The Philosopher's Toolkit

The Philosopher's Toolkit : A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods

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The second edition of this popular compendium provides thenecessary intellectual equipment to engage with and participate ineffective philosophical argument, reading, and reflection * Features significantly revised, updated and expanded entries,and an entirely new section drawn from methods in the history ofphilosophy * This edition has a broad, pluralistic approach--appealing toreaders in both continental philosophy and the history ofphilosophy, as well as analytic philosophy * Explains difficult concepts in an easily accessible manner, andaddresses the use and application of these concepts * Proven useful to philosophy students at both beginning andadvanced levels

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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 24mm | 459.99g
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • Wiley-Blackwell (an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Ltd)
  • Chicester, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised
  • 2nd Revised edition
  • 1405190183
  • 9781405190183
  • 29,833

Back cover copy

Building a solid intellectual foundation is crucial if one wishes to engage effectively in the practice of philosophy. This second edition of "The Philosopher's Toolkit" provides readers with the essential tools -- the intellectual equipment - necessary for participating in thoughtful philosophical argument, reading and reflection. The book begins with the basics of philosophical argumentation before moving on to address the important tools for assessment and criticism, the limits of argumentation and some of the radical critiques of standard philosophical methodology. Written in a highly accessible style, the entries are brought to life through the inclusion of vivid and colourful examples. For the second edition, many of the volume's original 87 entries have been enhanced, extended and updated, an entirely new chapter has been added on methods drawn from the history of philosophy, and the suggestions for further reading have been expanded. This ingenious compendium of the methodologies and techniques of philosophy can be put to effective use in a variety of ways - as an introduction to the essentials of philosophical reflection, a comprehensive course on philosophical method or a quick reference for clear and concise accounts of key philosophical concepts and methods.

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Review quote

" The Philosopher's Toolkit is a very good book. It could behighly useful for both introductory courses in philosophy, orphilosophical methodology, as well as independent study for anyoneinterested in the methods of argument, assessment and criticismused in contemporary analytic philosophy. It is unique in approach,and written in a pleasant and considerate tone. Its authors areboth competent philosophers, and the book visibly reflects theirdeep sympathy to the discipline and their appreciation of itsunique character. This book will help one to get going to dophilosophy, but more advanced students might find this text helpfultoo. I wish I had had access to this book as an undergraduate."( Teaching Philosophy) "This book is ... an encyclopedia of philosophy. It should be ofgreat use as a quick and accurate reference guide to the skill ofphilosophy, especially for beginners, but also for instructors ...highly recommended." (Choice) "Its choice of tools for basic argument ... is sound, whilefurther tools for argument ... move through topics and examplesconcisely and wittily... Sources are well chosen and indicated stepby step. Sections are cross-referenced (making it better than theTeach Youself "100 philosophical concepts") and supported by auseful index." (Reference Reviews) "...the average person who is interested in arguments and logicbut who doesn't have much background in philosophy would certainlyfind this book useful, as would anyone teaching a course onarguments, logic, and reasoning. Even introductory courses onphilosophy in general might benefit because the book lays out somany of the conceptual "tools" which will prove necessary overstudents' careers." (

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About Julian Baggini

Julian Baggini ( is a freelance writerand co-founding editor of The Philosophers Magazine. Peter S. Fosl is Professor of Philosophy at TransylvaniaUniversity in Lexington, Kentucky.

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Table of contents

Preface. Acknowledgements. 1. Basic Tools for Argument. 1.1 Arguments, premises and conclusions. 1.2 Deduction. 1.3 Induction. 1.4 Validity and soundness. 1.5 Invalidity. 1.6 Consistency. 1.7 Fallacies. 1.8 Refutation. 1.9 Axioms. 1.10 Definitions. 1.11 Certainty and probability. 1.12 Tautologies, self-contradictions and the law ofnon-contradiction. 2. More Advanced Tools. 2.1 Abduction. 2.2 Hypothetico-deductive method. 2.3 Dialectic. 2.4 Analogies. 2.5 Anomalies and exceptions that prove the rule. 2.6 Intuition pumps. 2.7 Logical constructions. 2.8 Reduction. 2.9 Thought experiments. 2.10 Useful fictions. 3. Tools for Assessment. 3.1 Alternative explanations. 3.2 Ambiguity. 3.3 Bivalence and the excluded middle. 3.4 Category mistakes. 3.5 Ceteris paribus. 3.6 Circularity. 3.7 Conceptual incoherence. 3.8 Counterexamples. 3.9 Criteria. 3.10 Error theory. 3.11 False dichotomy. 3.12 False cause. 3.13 Genetic fallacy. 3.14 Horned dilemmas. 3.15 Is/ought gap. 3.16 Masked man fallacy. 3.17 Partners in guilt. 3.18 Principle of charity. 3.19 Question-begging. 3.20 Reductios. 3.21 Redundancy. 3.22 Regresses. 3.23 Saving the phenomena. 3.24 Self-defeating arguments. 3.25 Sufficient reason. 3.26 Testability. 4. Tools for Conceptual Distinctions. 4.1 A priori/a posteriori. 4.2 Absolute/relative. 4.3 Analytic/synthetic 4.4 Categorical/modal. 4.5 Conditional/biconditional. 4.6 De re/de dicto. 4.7 Defeasible/indefeasible. 4.8 Entailment/implication. 4.9 Essence/accident. 4.10 Internalism/externalism. 4.11 Knowledge by acquaintance/description. 4.12 Necessary/contingent. 4.13 Necessary/sufficient. 4.14 Objective/subjective. 4.15 Realist/non-realist. 4.16 Sense/reference. 4.17 Syntax/semantics. 4.18 Thick/thin concepts. 4.19 Types/tokens. 5. Tools of Historical Schools and Philosophers. 5.1 Aphorism, fragment, remark. 5.2 Categories and specific differences. 5.3 Elenchus and aporia. 5.4 Hume's fork. 5.5 Indirect discourse. 5.6 Leibniz's law of identity. 5.7 Ockham's razor. 5.8 Phenomenological method(s). 5.9 Signs and signifiers. 5.10 Transcendental argument. 6. Tools for Radical Critique. 6.1 Class critique. 6.2 Deconstruction and the critique of presence. 6.3 Empiricist critique of metaphysics. 6.4 Feminist critique. 6.5 Foucaultian critique of power. 6.6 Heideggerian critique of metaphysics. 6.7 Lacanian critique. 6.8 Critiques of naturalism. 6.9 Nietzschean critique of Christian-Platonic culture. 6.10 Pragmatist critique. 6.11 Sartrean critique of 'bad faith'. 7. Tools at the Limit. 7.1 Basic beliefs. 7.2 Godel and incompleteness. 7.3 Philosophy and/as art. 7.4 Mystical experience and revelation. 7.5 Paradoxes. 7.6 Possibility and impossibility. 7.7 Primitives. 7.8 Self-evident truths. 7.9 Scepticism. 7.10 Underdetermination. Internet Resources for Philosophers. Index.

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