Beginning Philosophy

Beginning Philosophy

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Beginning Philosophy offers students and general readers a uniquely straightforward yet challenging introduction to fundamental philosophical problems. Readily accessible to novices yet rich enough for more experienced readers, it combines serious investigation across a wide range of subjects in analytic philosophy with a clear, user-friendly writing style. Topics include logic and reasoning, the theory of knowledge, the nature of the external world, the mind/body problem, normative ethics, metaethics, free will, the existence of God, and the problem of evil. A concluding chapter outlines the worldview developed in the text and connects that view to questions about the meaning of life. The interconnection of philosophical problems and the relationship of philosophy and science are emphasized throughout. The book includes both extensive quotes from historical figures such as Aquinas, Descartes, and Hume and references to philosophically minded nonphilosophers like Dostoevski, Stephen Jay Gould, and Carl Sagan. Beginning Philosophy is designed for use in introductory philosophy courses at a wide range of institutions.
It contains numerous pedagogical materials at the end of each chapter: sections called "misconceptions" list errors that introductory readers should avoid; guide questions prompt students to explain in their own words what the text is saying; review questions help students prepare for examinations; open-ended discussion questions call for independent judgment; and annotated bibliographies provide suggestions for further reading. The volume is further enhanced by a list of famous quotations from philosophers, a glossary of philosophical terms, a glossary of names of the most famous philosophers and scientists discussed in the text, and an extensive bibliography listing every work cited.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 165.9 x 233.9 x 19.3mm | 587.22g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Annotated
  • 2 line drawings
  • 0195117816
  • 9780195117813

Table of contents

PREFACE ; 1. INTRODUCTION ; What Is Philosophy? ; How Is Philosophy Possible? ; A Survey of the Topics Covered in the Text ; Why Do Philosophy? ; 2. SOME METHODOLOGICAL TOOLS ; Definition and Meaning ; Logic ; Inference to the Best Explanation ; Cognitive Errors ; Methodological Tools at Work ; Logical Definitions Chart ; 3. THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE ; Epistemology and Epistemic Agency ; The General Problem of Skepticism ; Specific Skeptical Problems ; Inference to the Best Explanation ; A Challenge to the Theory of Knowledge ; Misconceptions about the Theory of Knowledge ; 4. THE NATURE OF THE EXTERNAL WORLD ; Direct Realism ; Scientific Realism ; Phenomenalism ; A Final Remark on the Debate Between the Realists and the Phenomenalists ; 5. THE MIND/BODY PROBLEM ; Dualistic Theories ; Materialism ; Artificial Intelligence as a challenge for Materialism ; Conclusion ; Misconceptions about the Mind/Body Problem ; 6. NORMATIVE ETHICS ; Some Problematic Theories of Moral Obligation ; Two Main Approaches to Moral Obligation: Consequentialism and Deontology ; Mixed Thoeries and What They Show about Normative Ethics ; 7. METAETHICS ; Objectivist Theories of Moral Judgments ; Subjectivism ; A Final Assessment of the Dispute Between the Objectivists and Subjectivists ; 8. THE FREE WILL PROBLEM ; Six Theories ; Summary of the Six Theories ; The Four Questions Considered ; The Case for Subjectivism ; Misconceptions about the Free Will Problem ; 9. THE EXISTENCE OF GOD ; Faith-Based Arguments for the Existence of God ; A Posteriori Arguments for the Existence of God ; An A Priori Argument for the Existence of God: The Ontological Argument ; The Casw for Atheism ; 10.THE PROBLEM OF EVIL ; The Best of All Possible Worlds ; Evil as a Necessary Part of Any WOrld ; The Virtue (Soul-Making) Defense ; The Free Will Defense ; Animal Suffering ; A Problem of Goodness? ; 11. A TOTAL PICTURE ; Philosophy as Worldview Construction ; A Worldview ; The Meaning of Life ; DISCUSSION QUESTIONS ; FOR FURTHER READING ; PHILOSOPHICAL QUOTES ; GLOSSARY OF PHILOSOPHICAL TERMS ; GLOSSARY OF NAMES ; WORKS CITED ; INDEX ; CHAPTERS 3-10 OPEN WITH AN INTRODUCTION ; CHAPTERS 1-10 INCLUDE GUIDE QUESTIONS, REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR EXAMINATIONS, DISCUSSION QUESTIONS, AND FOR FURTHER READING
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Review quote

highly recommended. ... Richard Double's introduction is sufficient to provide teachers with material for a thorough grounding course in the subject. Maximilian de Gaynesford, highly recommended TLS 27/04/01
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