Thinking It Through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy

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9780195160284: Thinking It Through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy
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Here is a thorough, vividly written introduction to contemporary philosophy and some of the most crucial questions of human existence: the nature of mind and knowledge, the status of moral claims, the existence of God, the role of science, and the mysteries of language, among them.
In Thinking It Through, esteemed 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." 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 important, Appiah shows us not only what philosophers have thought but how they think, giving us examples we might use in our own attempts to navigate the complex issues that confront any reflective person in the 21st century.
Filled with concrete examples of how philosophers work and written in the liveliest prose, Thinking It Through guides readers through the process of philosophical reflection and enlarges our understanding of the central questions of human life.

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About the Author:


Kwame Anthony Appiah is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. He is the author of Assertion and Conditionals, For Truth in Semantics, and In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture (OUP 1992) and co-editor, with Henry Louis Gates Jr., of Encarta Africana and Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey, and New York City.

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What legal and political circumstances justify civil disobedience? When does lying qualify as a moral act? It is by probing a wide range of such questions that a Princeton professor demonstrates what it means to do philosophy. Hoping to discipline readers in the systematic analysis of inquiries, Appiah shows the uninitiated how to weigh alternative perspectives and test the internal consistency of arguments. The alternative perspectives scrutinized include those of classic thinkers (including Plato, Descartes, and Kant), and the conundrums surveyed include many central to the philosophic tradition (such as the mind-body problem), but readers quickly learn how rigorous philosophical thinking can guide them through a thicket of contemporary issues not yet in the textbooks. Beginners who can't tell a "counterfactual" from a "foundational belief" soon find themselves understanding how such technical terms can tighten their reasoning about language, morality, politics, and other topics. By the time they finish the book, many readers will discover that their timid curiosity about philosophy has grown into a bold willingness to explore the professional literature. Bryce Christensen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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9780195134582: Thinking It Through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy

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ISBN 10:  0195134583 ISBN 13:  9780195134582
Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2003
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Oxford..., 2003
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