What Makes a Philosopher Great?

What Makes a Philosopher Great? : Thirteen Arguments for Twelve Philosophers

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This book is inspired by a single powerful question. What is it to be great as a philosopher? No single grand answer is presumed to be possible; instead, rewardingly close studies of philosophical greatness are developed. This is a scholarly yet accessible volume, blending metaphilosophy with the long history of philosophy and traversing centuries and continents. The result is a series of case studies by accomplished scholars, each chapter trying to understand and convey a particular philosopher's greatness: Lloyd P. Gerson on Plato Karyn Lai on Zhuangzi David Bronstein on Aristotle Jonardon Ganeri on Buddhaghosa Jeffrey Hause on Aquinas Gary Hatfield on Descartes Karen Detlefsen on du Chatelet Don Garrett on Hume Allen Wood on Kant (as a moral philosopher) Nicholas F. Stang on Kant (as a metaphysician) Ken Gemes on Nietzsche Cheryl Misak on Peirce David Macarthur on Wittgenstein This also serves a larger philosophical purpose. Might we gain increased clarity about what philosophy is in the first place? After all, in practice we individuate philosophy partly through its greatest practitioners' greatest contributions. The book does not discuss every philosopher who has been regarded as great. The point is not to offer a definitive list of The Great Philosophers, but, rather, to learn something about what great philosophy is and might be, from illuminated examples of past greatness.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 12.7mm | 386g
  • Taylor & Francis Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1 Tables, black and white
  • 1138936162
  • 9781138936164
  • 1,573,699

Review quote

"What is the difference between a merely good philosopher and a great one? Lists of the great (and usually dead) philosophers presuppose an answer to this question but it's far from obvious what the answer is. The distinguished contributors to this terrific volume advance our understanding of what great philosophy is and explain the greatness of some of the greatest philosophers." --Quassim Cassam, University of Warwickshow more

Table of contents

CONTENTS Preface and acknowledgements List of contributors Philosophical greatness: Introducing the very idea Stephen Hetherington Plato, Platonism, and the history of philosophy Lloyd P. Gerson Zhuangzi's suggestiveness: Sceptical questions Karyn Lai Aristotle as systematic philosopher: Essence, necessity, and explanation in theory and practice David Bronstein Attention to greatness: Buddhaghosa Jonardon Ganeri Aquinas's complex web Jeffrey Hause Descartes as a great philosopher: Comprehensive physics, mechanistic embodiment, and methodological systematicity Gary Hatfield Emilie du Chatelet on women's minds and education Karen Detlefsen What's so great about Hume? Don Garrett Is Kant a great moral philosopher? Allen Wood `How is metaphysics possible?' Kant's great question and his great answer Nicholas F. Stang Nietzsche: This time it's personal Ken Gemes What makes Peirce a great philosopher? Cheryl Misak Wittgenstein's un-ruley solution to the problem of philosophy David Macarthurshow more

About Stephen Hetherington

Stephen Hetherington is Professor of Philosophy at the University of New South Wales. His publications include Epistemology's Paradox (1992), Good Knowledge, Bad Knowledge (2001), How to Know (2011), and Knowledge and the Gettier Problem (2016).show more