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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Western Philosophy: An Illustrated Guide by David Papineau (Oxford University Press) brings key concepts of philosophy to life and shows their vital relevance to all our lives. What does it mean for someone to exist? What is truth? Art we free to choose to think or act? What is consciousness? Is human cloning justifiable? These are just some of the questions philosophers have attempted to answer, striking right at the heart of what it means to be human. This important new books shows that philosophy need not be dry or intimidating. Its highly original treatment, combining philosophical analysis, historical and biographical background and thought-provoking illustrations, simultaneously informs and stimulates the reader. Western Philosophy: An Illustrated Guide is structured thematically, in terms of major issues, with chapters on World, Mind and Body, Knowledge, Faith, Ethics and Aesthetics, and Society. Cutting across this organization by theme is a parallel organization that focuses on the great thinkers and their influence, as well as the schools or "-isms" to which they subscribed. A highly accessible introduction to the subject, founded upon impeccable academic scholarship, Western Philosophy: An Illustrated Guide offers life-changing perspectives on what really matters. 

  • Combines rigorous but thoroughly accessible philosophical analysis with highlights from the history of Western thought

  • Offers illuminating summaries of the contributions made by great philosophersfrom Plato to Derrida

  • Covers the most important ongoing debate! in philosophy such as why should we be good? And, why should we value life? Provides stimulating coverage of

  • 21st-century issues related to advances in science and technologysuch as cloning and stem-cell research

  • Includes major contributions from leading writers in contemporary philosophy

  • TIM CRANE. ("World") is Professor of Philosophy at University College London.

  • JESSE PRINZ ("Mind and Body") is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina.

  • ADAM MORTON ("Knowledge) is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oklahoma.

  • JOHN GRAHAM COTTINGHAM ("Faith") is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Reading.

  • BRENDA ALMOND ("Ethics and Aesthetics") is Emeritus Professor of Moral and Social Philosophy at the University of Hull.

  • JONATHAN WOLFF ("Society") is Professor of Philosophy at University College London.

When he was on trial for his life, charged with corrupting the youth of Athens, Socrates explained why it would be impossible for him to give up philosophy. As Socrates put it, "the unexamined life is not worth living" from his point of view, a life that was not enriched by philosophical reflection was no better than death. Few people are called to sacrifice everything for philosophy, but even so there are deep reasons why it remains of fundamental importance to everyone. Most obviously, we all need to think about the right way to live. Conventional practices are not automatically the best practices, whether they concern parents and children, rulers and ruled or rich and poor nations. All responsible people need to pause, at least sometimes during their life, to reflect on whether they are really doing the right thing.

However, philosophy is not only important to questions of how we should conduct our lives. Human beings are thinking creatures, for whom pure understanding is an end in itself. Finding out about the origin of the universe, or about the nature of consciousness, may make no difference to the way we behave, but it would run counter to human nature not to pursue such questions. A society in which humans never asked about the fundamental nature of reality would be the poorer for it.

What exactly is the subject matter of philosophy? What makes something a philosophical question, rather than a scientific or political issue? It is doubtful whether there is any definite subject matter that is particular to philosophy. Rather, philosophy is needed whenever we are faced by questions that are not only important but also intellectually perplexing. It is this last requirement that distinguishes philosophy. There are plenty of big unanswered questions in science: Is there life elsewhere in the universe? How many fundamental forces are there? However, these questions lack answers only because we haven't yet amassed enough empirical evidence to reach a conclusion. Philosophical questions raise a different kind of difficulty. When we ask whether humans have free will, or whether animals have moral rights, our puzzlement is not just due to a lack of information. Rather the questions themselves are confusing. To make progress we need to scrutinize the very terms "free will", "moral rights" that are used to pose the issues.

Philosophizing can quickly become abstruse. In the pages that follow, there are plenty of familiar issues, such as the justifiability of capital punishment or the existence of a divinity. But there are also more esoteric topics, such as the reality of proper-ties, or the definition of knowledge. Such abstraction is inevitable in philosophy. Once we start to query the terms in which everyday issues are posed, we quickly find ourselves forced to think about the categories we use to make sense of the world.

Philosophy has six chapters, each written by a leading academic expert in the relevant field. The subject ranges too widely for coverage of every possible topic, but this volume discusses all the most important issues in the history of philosophy, and what the great philosophers have said about them. Among the questions addressed are: space, time and the possibility of infinity; consciousness and its relation to the physical world; whether it is possible to gain objective knowledge; the possibility of an afterlife; the morality of sex and friendship; and concepts of democracy, equality and freedom.

As well as describing theories, this book also seeks to equip the reader with intellectual tools. The chapters that follow will introduce you to distinctive styles of philosophical thinking, and to intellectual techniques that have proved fruitful in the history of philosophy. If this book succeeds, it will not only tell you about what other philosophers have said, but will also enable you to start thinking philosophically yourself.

Classic Philosophical Questions, 11th Edition edited by James A. Gould, Robert J. Mulvaney (Prentice Hall) A proven classic, this anthology stimulates readers' interest in philosophy through an innovative sides of the argument presentation, representing positions on each of the fundamental philosophical principles. Each reading contains a biographical sketch of the author, with a group of further readings for those wishing to pursue issues in further depth. Using debate and argument as a vehicle, the eleventh edition of Classic Philosophical Questions simultaneously gives readers the fundamentals of philosophy while demonstrating that philosophy is a discourse that has spanned centuries. Topics covered include knowledge, metaphysics, religion, ethics, social and political philosophy, aesthetics, and the meaning of life. This anthology offers both classic and contemporary selections that challenge readers with the basic inquiries that philosophers have discussed throughout the ages.

This eleventh edition of Classic Philosophical Questions is structured to set forth the fundamental questions raised in undergraduate philosophy courses. The instructor will find that this structure encourages especially lively classes.

The essays, starting with Plato's Euthyphro and Apology, have been selected because they concern topics of particular interest to the beginning student in philosophy. These topics also encompass the major classical questions of concern to philosophers. None of the material is technical.

Introductions and study questions precede the essays and alert students to which ideas are important to grasp. The instructor may find it valuable to organize the class around these questions. At the end of the essays, the "To Think About" questions and quotations provide material for spirited debates or for written assignments. Also at the end of the essays is a reading list that can be used for writing term papers. At the end of the book there is a glossary.

The enthusiastic reception the earlier editions of Classic Philosophical Questions received reflects in part many excellent suggestions from both students and teachers. The editors have included some of their ideas in this eleventh edition, with new or additional material from Plato, George Berkeley, Martin Heidegger, Martin Luther King, Jr., Martha Nussbaum, and Steven Andrew Light, as well as essays relating to contemporary social issues.

Philosophy in the New Century by Anthony O'Hear (New Century: Continuum) On the final page of his book, Anthony O'Hear, Professor of Philosopy at Bradford Univ., quotes with approval Nietzsche's early aphorism. By claiming that aesthetics is the key to wisdom, Nietzsche--and O'Hear--advance the thesis that "existence and the world" cannot be justified eternally metaphysically, logically, epistemologically, morally, politically, scientifically, or religiously.

O'Hear believes that philosophy during the 20th century, whether the cool reasoning of the Anglo-American tradition or the hyper-charged jargon and rhetoric of the European tradition, has been a dismal failure. The scientism of the former and the nihilism of the latter both end, he believes, in sterility and aridity.

The question to which O'Hear's book is primarily addressed is where, in the new century, philosophy ought to go--if it is to throw light on fundamental questions of life and how life should be lived. "If philosophy is to have a future in the twenty-first century," he writes, "it must not sacrifice rigour. But to regain relevance and significance, it must turn away from scientism and cultural nihilism, the philosophical dead-ends of the twentieth century.

O'Hear's essays deal with wisdom, the search for meaning, epistemology, the individual and other persons, nature and society, science, aesthetics, religion, death, and the "promise" (the problem and challenge) of a relevant philosophy.

The story is told of a soldier in the American Civil War who, undecided about whether to support the Union or the Confederacy, donned a blue coat and gray trousers--and was shot at by both sides!

O'Hear himself stands in such a precarious predicament. Those in the camp of "scientism" (who make the presumptuous claim that science has all the answers) will criticize him for making "theistic noises." Dogmatic theologians (who make the presumptuous claim that religion has all the answers) will criticize him for making "atheistic noises."

O'Hear points out that the spirit of his book is Aristotelian: Philosophers must seek a golden mean or balance (some would say a compromise) between rationalism and spiritualism. The rigorous pursuit of knowledge, O'Hear believes, should be wedded to the "religious impulse"--the aesthetic and moral concerns of humanity. "Something of the Aristotelian promise," he writes, "is thus redeemed. We move towards theoria, towards a non-religious form of contemplation."

Philosophy in the New Century is a fascinating survey of the contemporary status of philosophy. One could have wished, however, that O'Hear had been clearer in stating his personal positions regarding controversial issues.

Philosophy and Everyday Life edited by Laura Duhan Kaplan (Seven Bridges Press) This anthology provides a philosophical examination of everyday life. Each essay sets out to construct a bridge between thought-provoking situations that come up in the course of living and the more abstract discussions of traditional philosophical inquiry. Such universal issues as, the limits of know-ledge, ethics, personhood, and politics are tackled. In the pursuit of philosophical answers to everyday questions, the contributors draw on the work of Aristotle, Plato, David Hume, John Locke, Karl Marx, Simone Weil, Iris Murdoch, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Levinas, and many others. [Review pending] 

Contents Introduction Part One: Ethics: Virtuous Persons, Virtuous Principles Joe Frank Jones III: Reluctant Soldier, Grateful Philosophy Teacher Mark J. Doorley: To Thine Own Self Be True: Self-Appropriation and Human Authenticity Tabor Fisher: The Birth of Personhood  Charles Kaplan: Discipline or Domination: An Ethical Dilemma in Childrearing  James B. Sauer: Whats Wrong with Bribery? Discussion questions: Sauer
Part Two. Social and Political Philosophy: Social Locations and Political Commitments William C. Gay: Conversations with Russian Philosophers: The Importance of Dialogue in Political Philosophy Discussion questions: Gay Martha Satz: Memoirs of an Unconventional Mother Robert Jensen: Hearing Voices and Telling Stories: Resisting Domination in Everyday Life Leslie A. Howe: Being and Playing: Sport and the Valorization of Gender Luna Najera: Engendering Ethnicity: The Economy of Female Virginity in Guatemala Laura Duhan Kaplan: Looking Backwards, Moving Forwards: Phenomenologies of Time and The Apology for Slavery Part Three. Epistemology: Limits of Human Knowledge Raymond Kolcaba: Human Obsolescence Margaritha Harmaty: What is the Mind? Robin Parks: Meditations on Form, or, How Should I Tell You What I Need You to Know? Timothy Jones: Hand-me-downs Scott Friskics: How Does Nature Speak to Our Concern? The Case of Montana's Rocky Mountain Front Part Four. Metaphysics: Glimpses Beyond Physical Reality Christopher Miles Michaelson: Philosophy Out of the Cave Judith Presler: Confessions of a Recovering Rationalist Laura Duhan Kaplan: Body, Mind, and Breath: A Mystical Perspective James Adrian Marshall: The Wrong Time to Exit the Freeway Charles W. Harvey: The Malice of Inanimates

What Is Philosophy? edited by C. P. Ragland and Sarah L. Heidt (Yale University Press) In this stimulating book, six leading philosophers--Karl-Otto Apel, Robert Brandom, Karsten Harries, Martha Nussbaum, Barry Stroud, and Allen Wood-- consider the nature of philosophy. Although each of them has a unique perspective, they all seem to agree that philosophy seeks to uncover hidden assumptions and concepts in order to expose them to critical scrutiny. It is thus entirely fitting that philosophers should examine their own assumptions about the nature of their discipline. As they delve into the nature of philosophy, the authors address many fascinating subjects: what makes philosophy different from natural science, religion, and other branches of the humanities; whether philosophy can contribute to political transformation, and if so, how; whether there can ever be an "end of philosophy"; and more. The editors' introduction ties together the contributors' diverse perspectives by noting common themes, similarities, and differences.

Excerpt: "'We cannot learn philosophy; for where is it, who is in possession of it, and how shall we recognize it? We can only learn to philosophize." -Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason/
Socrates annoyed the professional educators of his day-the sophists-with his persistent questions about their enterprise. "Just what exactly is it that you do?" he wanted to know. A conference held at Yale in April 1998 asked seven prominent philosophers to turn this Socratic question back on themselves. Before an audience consisting mostly of philosophy professors and graduate students, they asked "What is philosophy? What exactly are we philosophy professors doing, and what should we do?" The present volume is a collection of papers presented at the conference.' Although written for an audience of scholars, the articles are accessible to undergraduates and educated non-philosophers.

In his reflections on the nature of philosophy, Martin Heidegger remarked that "the question about the nature of something awakens at those times when the thing whose nature is being questioned has become obscure and confused, when at the same time the relationship of men to what is being questioned has become uncertain or has even been shattered." We seem to live in such a time, for contemporary philosophers share no unified conception of what philosophy has been or should become. The role of philosophy within the larger culture is somewhat ambiguous. From the European perspective, Karl-Otto Apel perceives there to be a boom of public interest in philosophy.s Nicholas Rescher, speaking to "the state of North American philosophy" in 1992, remarked that it "makes virtually no impact on the wider culture" although its place in our higher education system is secure and philosophical activity is flourishing."

While there is little agreement about what philosophy is in theory, there is a very high degree of practical uniformity: in day-today life, most philosophers practice an academic trade that flour ishes in the university. The dominant view within the profession seems to be that a `genuine' philosopher-as opposed to a mere teacher of philosophy-is "a professor of philosophy who also publishes in his field." This conception of philosophy as a sort of industrial production has spawned a gigantic increase in the number of books and journal articles dedicated to philosophical questions. But despite the generally high quality and technical sophistication of their publications, today's industrialized philosophers risk selling their birthright-the Socratic spirit-for professional status and prestige. The problem is not merely that professional legitimacy is conferred only upon those who have mastered a certain technical apparatus. For in addition, the present journeyman tactics in philosophy often render it, as Barry Stroud laments, "sterile, empty, and boring".

But most important, as Stroud also notes, this "professionalized scientistic conception" of philosophy is "not sufficiently philosophical" because "it is compatible at a certain point with the absence of philosophy." According to Stroud, this professionalization has resulted in "complacency" at best, and at worst "blindness" to what is philosophically important. Philosophy, as Allen Wood points out, "is a self-reflective activity" (Chapter 4), and hence cannot take its own nature for granted without losing itself. Stroud suggests that philosophers might free their discipline from a certain amount of self-imposed shallowness if they stop taking the nature of their enterprise for granted. He calls for serious grappling with the question "What is philosophy?"

But why suppose that philosophers need to inquire into the nature of philosophy any more than artists need to ponder the nature of art?6 The greatness of painters is measured by the quality of their works, not by their musings in art theory. Similarly, it does not seem that philosophers need to delve into the nature of philosophy in order to do their work well. As Allen Wood says, "philosophical reflection gains its importance more from what it discovers about the objects of its reflection (about the nature of knowledge, goodness, beauty, and so forth) than from its own nature simply as philosophical reflection."

The nature of philosophy is not a preeminent philosophical question, and philosophers can be great without writing essays on meta-philosophy. Philosophy would rapidly cease to be interesting if it turned from other questions to an obsession with its own nature, and doubtless many great philosophers have never written about what philosophy is. Wood is right that the value of philosophy lies in the light it throws on what is not philosophy. Stroud himself says that "there always has to be something more to reflect on, or to start from, than just the activity of philosophizing itself. There has to be something we think, something we are trying to understand, some puzzling phenomenon or aspect of the world.... There must be something we are involved in that is not philosophy"

Nevertheless, the question "What is philosophy?" does seem to be a necessary part of philosophy. All the contributors to this book seem to agree that philosophy is-or aims at-relentless, comprehensive examination and criticism of concepts and inferences. But as Stroud suggests, philosophy would fail to be fully relentless and comprehensive if it examined and criticized the foundational concepts of other disciplines without raising questions about its own core concepts-about what makes a theory "philosophical;' what it means to "accept" such a theory, and so forth. The philosophical charge to "know thyself" applies just as much to us qua philosophers as it does to us qua human beings (even if the latter sort of self-knowledge is vastly more important than the former).

Excessive professionalization is more than just a threat to the self-reflectiveness of academic philosophy. It appears as a symptom of the much-heralded "end of philosophy." In the ruthless division of labor characteristic of academic professionalization, the traditional goal of philosophy-the production of an articulated and integrated vision of humanity and its place in the universe-seems to have gone missing?

But perhaps this is no real loss. Perhaps it is actually good that philosophers are no longer trying to construct grand metaphysical systems. Some of the contributors to this book are committed to problematizing the notion of an absolute standpoint or conception of reality. Stroud, for example, thinks that we can never achieve a detached theoretical point of view on the world, and that although such a viewpoint would perhaps be what philosophy aspires to, the only understanding we can actually attain is a human, self-understanding. There is no "view from nowhere." One could argue that philosophical diversity is actually a sign of progress; grand strategies are doomed either to fail or to point us in dangerous directions.

But is the abandonment of a totalizing vision tantamount to the end of philosophy? "In the contemporary end of philosophy," said Emmanuel Levinas, "philosophy has found a new lease on life."s Nicholas Rescher notes that "there is more academic hay to be made nowadays by debunking metaphysics and epistemology as traditionally conceived than by practicing them."9 Although the philosophers in this book exhibit a wide range of concern over the so-called death of philosophy, they express a clear interest in the future of philosophy. Despite their differences, the chapters in this volume represent overwhelming continuity with the tradition and an optimistic response to "fin de siecle disillusionment" with the philosophical enterprise.

There are as many answers to the question "What is philosophy?" as there are philosophers. This is at least in part because the disarmingly short question contains, or gives rise to, many other questions. It is therefore difficult to keep the question manageable. Each of the philosophers in this volume seeks to define this daunting question more exactly, and each arrives at a unique interpretation of the question. Nevertheless, all the contributors share three important points of similarity.

First, they seem to agree that the question "What is philosophy?" demands an account of how philosophy differs from other academic disciplines and social practices. When we ask what philosophy is, we also ask what it is not; we seek to demarcate it from non-philosophy. We can say, without much controversy, that philosophy aims at some kind of very general understanding of the world. For example, Stroud says that philosophy is "reflection on very general aspects of the world, and especially those aspects that involve or impinge on the lives of human beings." This echoes Sellars's claim that philosophers aim to see "how things, in the largest sense of the term, hang together, in the largest sense of the term. But this characterization of philosophy seems too vague; as Stroud notes, "Every culture has thoughts and attitudes about fundamental features of a human being's relation to the rest of the universe, about death and human finitude, and about the appropriate ways of interacting with other human beings. Those are the kinds of things philosophy is about. But not every way of coming to terms with them, even every way of thinking about them, amounts to philosophy." Any facile characterization of philosophy in terms of its very general subject matter fails to answer the question of demarcation. Most of us have the intuitive sense that philosophy, religion, art and science are all different despite the fact that they all aim (at least in part) to express how things "hang together" in an extremely general sense; we want any answer to the question "What is philosophy?" to account for that intuition. Though most of the chapters in this book address the question of demarcation, they answer it in very different ways."

Second, the authors take "What is philosophy?" to be a largely normative question. The question has both descriptive and normative dimensions. When asked descriptively, the question means "What is philosophy in fact?"; when asked normatively, it means "What ought philosophy to be?"  Though most of the papers collected here do discuss facts about philosophy in some way (Harries and Apel, especially, examine the present state of the discipline), by and large the focus is on the normative question. ' This preoccupation with normativity betrays something important: while philosophy may need to take facts into account, it seems to focus primarily on (broadly) normative claims about either what we ought to think or what we ought to do. By addressing the normative question many of the authors seem to agree that "the topic of philosophy is normativity in all its guises.

Finally, all the contributors here agree that philosophy is not simply reducible to a set of problems, a body of doctrine, or a series of conclusions. As Stroud says, "Philosophy ... is an activity, not a set of doctrines or truths at all. Nor is its point or goal to discover philosophical theses or doctrines." For Stroud, philosophy is a way of questioning that can never come to rest in an established theory, because it "depends on undying curiosity, and the pursuit of limitless enquiry." Not all the contributors would follow Stroud to this ultimate conclusion. Some think that even if philosophy ends where belief in theses and doctrines begins, philosophy at least aims to establish such claims ("philosophical theses" are the end of philosophy as both its termination and its telos). Others even appear to think that philosophy includes not only the search for, but also the belief in, certain kinds of theses. Nevertheless, all the contributors seem to agree with Stroud that we cannot define philosophy by the theses it establishes. Even if there were a "philosophical catechism," a complete list of philosophical questions and answers, no one could learn what philosophy is by reading it. For the distinctiveness of philosophy lies not in the answers it produces or the questions it asks, but in the unique way it asks those questions. Despite their disagreements about whether philosophy produces or even aims at answers, the contributors to this volume agree that philosophy is a process and not a product. Before treating the question "What is philosophy?" either descriptively or normatively, they all ineluctably transform this static question, conceiving the essence of philosophy dynamically by focusing on the very activity of philosophy: What is it to philosophize? By approaching philosophy as an activity rather than a product, the contributors must consider not only the act but also the agent and the aim. Who is the philosopher and what is he or she hoping to accomplish? But further, to what or to whom is the philosopher obligated? Why philosophize?


Socrates Cafe: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy by Christopher Phillips (Norton) philosophy is a passion: it is not so much a discipline to be learned as an experience to be lived. Taking his cue from Socrates, the inaugurator of the Western philosophical tradition, Phillips embarks on a search for truth and meaning through a series of conversations that is at once refreshing, humorous, troubling, confusing, encouraging, depressing, and provocative. What makes Plato's Socratic dialogues so enduring--and Phillips's book so intriguing--is that for both Plato and Phillips, philosophy is not something you read or study. It is something you do. Plato wrote in Parmenides that "without wandering around and examining everything in detail one is unable to secure understanding." Phillips takes this approach--the Socratic approach--to heart. In the course of Socrates Caf, he travels around asking questions of everyone who's interested. Just like the real Socrates, who did not confine himself to the Athenian ivory tower, Phillips searches out public conversations--what he calls Socrates cafs--with children, seniors, psychiatrists, prisoners, ex-academics, students, lawyers, and everyday people. In a sense, the book is a series of short, modern-day Socratic dialogues interspersed with meditations on the nature of philosophical inquiry.

Phillips seizes upon what the Greeks called "elenchus," a method of inquiry that helps people see their own beliefs and opinions more clearly. In the course of the numerous Socrates cafs highlighted in this book, Phillips persistently reminds us that we ought to ask questions simply because the process is good for us. In each of the cafs, the participants vary as widely as the questions, and the dialogues are by turns candid, insightful, muddled, intelligent, bland, and piquant. The real meaning of Socrates Caf lies in the contentious and wonderful space of human interaction.

A modern-day Socrates takes to the road to bring philosophy back to the people. Journalist-turned-philosopher Christopher Phillips is on a mission: to revive the love of questions that Socrates once inspired in ancient Athens. With great charisma and optimism, he travels around the country, gathering people to participate in Socrates cafes in bookstores, senior centers, elementary schools and universities, and prisons. In this accessible, lively account, Phillips recalls what led him to start his itinerant program and recreates some of the most invigorating sessions. Harvard psychiatrist Robert Coles praises the "morally energetic and introspective exchanges with children and adults from all walks of life," which come to reveal sometimes surprising, often profound reflections on the meaning of love, friendship, work, growing old, and other large questions of life. Phillips also draws from his own academic background to introduce us to the thought of philosophers through the ages. Socrates Cafe is an engaging blend of philosophy and storytelling.

The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer edited by William Irwin, Mark T. Conard, and Aeon Skoble (Popular Culture and Philosophy, 2: Open Court) The Simpsons is one of the most literary and intelligent comedies on television today-fertile ground for questions such as: Does Nietzsche justify Bart's bad behavior? Is hypocrisy always unethical? What is Lisa's conception of the Good? From the editor of the widely-praised Seinfeld and Philosophy, The Simpsons and Philosophy  is an insightful and humorous look at the philosophical tenets of America's favorite animated family that will delight Simpsons fans and philosophy aficionados alike.

Twenty-one philosophers and academics discuss and debate the absurd, hyper-ironic, strangely familiar world that is Springfield, the town without a state. In exploring the thought of key philosophers including Aristotle, Marx, Camus, Sartre, Heidegger, and Kant through episode plots and the characters' antics, the contributors tackle issues like irony and the meaning of life, American anti-intellectualism, and existential rebellion. The volume also includes an episode guide and a chronology of philosophers that lists the names and dates of the major thinkers in the history of philosophy, accompanied by a representative quote from each.

BEGINNING PHILOSOPHY by Richard Double ($29.95, paperback, 400 pages, Oxford University Press, ISBN: 0195117816)

BEGINNING PHILOSOPHY offers general readers a uniquely straightforward yet still challenging introduction to fundamental philosophical problems. Readily accessible to novices yet rich enough for more experienced readers, it combines serious investigation across a wide range of subjects in analytic philosophy with a clear, user-friendly writing style. Topics include logic and reasoning, the theory of knowledge, the nature of the external world, the mind/body problem, normative ethics, metaethics, free will, the existence of God, and the problem of evil. A concluding chapter outlines the worldview developed in the text and connects that view to questions about the meaning of life. The interconnection of philosophical problems and the relationship of philosophy and science are emphasized throughout. The book includes both extensive quotes from historical figures such as Aquinas, Descartes, and Hume and references to philosophically minded non-philosophers like Dostoevski, Stephen Jay Gould, and Carl Sagan.

BEGINNING PHILOSOPHY is designed for use in introductory philosophy courses at a wide range of institutions. It contains numerous pedagogical materials at the end of each chapter: sections called "misconceptions" list errors that introductory readers should avoid; guide questions prompt students to explain in their own words what the text is saying; review questions help students prepare for examinations; open-ended discussion questions call for independent judgment; and annotated bibliographies provide suggestions for further reading, The volume is further enhanced by a list of famous quotations from philosophers, a glossary of philosophical terms, a glossary of names of the most famous philosophers and scientists discussed in the text, and an extensive bibliography listing every work cited.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard Double is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. He has published over 40 articles, 20 reviews, and 2 major research monographs, Metaphilosophy and Free Will (1996) and The Non-Reality of Free Will (1990), both by Oxford University Press.

THE STORY OF PHILOSOPHY by Bryan Magee, ($29.95, hardcover, 240 pages, DK Publishing; ISBN: 078943511X)

In probably the best illustrated introduction to philosophy to be produced in years, Magee provides an extensive overview of the history of Western thinking, Professor Bryan Magee, respected philosopher, author, and broadcaster, addresses the newcomer as well as the student of philosophy. His fine narrative prose illuminates many of the major philosophical issues, focusing on the important questions, and analyzing the key works of the great philosophers. He traces 2,500 years of Western philosophy from the Ancient Greeks to modern thinkers. His deep appreciation of the subject and grasp of its complexities have enabled him to produce a book accessible to the youthful general reader, yet substantial enough for the more knowledgeable student. The integration of text with illustrations offer a special treat.

WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY? Philosophers question the fundamental principles underlying all knowledge and existence Among the important philosophical issues that The Story of Philosophy addresses are questions such as "What is being?" and "Can the existence of God be proved?" Covering every major philosopher Mom Plato to Popper via Saint Augustine, Locke, and Nietzsche, Bryan Magee opens up the world of ideas in a way that is easily understood by everyone. Additional background information puts the philosophers in historical context with the influences that shaped their lives and work.

Comprehensive, highly visual, and filled with penetrating observations, THE STORY OF PHILOSOPHY is the essential illustrated guide to this fascinating subject.

PROFESSOR BRYAN MAGEE was educated at Oxford University, where he received degrees in history and also in philosophy, politics, and economics. In 1956, after a fellowship in philosophy at Yale, he left academic life to become an independent writer, critic, and broadcaster. Professor Magee returned to university life in 1970, becoming a tutor in philosophy at Balliol College Oxford, while continuing his activities with the media. From 1984 to 1994, he was Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the History of Ideas at King’s College, London University, where he is now Visiting Professor. His many books include Modern British philosophy, The philosophy of Schopenhauer, Popper, and Confessions of a philosopher. He has also appeared on two popular television series, Men of Ideas and The Great Philosophizers, both of which also became successful books.

INTRODUCTION The Question of Philosophy
CHAPTER 1 Magic and Metaphysics
CHAPTER 2 Truth and Opinion
CHAPTER 3 God and the Universe
CHAPTER 4 The Rise of the Technocrats
CHAPTER 5 Romantics and Revolutionaries
CHAPTER 6 Endgames
CHAPTER 7 It’s a Wonderful Life?

GET A GRIP ON PHILOSOPHY  by Neil Turnbull ($14.95, Paperback, illustrated, Time Life; ISBN: 0737000341)

Philosophy is about the big questions, where are we from, why are we here, and what’s going to happen afterward? and the various answers that people have come up with. This book will guide you along the route that leads from the Nichomachean Ethics of Aristotle via the Summa Theologica of Aquinas to the Discourse on Method of Descartes and onward to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico Philosophicus, with breaks for refreshment at the cooling springs of Hume’s Treatise on Human Nature and the stirring heat of Nietzsche’s Also Sprach Zarathustra. GET A GRIP ON PHILOSOPHY includes full and clear explanations of all the different branches of philosophy, traces the development of human thinking on the meaning of life, and gives the key ideas of all the significant philosophers in a digestible fashion. If you think Heidegger is a piece of agricultural machinery, this is the book for you.

Neil Turnbull is Senior Lecturer in political philosophy and social theory at Nottingham Trent University, England. He has published numerous articles and papers in academic journals.

A YOUNG PERSON’S GUIDE TO PHILOSOPHY by Jeremy Weate, illustrated by Peter Lawman ($16.95, hardcover, 64 pages, color illustrations, age 10 and up, DK Publishing, Inc. ISBN: 0789430746

"How did the world begin? Why are we here? Do we have free will? Does knowledge come from experience or reason?
Questions such as these have been pondered by human beings for thousands of years. As times change, more questions arise. "Although we all wonder about the unknown, some people have explored it more single-mindedly than others. Those people who are called great philosophers actually challenge and alter the way we think. Because of this, we remember them."
The book introduces readers to 34 great thinkers who have had profound and lasting influence on the world, from Aristotle and Zeno, to John Locke and Karl Popper.

"Ignorance is the only evil." -Socrates

The book spans more than to 2,500 years of Western thought, beginning nearly 500 years B.C. with the early Greeks Thales and Parmenides, Aristotle and Plato and ends with 20th century philosophers such as Michel Foucault, Thomas Kuhn, and Max Horkheimer. Engaging, accessible text explains their ideas simply and clearly, and adds beguiling facts about them that put a human face on an abstract subject.

A YOUNG PERSON’S GUIDE TO PHILOSOPHY begins with a chronological narration that defines the essential ideas of each, places them in the context of their times, and then regroups them into schools of thought to show those with similar philosophies. Among the people readers will meet are:

  • Empedocles, who believed that the two basic forces in nature were love and strife. He dove into a volcano to prove he was a god and burned to a crisp. (Pre-Socratic School)
  • Plato, who believed there were unchanging truths behind all things, and that a philosopher’s job was to open people’s eyes to this and help them strive toward perfection. (Idealist School)
  • Socrates, considered the father of Western philosophy, who believed that happiness came from leading a good life, and whose method for finding the truth about things was to pose challenging questions. (Socratic)
  • St. Thomas Aquinas, who argued that without God there could be no universe. and that faith and reason were often two paths to the same end. (Scholastic)
    Immanuel Kant, who said that a person’s view of reality is distorted by how the mind works. (Rationalist)
  • Edmund Husserl, who said it is impossible to think nothing, observing that "all consciousness is consciousness of something." (Phenomenologist)
  • Jean Paul Sartre, who asserts that humans are free to rise above their creaturehood and create their own lives "Man makes himself." (Existentialist)
  • Jacques Derrida, who casts doubt on the very tools used to describe all philosophical thought words. (Deconstructionist)

"There cannot be too much joy." -Baruch Spinoza

A YOUNG PERSON’S GUIDE TO PHILOSOPHY is a highly readable introduction to the world of great thinkers, and provides both a framework and springboard for young people to explore their own ideas. The book is enhanced by beautiful full color illustrations and photographs, glossary, and index.

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