Synopses & Reviews
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.
Beginning Philosophy offers readers a uniquely straightforward yet rigorous introduction to fundamental philosophical problems. Combining serious philosophical investigation with a clear, user-friendly writing style, it covers logic and reasoning, the theory of knowledge, the nature of the external world, the mind/body problem, ethics, free will, the existence of God, and the problem of evil. It includes both extensive quotes from historical figures such as Aquinas, Hume, and Descartes, and references to philosophically-minded non-philosophers like Dostoevsky and Carl Sagan. Easily accessible to novices, Beginning Philosophy is unique in that it also represents serious, systematic thinking across a wide range of subjects in analytical philosophy, emphasizing the interconnection of philosophical problems and the relationship of philosophy and science throughout.
Beginning Philosophy provides an introduction to the fundamental philo sophical problems in a straight-forward, reader-friendly style. It cov ers logic and reasoning, theory of knowledge, the nature of the extern al world, the mind/body problem, ethics, free will, the existence of G od, and the problem of evil. It contains both extensive quotes from hi storical figures, such as Aquinas, Hume and Descartes, and references to some philosophical-minded, non-philosophers, such as Dostoevski and Carl Sagan.
Table of Contents
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
Inference to the Best Explanation
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
A Final Remark on the Debate Between the Realists and the Phenomenalists
5. The Mind/Body Problem
Artificial Intelligence as a Challenge for Materialism
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 Theories and What They Show about Normative Ethics
Objectivist Theories of Moral Judgments
A Final Assessment of the Dispute Between the Objectivists and Subjectivists
8. The Free Will Problem
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 Case 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
A Problem of Goodness?
11. A Total Picture
Philosophy as Worldview Construction
The Meaning of Life
For Further Reading
Glossary of Philosophical Terms
Glossary of Names
Chapters 3-10 open with an Introduction
Chapters 1-10 include Guide Questions, Review Questions for Examinations, Discussion Questions, and For Further Reading