The Philosopher's Toolkit

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

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The Philosopher's Toolkit provides all the intellectual equipment necessary to engage with and participate in philosophical argument, reading and reflection. Each of its 87 entries explains how to use an important concept or argumentative technique accurately and effectively.Beginning with the basics of argumentation, the book moves on to deal with tools for assessment and criticism, as well as the limits of argumentation and some of the radical critiques of standard philosophical methodology. Written in an engaging style, the entries are brought to life with vivid and colourful examples and are accompanied by suggestions for further reading. This ingenious compendium of the methods and techniques of philosophy can be used in a variety of ways: as an introduction to the essentials of philosophical reflection, as a comprehensive course on philosophical method, or as a reference book to which readers can turn to find quick and clear accounts of key concepts and methods. The Philosopher's Toolkit is essential reading for anyone who wants to philosophise well.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 232 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 25.4mm | 473g
  • Blackwell Publishers
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0
  • 063122873X
  • 9780631228738

Table of contents

Part I: Basic Tools for Argument: 1. Arguments, Premises and Conclusions. 2. Deduction. 3. Induction. 4. Validity and Soundness. 5. Invalidity. 6. Consistency. 7. Fallacies. 8. Refutation. 9. Axioms. 10. Definitions. 11. Certainty and Probability. 12. Tautologies, Self-Contradictions and the Law of Non-Contradiction. Part II: Further Tools for Argument: 13. Abduction. 14. Hypothetico-Deductive Method. 15. Dialectic. 16. Analogies. 17. Anomalies and Exceptions that Prove the Rule. 18. Intuition Pumps. 19. Logical Constructions. 20. Reduction. 21. Thought Experiments. 22. Transcendental Arguments. 23. Useful Fictions. Part III: Tools for Assessment: 24. Alternative Explanations. 25. Ambiguity. 26. Bivalence and the Excluded Middle. 27. Category Mistakes. 28. Ceteris Paribus. 29. Circularity. 30. Conceptual Incoherence. 31. Counterexamples. 32. Criteria. 33. Error Theory. 34. False Dichotomy. 35. Genetic Fallacy. 36. Horned Dilemmas. 37. Hume's Fork. 38. Is/ought Gap. 39. Leibniz's Law of Identity. 40. Masked Man Fallacy. 41. Ockham's Razor. 42. Paradoxes. 43. Partners in Guilt. 44. Principles of Charity. 45. Question-Begging. 46. Reductions. 47. Redundancy. 48. Regresses. 49. Saving the Phenomena. 50. Self-defeating Arguments. 51. Sufficient Reason. 52. Testability. Part IV: Tools for Conceptual Distinctions: 53. A Priori/A Posteriori. 54. Absolute/Relative. 55. Analytic/Synthetic. 56. Categorical/Modal. 57. Conditional/Biconditional. 58. Defeasible/Indefeasible. 59. Entailment/Implication. 60. Essence/Accident. 61. Knowledge by Acquaintance/Description. 62. Necessary/Contingent. 63. Necessary/Sufficient. 64. Objective/Subjective. 65. Realist/Non-Realist. 66. Sense/Reference. 67. Syntax/Semantics. 68. Thick/Thin Concepts. 69. Types/Tokens. Part V: Tools for Radical Critique: 70. Class Critique. 71. Deconstruction and the Critique of Presence. 72. Empiricist Critique of Metaphysics. 73. Feminist Critiques. 74. Foucaultian Critique of Power. 75. Heideggerian Critique of Metaphysics. 76. Lacanian Critique. 77. Nietzschean Critique of Christian-Platonic Culture. 78. Pragmatist Critique. 79. Sartrean Critique of 'Bad Faith'. Part VI: Tools at the Limit: 80. Basic Beliefs. 81. G;del and Incompleteness. 82. Mystical Experience and Revelation. 83. Possibility and Impossibility. 84. Primitives. 85. Self-evident Truths. 86. Scepticism. 87. Underdetermination. Appendix: Web Resources.
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Review quote

"The Philosopher's Toolkit is a very good book. It could be highly useful for both introductory courses in philosophy, or philosophical methodology, as well as independent study for anyone interested in the methods of argument, assessment and criticism used in contemporary analytic philosophy. It is unique in approach, and written in a pleasant and considerate tone. Its authors are both competent philosophers, and the book visibly reflects their deep sympathy to the discipline and their appreciation of its unique character. This book will help one to get going to do philosophy, but more advanced students might find this text helpful too. I wish I had had access to this book as an undergraduate." Teaching Philosophy "...the average person who is interested in arguments and logic but who doesn't have much background in philosophy would certainly find this book useful, as would anyone teaching a course on arguments, logic, and reasoning. Even introductory courses on philosophy in general might benefit because the book lays out so many of the conceptual "tools" which will prove necessary over students' careers." "The Philosopher's Toolkit provides a welcome and useful addition to the introductory philosophy books available. It takes the beginner through most of the core conceptual tools and distinctions used by philosophers, explaining them simply and with abundant examples. Newcomers to philosophy will find much in here that will help them to understand the subject." David S. Oderberg, University of Reading "Its choice of tools for basic argument ... is sound, while further tools for argument ... move through topics and examples concisely and wittily... Sources are well chosen and indicated step by step. Sections are cross-referenced (making it better than the Teach Youself "100 philosophical concepts") and supported by a useful index." Reference Reviews "This book is ... an encyclopedia of philosophy. It should be of great use as a quick and accurate reference guide to the skill of philosophy, especially for beginners, but also for instructors ... highly recommended." Choice
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About Julian Baggini

Dr Julian Baggini is editor and co-publisher of The Philosophers' Magazine. He has written on philosophy for the general reader in The Independent, Independent on Sunday and Times Educational Supplement. His PhD was awarded by University College London in 1996. Dr Peter Fosl is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Program Chair at Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky. He also serves as contributing editor to The Philosopher's Magazine. A graduate of Bucknell University and Emory University, Fosl also studied at the L.S.E. and took a Fullbright Scholarship to the University of Edinburgh. His has published on Hume, scepticism and topics in the history of philosophy.
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845 ratings
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4 41% (348)
3 22% (183)
2 4% (37)
1 2% (13)
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