amount of philosophy in school, I did not study ethics, and I feel I have a rag-tag grounding in this aspect of modern philosophy. This is why I obtained Sober's undergrad textbook, which is really an intro to all of Western philosophy.

This book is nothing like my own introduction to philosophy, which consisted exclusively in reading excerpts from the great philosophers of the past, accompanied by the professor's lectures, which went 'way over my head. Now, my background was in math and physics, and I never read the classics in those fields (you need a dictionary to understand these old guys, and their notation was usually horrible). Sober's text is so refreshing! In each of the major areas of philosophy (he doesn't deal with logic, philosophy of science, philosopchy of mathematics, and other specialized areas) he provides a lucid overview as well as a critique of the various views and his own assessment of which is correct and which is not. I agreed with him almost 100% of the time, and I found his analysis quite cogent and lucid.

The bottom line is that this book is excellent both for beginners and those who want to brush up. It is also a great read.

Sober's treatment of ethical philosophy gets five stars for exposition, but only three for analysic and critique, in my view. I share Sober's deep appreciation for Aristotle and virtue ethics in general, the major attraction of which is its self-characterization as a set of principles for leading the good life. Virtue ethics thus avoids the utilitiarian/deontological problem: why should we be moral? For virtue ethics, moral behavior is its own reward, the main problem being (a) have the fortitute and self-discipline to behave morally, and (b) figuring out exactly what the moral thing to do is. If this view is correct (I think it is) then the ethical theories of the past few centuries, virtue ethics aside, are completely misguided. As to the content of morality, Sober correctly criticizes Aristotle for thinking that virtue is unitary, when in fact his own conceptual framework is more consonant with the view that there are many virtuous paths, and virtue is in part culturally specific.

Recently, there have been serious efforts to answer the question as to the content of morality by treating moral discourse in much the same manner as communicative discourse: there are some basic organizing principles, but basically there are many different moral discourses and our job as scientists is assess their comunalities and differences, as well as modeling how moral discourses diffuse, expand, contract, become extinct, mutate and emerge, etc. In this sense, ethical theory should be like linguistics, where the structure of valid utterances are deduced from social practice, not by the idle intuitions of professional philosophers. See, for instance, David Wong's Natural Moralities: A Defense of Pluralistic Relativism.

5-0 out of 5 stars Better than I expected
When the seller says it's "Like New", it really is like new. I couldn't even tell that it was used because the front cover was not folded in the corners nor were the pages inside creased in anyway. I was really satisfied with my purchase. Thanks!!


5-0 out of 5 stars Review
Arrived in good condition.It was a little late but that was due to natural disaster.

5-0 out of 5 stars Core Question in Philosophy
The delivery and condition of this book was fantastic! I recieved the book fast! I am totally satisfied! :) ... Read more

18. Philosophy of Biology: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy)
by Alex Rosenberg, Daniel W. McShea
Paperback: 256 Pages (2007-12-22)
list price: US$35.95 -- used & new: US$21.24
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Asin: 041531593X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This comprehensive and balanced introduction to the philosophy of biology takes a fresh look at the subject in an accessible way. Alex Rosenberg clarifies the philosophical problems relevant to biologists, discussing how eminent biologists from Darwin to Lewontin have addressed these issues, and showing how philosophy of biology is indispensable for biologists. This user-friendly book will appeal to students of biology and philosophy. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars First in Class
There have been several books carrying the ostensibly vague, if not pompous, title of "Philosophy of Biology" (see the two edited by Hull and Ruse, one for Oxford and the other for Cambridge University Press; and one by Ruse for Prometheus). Most of the others are compilations of essays written by diverse writers. One will find Rosenberg and McShea refreshingly original. It is profound and yet lucid. It stated its aims clearly, explaining from the outset the meaning of the phrase "The Philosophy of Biology" as an inquiry into the science of biology, not limited to what it actually does as a science, or its methods as such, but to scrutinise its scope and limits. A study of this kind will necessarily inquire into the possibilities and potential of this science, and questions its strength and the challenges that it faces, notably from religious quarters seeking to damn it as quixotic in so far as they think that some questions of life are impenetrable to science; and others who think that they can masquerade religion as science.

The thrust of the book lies in its explanation of "Darwinism", especially as to what it means scientifically, and what it has achieved or proven and what its problems are. It seems clear from this book that the problems of Darwinism are problems of science. However, many questions arise which have cross-disciplinary interests. The role and extent of adaptation in the evolution of living things is a fertile field. Why do distinct species evolve with common traits and what cause the development of those traits? How do we evaluate the effect of randomness in evolution?

2009 marks the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and 150th anniversary of the publication of "The Origin of Species". It may be worthwhile to read the latter again after reading Rosenberg to see just how far we have come since Darwin, and why we owe so much to its author. Darwinism casts such an awesome shadow that underneath it, the flower of Creationism can no longer bloom. Creationism, "intelligent" design and various unscientific intrusions into science have tended to distract scientists and philosophers from their work. Rosenberg and McShea also felt obliged to answer some of the claims of Behe when they could have concentrated on the impartial examination of life, free from the vanity that humans are central to the universe.

This book is not difficult even for people who have no knowledge of biology, philosophy, or Darwinism. ... Read more

19. Pleasures of Philosophy
by Durant
 Paperback: Pages (1999-12-31)
list price: US$15.95
Isbn: 0671581104
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars A Joy of Understanding of Human Life and Destiny

"There is a pleasure in philosophy, a lure even in the mirages of metaphysics. We strive with the chaos about and within, but we should believe all the while that there is something vital and significant in us, could we but decipher our own souls."Will Durant

Joy of understanding:
Logic, Aesthetics, Ethics, Politics , and finally, metaphysics are the five parts of philosophy, Durant perceived that so dismembered philosophy loses its beauty and its joy. We should seek it not in its shriveled abstractness and formality, argued Will Durant, but clothed in the living form of genius. He advocated with Ariel, his wife and partner, that we should study not merely philosophies, but also philosophers. We should spend our time with the saints and martyrs of thought, letting their radiant spirits play about us until perhaps we too, in some measure, shall partake of what Da-Vinci called 'the noblest pleasure, a joy of understanding.' In his

Pleasure of Philosophy:
Epicurus of Samos died in 270 B.C., and his philosophy had been controversial since then. One reason is our tendency to reject pleasure as morally good. Durant has let down Freud theory of the 'pleasure principle' and Nietzsche glorification of the instincts, associated with evil and perversion, based on their unsound anti-Epicurian tendencies. Pleasure inclusive usages, according to Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, are most important in moral psychology, ethical theory, and the studies of the mind, including all joy and gladness, feeling good, or happy. Pleasure, as both intellectual and physical stimulation, promote happier philosophy fans. Intellectual pleasure, argues Roger Scruton, arise in contemplation, during the senses feast on favored subjects, when we rise above our purpose and begin to enjoy what we are doing for its own sake.

Science without Philosophy:
Science wishes to resolve the whole into parts, the organism into organs, the obscure into the known. Science tell us how to heal and how to kill. It reduces the death rate in retail and then kills us wholesale in war. But only wisdom, desire coordinated in the light of all experience, can tell us when to heal and when to kill. To observe processes and to construct means is science. To criticize and coordinate ends is philosophy. Science is analytical description; philosophy is synthetic interpretation. But, because in these days our means and instruments have multiplied beyond our interpretation and synthesis of ideals and ends, our life is 'full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.' For a fact is nothing except in relation to desire. It is not complete except in relation to a purpose and a whole. Science without philosophy, facts without perspective and valuation, cannot save us from despair.

Author's review:
Twenty years after its first publication in 1929 as, 'the mansions of philosophy,' 'and inquiries for it have mounted to the point where a new edition seemed forgivable, in the authors own words, he gave this confession as a preface to his revised edition, despite its gay new title!
"Some pages betray their composition a quarter of a century ago, and the reader will smile at several bad guesses that they contain; I have since found it safer to write about the past than about the future (Durant: the historian). Certain pages are heavily sentimental, but they still express me faithfully. others are cynical or unduly pessimistic, especially in chapter 18, 'Is Democracy A Failure?'; having discovered my own fallibility, i should be more lenient now... Despite these sins the book has, I like to believe, some redeeming qualities; and I send it forth again on the seas of ink to find here and there a kindred soul in the country of the mind." Will Durant, lake Hill, NY, November 15, 1952

A prolific writer:
Born in North Adams, Massachusetts, in 1885, he studied in Catholic schools there and in, New Jersey.He was destined for holy orders, but in 1903, he discovered the works of some 'alluring infidels': Darwin, Huxley, Spencer and Haeckel, in Jersey City Public Library.Will Durant was a prolific writer, of more than 6 million words for The Story of Civilization alone. He was a prolific letter writer who replied to his extensive fan mail every week, taking time out from his professional obligations to answer letters from friends, fans and colleagues

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best on the subject. especially for beginners.
A real pleasure to read. This is the book which can open new vistas for any reader and is written in Mr.Durrants inimitable style. Only if philosophy could be made as pleasurable as this!The chapter on how he & Ariel raised their daughter can be an ideal marriage gift for newly weds. ... Read more

20. Understanding African Philosophy: A Cross-cultural Approach to Classical and Contemporary Issues (Philosophy and the Human Situation)
by Richard H. Bell
Paperback: 240 Pages (2002-04-03)
list price: US$30.95 -- used & new: US$18.99
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Asin: 0415939372
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Understanding African Philosophy serves as a critical guide to some of the most important issues in modern African philosophy. Richard Bell introduces readers to the complexity of Africa, the legacy of colonialism, the challenges of post independence Africa, and other recent developments in African Philosophy. Chapters discuss the value of African oral and written texts for philosophy, concepts of "negritude," "African socialism," and "race," as well as current discussions in international development ethics connected to poverty and human suffering. Two chapters are focused on moral issues related to community, justice, and civic responsibility. Bell's sensitivity to and engagement with the complications of cross-cultural understandings help non-African readers connect with African culture and thought. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Engaging Introduction to African Moral/Political Philosophy
Borrowing from Wittgenstein, Bell begins by asserting that the primary purpose of philosophy is to help us "see something as it is."This claimundergirds the organization of the work.The first section (chapter 1) draws heavily on Ludwig Wittgenstein and Peter Winch to help the reader develop a cross-cultural interpretative framework to help the reader focuses on the concepts and ideas of African philosophers rather than obscure them with their own cultural baggage.The second section (chapters 2 and 3) is a survey of modern African philosophy focused on major schools of thought, e.g. ethnophilosophy, negritude, African socialism and "professional philosophy."The next section (chapters 4 to 6) is essentially applied moral philosophy.Bell uses contemporary problems, e.g. widespread poverty and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to tease out the ideas and approaches of philosophers, (literary) writers and sometimes statesmen.The last chapter attempts to show the ways in which a notion of narrative in African philosophy can move beyond the philosophical text and embrace literature, music and orality (or orature).

Bell clearly intends for the work to be used in introductory philosophy courses and includes a preface with suggested anthologies of African philosophy and suggested uses for classes.However, his work deals primarily with moral philosophy and secondarily with political philosophy.There is little direct treatment of metaphysics, systems of African thought or epistemology.(Epistemology is certainly alluded to in his discussions of the starting points for philosophy.)

It is a short, interesting read from a writer who is not shy about inserting his own opinions in the work.For the general reader, it is likely to be much more engaging than Hallen's Short History.However, I think I learned more about the individual philosophers' approaches from Hallen.(BTW, for those who like to write in books, this edition has large margins.) ... Read more

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