Making Sense of It All: An Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry (2nd Edition)

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9780130988911: Making Sense of It All: An Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry (2nd Edition)

This brief and engaging book on philosophic inquiry shows readers why and how philosophic thought about fundamental problems in epistemology, ontology and moral theory can be of great help to us in our attempt to live “the good life” —characterized (in part) by a deeper understanding of the world within and around us. It encourages higher-order thought—the critical examination of views, conceptual analysis, integrative thought, and the evaluation of arguments—and shows what an important and mind-transforming activity philosophic inquiry can be. Chapter topics include knowledge, reality, the mental and the physical, self, God, free will, value and morality, death, and the meaning of life. For anyone who wants to “make sense of it all.”

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From the Back Cover:

"thinking things through..."

David H. Lund describes the core of his brief, engaging approach to philosophic inquiry as one of enticing students' interest and enriching and enlarging students' understandings of fundamental intellectual problems. Using a problems-based approach, Lund helps students "think things through" by inviting their participation in problematizing, criticizing, and evaluating particular questions in philosophy.

The key questions, or problems, on which Lund focuses include:
Knowledge, reality, mind, self, God, free will, value, morality, death, and the meaning of life.

New to this Second Edition:
  • Expanded material on most topics, especially on universals, causation, personal identity, and evil
  • Treatment of agency theory
  • New section on "the quest for meaning"

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Though this edition preserves the basic structure, the participatory approach, the ultimate aims, and the problem-centered focus of the first edition (features that are discussed in the preface to that edition), alterations have been made in each of the ten chapters. Most of the alterations are additions to the content, the most substantial of which occur in chapters 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 10. The most important additions to chapter 2 consist in a more extensive treatment of truth and a more detailed attempt to specify what knowledge is. Chapter 3 now includes discussion of the problem of universals. What has been added to chapter 4 is an expanded treatment of functionalism, an argument for viewing causation as an irreducible relation, and an explanation of how mind-body interaction may be understood in such a view of causation. The most important addition to chapter 5 is a brief discussion of the futility of attempting to ground personal identity in genetic identity.

Chapter 6 now contains a much more extensive treatment of the problem of natural evil and of plausible theistic responses to it. A more extensive (though still comparatively brief) defense of the agency theory is now part of chapter 7. Chapter 8 now includes a more explicit specification of deontological moral concerns along with an attempt to bring them into balance with the concerns of the utilitarian. Chapter 9 now makes more explicit how the tentative conclusions reached in earlier chapters, particularly the chapter on the self, are relevant to the issue of whether our survival of bodily death is conceivable. Finally, the manner in which and the extent to which the foregoing reflections and tentative conclusions may affect our quest for meaning is made much more explicit in chapter 10. The remaining alterations consist primarily in various minor changes intended to provide the text with a higher level of cohesiveness than it already had.

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