Using honesty, enthusiasm, and humor, this book addresses and answers questions posed by readers likely to find it to be a bit peculiar—e.g., hypercritical, somewhat disorienting, and posing more questions than it seems to answer. It gives examples of a wide variety of thinkers from the ancients—Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Diogenes, Guatama Siddhartha, up to twentieth century thinkers including Wittgenstein, Sartre, Roger Scruton, and Iris Murdoch. Each chapter contains a brief summary of major themes, an introductory student-voiced dialogue, a clarifying discussion, and questions for further reflection. Chapter titles include The Idea of Philosophy; Three Common Temptations; Philosophy as Cultural Criticism; Philosophy as Cultural Conservation; Philosophy and the Labyrinth of Language; Freedom and Self-Determination; and The Search for the Authentic Self. For anyone who wants to engage in philosophical thinking—to experience first hand the wonder, the temptations, the critical tools, and the pleasure of it.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Philosophy is disciplined critical reflection (about fundamental ideas) that springs from wonder. In the process of this book we will unpack this definition, attempting to explain as well as illustrate what it means for philosophy to be disciplined, for it to be critical reflection, what fundamental ideas are, and what it means for philosophy to spring from wonder.
Beginning students very often find philosophy puzzling and more than a little bit peculiar. Here are three quotes from student essays that express some of that peculiarity:
Philosophy requires an open mind. People who are afraid to ask themselves hard questions seem turned off by it. It makes you think past "the usual answers," and sometimes we don't want to do that.
Most of the things you learn in college teach you the right answers. Philosophy is not like that—it leaves you with many more questions than when you came in—and the problem is they are deep, troublesome questions, the kind that continue to bother you long after the course is done.
It's common enough that we speak in cliches. But I discovered through studying philosophy how often we also think in them and even perceive the world in cliched ways. Philosophy is a way to make us realize this and to help us get beyond it.
Philosophy is a peculiar enterprise in more than one way. It requires a peculiar sort of person to do it, it has peculiar temptations for those who engage in it, and it requires a difficult kind of balancing between extremes in order to be done well. This peculiarity is what makes philosophy interesting, challenging, and fun. I invite you to try it.
Chapters One and Two of this book try to explain what philosophy is, who would be interested in doing it, and what some of the common temptations are for those who pursue it. Chapters Three and Four explore the ways in which philosophy is critical of culture and the ways in which it is culturally conservative. Chapter Four also includes examples of three contemporary thinkers who embody both of these aspects of philosophy. Chapter Five explores the problems that we run into with language and the ways philosophers try to identify and avoid these problems. Chapters Six and Seven are discussions of two particular philosophical issues, freedom and human nature/selfhood. Chapter Seven explores the works of several provocative thinkers on these topics. Chapter Eight returns to the general topic of the nature of philosophy and examines why philosophical inquiries often generate more questions than definitive answers. Is this a sign of philosophy's failure or a sign of its success?
The purpose of this book is not to tell you about philosophy, although you can learn some things about philosophy and philosophers from reading it. Its main purpose is to invite and provoke you to engage in philosophical thinking, to experience firsthand the wonder, the temptations, the critical tools, and the pleasure of it. This is why it is designed in an open-textured way, including dialogues, explanations, discussions, and questions in each of the chapters. The book will be successful if you are provoked to wonder and to reflect critically by the discussions initiated in it. This book does not pretend to offer a complete discussion of any of the topics it raises, but rather should be used as a place for a continuing discussion to begin. The questions that follow each chapter are designed to engage you in such a discussion, which is, after all, what philosophy really is.From the Back Cover:
What is philosophy? Who pursues it, and why? Aren't people who study it sort of weird? How is philosophy connected to wonder? How is it connected to being critical? What good does it do? How is it like / unlike psychology or history? What kinds of questions do philosophers pose? Do they ever answer them?
These are the kinds of questions perplexed students often ask when first encountering philosophy as an academic discipline, and these are the kinds of questions this text takes seriously and attempts to answer. Designed to be a first encounter with philosophy, this text includes:
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Book Description Pearson, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0130400416
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