A Somewhat Sceptical Philosophy

 
9789627770183: A Somewhat Sceptical Philosophy
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Because it is written at the level of an introduction for high school and college students, A Somewhat Sceptical Philosophy skirts by design much historical philosophy. It accepts and explains modern pragmatism based on recent American philosophical pragmatists from Quine to Rorty. Its powerful influence derives from combining this with to-day's view of twentieth-century science which is explained only so far as to appreciate its contribution to philosophy.

It devotes considerable space to an inquiry into the pragmatic meanings of such important words as truth, reality and existence so that common ground is established for their use among conversants. It considers four frameworks within each of which the underlying assumptions for speech must be understood: these are the man-in-the-street, the scientist, the philosopher and the religious. It recognises the value of discipline and reliability as qualities for discourse which when present contribute to the settling of arguments and reconciliation of disputes within a community. More challenging of thought than dogmatic, it asks the reader to examine her own thinking in the light of what she reads here and, if she sees fit, to change.

The book suggests the basis for answers to the so-called Great Questions, "Who am I?", "Where am I?", "Where have I come from?" and "Where am I going?", those that students love to ask and argue about. Much latitude and challenge is given to encourage their search for answers, while boundaries formed from prior assumptions are described and observed. A set of answers, the author's own, are exhibited for debate at the end of the book. It is his hope that a teacher may be challenged almost to the same extent as her students.

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About the Author:

Keith Palmer, born in the United States in 1930, was reared and educated in England, attending Blundells School and Cambridge University. He served in peacetime in the British Army and Royal Air Force before deciding that for him science teaching was an irresistible way of life. The larger part of his career was spent at the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut.

His book is designed to be read by any thinker and especially by students in a first course in philosophy, aided by a teacher not unfriendly to science or pragmatism - or to argument.

He is retired and lives in Barkhamsted, Connecticut with his wife Ann. His companion and intellectual foil is his dog, Capella, whose mind - such as it is - figures in the book as a contrast to those of some of our more recent and better known thinkers.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The Human Situation What is it to be human? We are not stronger or faster or bigger or longer lived than other animals. Our unique attribute is our brain, or rather, the large size of our brain in proportion to our body's volume. The brain weighs between three and four pounds and contains a huge number of neurons interconnected into networks of unimaginable complexity. We put it to good use when we sense, dream, think and deduce, when we speak, write and design, react, plan and predict. We are unique too in four extraordinary aspects of our existence our awareness of time's stretch into the future and from the past, our aware-ness of ourselves, our amazing potential for development in brain, body and community, and our most highly developed ability to think and communicate with one another using a language. Because of this the thoughtful person exerts some effort in contemplation together with his fellows of such exercising questions as what he is, who he is, where he is, where he might be going and where he might have come from the so-called great questions. In fact, these questions typify our efforts in our search for the human condition, and the answers to them constitute the essence of what it is to be an individual in human society on the surface of this Earth, and what that framework within which we live and judge our daily lives might be. The answers also act as references against which we judge other answers to the less all-embracing questions, more mundane but nevertheless significant questions that shape our daily lives and give rise to character and personality.

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Palmer, Keith D
Published by Philopsychy Press (1998)
ISBN 10: 9627770183 ISBN 13: 9789627770183
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