Thinking It Through An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy

ISBN-10: 0195134583

ISBN-13: 9780195134582

Edition: 2003

List price: $67.95 Buy it from $12.91
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Description:

Thinking it Through is a thorough, vividly written introduction to contemporary philosophy and some of the most crucial questions of human existence, including the nature of mind and knowledge, the status of moral claims, the existence of God, the role of science, and the mysteries of language. Noted philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah shows us what it means to "do" philosophy in our time and why it should matter to anyone who wishes to live a more thoughtful life. Opposing the common misconceptions that being a philosopher means espousing a set of philosophical beliefs--or being a follower of a particular thinker--Appiah argues that "the result of philosophical exploration is not the end of inquiry in a settled opinion, but a mind resting more comfortably among many possibilities, or else the reframing of the question, and a new inquiry." Ideal for introductory philosophy courses, Thinking It Through is organized around eight central topics--mind, knowledge, language, science, morality, politics, law, and metaphysics. It traces how philosophers in the past have considered each subject (how Hobbes, Wittgenstein, and Frege, for example, approached the problem of language) and then explores some of the major questions that still engage philosophers today. More importantly, Appiah not only explains what philosophers have thought but how they think, giving students examples that they can use in their own attempts to navigate the complex issues confronting any reflective person in the twenty-first century. Filled with concrete examples of how philosophers work, Thinking it Through guides students through the process of philosophical reflection and enlarges their understanding of the central questions of human life.
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Book details

List price: $67.95
Copyright year: 2003
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 11/6/2003
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 432
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.100
Language: English

Preface
Introduction: A Few Preliminaries
Mind
Introduction
Descartes: The beginnings of modern philosophy of mind
The private-language argument
Computers as models of the mind
Why should there be a functionalist theory?
Functionalism: A first problem
A simple-minded functionalist theory of pain
Ramsey's solution to the first problem
Functionalism: A second problem
M again
Consciousness
The puzzle of the physical
Conclusion
Knowledge
Introduction
Plato: Knowledge as justified true belief
Descartes' way: Justification requires certainty
Locke's way: Justification can be less than certain
The foundations of knowledge
Ways around skepticism I: Verificationism
Ways around skepticism II: Causal theories of knowledge
Causal theories contrasted with traditional accounts of justification
Epistemology naturalized
Conclusion
Language
Introduction
The linguistic turn
The beetle in the box
Frege's "sense" and "reference"
Predicates and open sentences
Problems of intensionality
Truth conditions and possible worlds
Analytic-synthetic and necessary-contingent
Natural language and logical form
Using logic: Truth preservation, probability, and the lottery paradox
Logical truth and logical properties
Conventions of language
The paradox of analysis
Conclusion
Science
Introduction
Description and prescription
An example: Gregor Mendel's genetic theory
Theory and observation
The received view of theories
The deductive-nomological model of explanation
Theory reduction and instrumentalism
Theory-ladenness
Justifying theories I: The problem of induction
Goodman's new riddle of induction
Justifying theories II: Popper and falsification
Justifying theories III: Inference to the best explanation
Laws and causation
Conclusion
Morality
Introduction
Facts and values
Realism and emotivism
Intuitionism
Emotivism again
Kant's universalizability principle
Dealing with relativism
Prescriptivism and supervenience
Problems of utilitarianism I: Defining "utility"
Problems of utilitarianism II: Consequentialism versus absolutism
Rights
Self and others
Conclusion
Politics
Introduction
Hobbes: Escaping the state of nature
Problems for Hobbes
Game theory I: Two-person zero-sum games
Game theory II: The prisoners' dilemma
The limits of prudence
Rawls's theory of justice
The difference principle and inequality surpluses
Criticizing Rawls I: The structure of his argument
Criticizing Rawls II: Why maximin?
Criticizing Rawls III: The status of the two principles
Reflective equilibrium
Are the two principles right?
Nozick: Beginning with rights
The entitlement theory
Ethics and politics
Conclusion
Law
Introduction
Defining "law" I: Positivism and natural law
Defining "law" II: Legal systems and the variety of laws
Hart: The elements of a legal system
Punishment: The problem
Justifying punishment: Deterrence
Retributivism: Kant's objections
Combining deterrence and retribution
Deterrence theory again
Why do definitions matter?
Conclusion
Metaphysics
Introduction
An example: The existence of numbers
"God" as a proper name
The necessary being
Hume: No a priori proofs of matters of fact
Kant: "Existence" is not a predicate
A posteriori arguments
The argument from design
The harmony of nature
The necessity of a creative intelligence
Hume's argument from design: The argument from experience
The problem of evil and inference to the best explanation
Conclusion
Philosophy
Introduction
Traditional thought
Arguing with the Azande
The significance of literacy
Cognitive relativism
The argument against strong relativism
The argument for weak relativism
Philosophy and religion
Philosophy and science
An example: Free will and determinism
Compatibilism and moral responsibility
The special character of philosophy
Conclusion
Notes
Index
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