The Great Conversation

The Great Conversation : A Historical Introduction to Philosophy

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Now in its fifth edition, this historically organized introductory text treats philosophy as a dramatic and continuous story--a conversation about humankind's deepest and most persistent concerns. Tracing the exchange of ideas between history's key philosophers, The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy, Fifth Edition, demonstrates that while constructing an argument or making a claim, one philosopher almost always has others in mind. The book addresses the fundamental questions of human life: Who are we? What can we know? How should we live? and What sort of reality do we inhabit? The fifth edition retains the distinctive feature of previous editions: author Norman Melchert provides a generous selection of excerpts from major philosophical works and makes them more easily understandable to students with his lucid and engaging explanations. Ranging from the Pre-Socratics to Derrida and Quine, the selections are organized historically and include four complete works: Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito, and Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy. The author's commentary offers a rich intellectual and cultural context for the philosophical ideas conveyed in the excerpts. Extensive cross-referencing shows students how philosophers respond appreciatively or critically to the thoughts of other philosophers. The text is enhanced by two types of exercises--"Basic Questions" and "For Further Thought"--and more than sixty illustrations. New to the Fifth Edition: * A new chapter (25) on Simone de Beauvoir and her contributions to philosophy * New material on Buddhist, Muslim, and Jewish thinkers, including profiles of the Buddha, Avicenna (Ibn Sina), Averroes (Ibn Rushd), and Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon) * A new profile of Jean-Jacques Rousseau * Improved translations of several of Plato's works, including Protagoras, Gorgias, Phaedo, Symposium,Meno, and the Republic * Review questions that are now dispersed throughout the chapters (instead of at chapter ends) to follow relevant passages and facilitate classroom discussion * Thirteen new images, including seven explanatory cartoons that help students understand key concepts * A revised Instructor's Manual and Test Bank containing essential points, teaching suggestions, and multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay exam questions The Great Conversation, Fifth Edition, is also available in two paperback volumes to suit your course needs. Volume I: Pre-Socratics through Descartes includes chapters 1-13 of the combined volume, while Volume II: Descartes through Derrida and Quine includes chapters more

Product details

  • Hardback | 784 pages
  • 193.04 x 236.22 x 35.56mm | 1,478.7g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • 5th Revised edition
  • 67 line drawings and halftones
  • 0195306821
  • 9780195306828
  • 1,660,533

Review quote

"The Great Conversation, Fifth Edition, is unquestionably the best philosophy textbook I have ever read. My students love the book. Melchert writes with utter clarity and his examples are superb. His careful choice of primary sources and brilliant use of them in his prose is nothing short of genius. I generally cringe at the wooden writing style of textbooks, and find some philosophy texts particularly deadly. Melchert's text shatters all of my textbook nightmares."--Thomas Bell, Brevard Collegeshow more

Table of contents

*=NEW TO THIS EDITION; 1. BEFORE PHILOSOPHY: MYTH IN HESIOD AND HOMER; Hesiod: War among the Gods; Homer: Heroes, Gods, and Excellence; 2. PHILOSOPHY BEFORE SOCRATES; Thales: The One as Water; Anaximander: The One as the Boundless; Xenophanes: The Gods as Fictions; PROFILE: PYTHAGORAS; Heraclitus: Oneness in the Logos; Parmenides: Only the One; Zeno: The Paradoxes of Common Sense; Atomism: The One and the Many Reconciled; 3. THE SOPHISTS: RHETORIC AND RELATIVISM IN ATHENS; Democracy; The Persian Wars; The Sophists; Physis and Nomos; Athens and Sparta at War; Aristophanes and Reaction; 4. SOCRATES: TO KNOW ONESELF; Character; Is Socrates a Sophist?; What Socrates "Knows"; 5. THE TRIAL AND DEATH OF SOCRATES; Translator's Introduction; The Dialogue; Commentary and Questions; Translator's Introduction; The Dialogue; Commentary and Questions; Translator's Introduction; The Dialogue; Commentary and Questions; Phaedo (Death Scene); Translator's Introduction; The Dialogue (Selection); Commentary and Questions; 6. PLATO: KNOWING THE REAL AND THE GOOD; Knowledge and Opinion; The World and the Forms; The Love of Wisdom; The Soul; Morality; The State; Problems with the Forms; 7. ARISTOTLE: THE REALITY OF THE WORLD; Aristotle and Plato; Logic and Knowledge; The World; First Philosophy; The Soul; The Good Life; Virtue or Excellence (Arete); 8. EPICUREANS, STOICS, AND SKEPTICS: HAPPINESS FOR THE MANY; The Epicureans; The Stoics; The Skeptics; 9. THE CHRISTIANS: SIN, SALVATION, AND LOVE; Background; Jesus; The Meaning of Jesus; 10. AUGUSTINE: GOD AND THE SOUL; Wisdom, Happiness, and God; The Interior Teacher; God and the World; Human Nature and Its Corruption; Human Nature and Its Restoration; Augustine on Relativism; The Two Cities; Christians and Philosophers; 11. ANSELM AND AQUINAS: EXISTENCE AND ESSENCE IN GOD AND THE WORLD; Anselm: On That, Than Which No Greater Can Be Conceived; Thomas Aquinas: Rethinking Aristotle; * PROFILE: AVICENNA (IBN SIN=A); * PROFILE: AVERROES (IBN RUSHD); * PROFILE: MAIMONIDES (MOSES BEN MAIMON); Ockham and Skeptical Doubts--Again; 12. MOVING FROM MEDIEVAL TO MODERN; The World God Made for Us; The Humanists; Reforming the Church; Skeptical Thoughts Revived; Copernicus to Kepler to Galileo: The Great Triple Play; 13. RENE DESCARTES: DOUBTING OUR WAY TO CERTAINTY; The Method; Meditations: Commentary and Questions; Meditation I; Meditation II; Meditation III; Meditation IV; Meditation V; Meditation VI; What Has Descartes Done?; 14. HOBBES, LOCKE, AND BERKELEY: MATERIALISM AND THE BEGINNINGS OF EMPIRICISM; Thomas Hobbes: Catching Persons in the Net of the New Science; PROFILE: FRANCIS BACON; John Locke: Looking to Experience; George Berkeley: Ideas into Things; 15. DAVID HUME: UNMASKING THE PRETENSIONS OF REASON; How Newton Did It; To Be the Newton of Human Nature; The Theory of Ideas; The Association of Ideas; Causation: The Very Idea; The Disappearing Self; * PROFILE: THE BUDDHA; Rescuing Human Freedom; Is It Reasonable to Believe in God?; Understanding Morality; Is Hume a Skeptic?; 16. IMMANUEL KANT: REHABILITATING REASON (WITHIN STRICT LIMITS); Critique; Judgments; Geometry, Mathematics, Space, and Time; Common Sense, Science, and the A Priori Categories; PROFILE: BARUCH SPINOZA; Phenomena and Noumena; PROFILE: GOTTFRIED WILHELM VON LEIBNIZ; Reasoning and the Ideas of Metaphysics: God, World, and Soul; Reason and Morality; * PROFILE: JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU; 17. GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH HEGEL: TAKING HISTORY SERIOUSLY; Historical and Intellectual Context; Epistemology Internalized; PROFILE: ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER; Self and Others; Stoic and Skeptical Consciousness; Hegel's Analysis of Christianity; Reason and Reality: The Theory of Idealism; Spirit Made Objective: The Social Character of Ethics; History and Freedom; 18. KIERKEGAARD AND MARX: TWO WAYS TO "CORRECT" HEGEL; Kierkegaard: On Individual Existence; Marx: Beyond Alienation and Exploitation; 19. THE UTILITARIANS: MORAL RULES AND THE HAPPINESS OF ALL (INCLUDING WOMEN); The Classic Utilitarians; The Rights of Women; 20. FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE: THE VALUE OF EXISTENCE; Pessimism and Tragedy; Good-bye Real World; The Death of God; Revaluation of Values; The Overman; Affirming Eternal Recurrence; 21. THE PRAGMATISTS: THOUGHT AND ACTION; Charles Sanders Peirce; John Dewey; PROFILE: WILLIAM JAMES; 22. ANALYSIS: LOGICAL ATOMISM AND THE LOGICAL POSITIVISTS; Language and Its Logic; PROFILE: BERTRAND RUSSELL; Ludwig Wittgenstein: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus; Logical Positivism; 23. ORDINARY LANGUAGE: "THIS IS SIMPLY WHAT I DO"; The Later Wittgenstein: Philosophical Investigations; The Continuity of Wittgenstein's Thought; Our Groundless Certainty; 24. MARTIN HEIDEGGER: THE MEANING OF BEING; What Is the Question?; The Clue; Phenomenology; PROFILE: JEAN-PAUL SARTRE; Being-in-the-World; The "Who" of Dasein; Modes of Disclosure; Falling-Away; Care; Truth; Death; Conscience, Guilt, and Resoluteness; Temporality as the Meaning of Care; The Priority of Being; * 25. SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR: EXISTENTIALIST, FEMINIST; * Ambiguity; * Ethics; * Woman; 26. POSTMODERNISM AND PHYSICAL REALISM: DERRIDA, RORTY, QUINE, AND DENNETT; Postmodernism; Physical Realismshow more

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131 ratings
3.92 out of 5 stars
5 34% (45)
4 37% (49)
3 19% (25)
2 5% (6)
1 5% (6)
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