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The Everything Guide to Understanding Philosophy: Understand the basic concepts of the greatest thinkers of all time [NOOK Book]


Complex ideas explained in everyday language!

Is there life after death? Are euthanasia, suicide, or stem cell research ethical acts? Does the use of performance enhancers in sports constitute cheating?

These are the types of philosophical questions people face today. Philosophy is not a dead set of doctrines--it's a living body of knowledge that you can use to guide behavior and problem solving. In a lively, easy-to-follow approach, The ...

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The Everything Guide to Understanding Philosophy: Understand the basic concepts of the greatest thinkers of all time

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Complex ideas explained in everyday language!

Is there life after death? Are euthanasia, suicide, or stem cell research ethical acts? Does the use of performance enhancers in sports constitute cheating?

These are the types of philosophical questions people face today. Philosophy is not a dead set of doctrines--it's a living body of knowledge that you can use to guide behavior and problem solving. In a lively, easy-to-follow approach, The Everything Guide to Understanding Philosophy introduces you to the major thinkers and the problems they've pondered over the last 2,600 years.

In plain English, author Kenneth Shouler, Ph.D. explains all of the great philosophies--and provides contemporary examples to put them in perspective. He delves into the minds of such philosophers as:

  • Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle
  • Augustine and Aquinas
  • Spinoza and Descartes
  • Locke and Hume
  • Mill and Nietzsche
  • Russell and Sartre
If you're ready to broaden your outlook on life, this is the book for you. Endlessly fascinating--and always clear and concise--it's the perfect introduction for budding philosophers!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605502021
  • Publisher: F+W Media
  • Publication date: 6/1/2008
  • Series: Everything
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 723,156
  • File size: 736 KB

Meet the Author

Kenneth Shouler earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the City University of New York. He has taught philosophy since 1981 and is currently an associate professor at St. John's University in Jamaica, New York. After being a senior editor at Total Sports Publishing from 1996-2002, he founded Wordsworth Writing and Editing. He has written dozens of newspapers and magazines articles since 1986 and is the author of several books.

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Table of Contents

Top Ten Interesting Philosophy Quotes     xiv
Introduction     xv
Early Greek Philosophy: The Pre-Socratics     1
Thales     2
Anaximander     3
Anaximenes     4
The Milesian Approach     5
Pythagoras     5
Heraclitus     7
Parmenides     8
Zeno of Elea     10
Evaluation and Significance     11
Socrates: The First Moralist     13
Socrates and His Questioning Profession     14
Socrates in Death     15
"Calling Philosophy Down from the Heavens"     18
Ethical Doctrines     20
Inductive Reasoning and the Socratic Method     22
Evaluation and Significance     25
Plato: Dramatist of Reason     27
The Life of Plato     28
Plato's Dialogues     29
Theory of Knowledge: Opinion Versus Knowledge     30
Metaphysics: The Forms     33
Political Doctrine     34
Plato's Ideas about Art     39
Evaluation and Significance     40
Aristotle: "The Master of Those Who Know"     43
The Life of Aristotle     44
Logic     44
Metaphysics: Philosophy Begins in Wonder     47
Ethics     50
Political Thinking     53
Aesthetics     55
Evaluation and Significance     57
Stoics: The Practical Philosophy     59
History of Post-Aristotelian Greece     60
Lives of the Stoics     61
Zeno: A Virtuous Life     62
Epictetus     63
Epicurus: The Life of Pleasure     65
Evaluation and Significance     68
Early Medieval Philosophy: St. Augustine     69
The Life of St. Augustine     70
Overcoming Skepticism     71
Faith and Reason     73
Augustine's View of God     75
Morality     78
Evaluation and Significance     80
St. Anselm and Other Significant Medieval Thinkers     81
The Life of St. Anselm     82
The "Ontological Argument" for God's Existence     83
Muslim Philosophy: Avicenna and Averroes     85
Jewish Medieval Philosophy: Moses Maimonides     88
Peter Abelard     90
William of Ockham     93
Evaluation and Significance     95
Late Medieval Thought: St. Thomas Aquinas     95
The Life of St. Thomas Aquinas     96
Synthesizing Scripture and Aristotle     97
Faith and Reason     98
Aquinas's Five Arguments for God's Existence     99
Ethics     103
Evaluation and Significance     104
The Renaissance Period: Leaving Scholasticism Behind     105
The Renaissance     106
Protestant Reformation     108
The Copernican Revolution     110
Galileo Galilei     111
Galileo and the Rejection of Teleology     112
Evaluation and Significance     114
Early Empiricism: Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes     115
The Life of Francis Bacon     116
Bacon's Goal: The Reconstruction of All Knowledge     117
The Corruption of the Mind: Bacon's Four Idols     118
The Future Philosophy     120
The Life of Thomas Hobbes     121
The Physics of Knowledge     122
Hobbes' Psychological Egoism and the State of Nature     123
Politics: The Need for a Social Contract and a Strong Sovereign     125
Evaluation and Significance     126
Rene Descartes: The Father of Modern Philosophy      127
The Life of Rene Descartes     128
Rationalism     129
Descartes's Agenda     130
Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy     131
The Second Meditation: Is There Something That Cannot Be Doubted?     132
Descartes's Method     134
Descartes's Two Arguments for the Existence of God     135
The Mind-Body Relationship     136
Evaluation and Significance     138
Philosopher in Exile: Baruch Spinoza     139
The Life of Baruch Spinoza     140
Pantheism: God Is Everywhere     141
The Universe: Freedom and Necessity     141
Freedom and Bondage     143
Another Rationalist: Wilhelm Leibniz     144
Evaluation and Significance     146
Enlightenment Empiricism: Sir Isaac Newton and John Locke     147
The Life of Sir Isaac Newton     148
The Life of John Locke     149
All Knowledge Begins with Sensation     150
Simple and Complex Ideas     152
Primary Qualities, Secondary Qualities, and Substance     153
Degrees of Knowledge     154
God and Moral Knowledge     155
Natural Law and Natural Rights     158
Evaluation and Significance     159
David Hume: The Radical Skeptic     161
The Life of David Hume     162
Knowledge Begins with Sense Impressions     163
Hume Versus Locke: All Metaphysics Is "Illusion"     165
Skepticism about Causality     167
Morality     169
Another Empiricist: George Berkeley     171
Evaluation and Significance     173
Immanuel Kant: Combining Empiricism and Rationalism     175
The Life of Immanuel Kant     176
Kant's "Copernican Revolution"     176
Hume Versus Kant on the Possibilities of Knowledge     178
What Appears and What Is: Phenomena and Noumena     180
God's Existence Cannot Be Proven     180
Ethical Doctrine     181
Evaluation and Significance     184
Utilitarianism: A Philosophy of Pleasure and Happiness     185
The Life of Jeremy Bentham     186
Psychological Hedonism: Pleasure, Pain, and Value     186
Bentham: The First Philosopher for Animal Rights     190
The Life of John Stuart Mill     193
Mill's Version of Utilitarianism     194
Evaluation and Significance     197
Karl Marx: Philosopher of Alienation      199
The Life of Karl Marx     200
Historical Materialism     200
Marx on God and Religion     201
Ending Alienation: Seeking a Humane Society     202
Communism and the New Society     203
Evaluation and Significance     205
Soren Kierkegaard: The Father of Existentialism     207
The Life of Soren Kierkegaard     208
Pascal's Influence on Kierkegaard     209
Truth and Subjectivity     210
The "Stages on Life's Way"     211
The Leap of Faith     214
Evaluation and Significance     215
American Philosophy: William James and Pragmatism     217
The Meaning of Pragmatism     218
Charles Sanders Peirce     218
John Dewey     222
William James     224
Evaluation and Significance     228
Analytic Philosophy: A New Look at Old Philosophical Problems     231
The Analytic Turn     232
A. J. Ayer and Logical Positivism     233
Bertrand Russell and Analysis     237
Bertrand Russell and the Problem of Induction     238
Does God Exist?     240
Evaluation and Significance      242
Twentieth-Century Existentialism: Existence Precedes Essence     243
Jean-Paul Sartre     244
Humanity: "Existence Precedes Essence"     244
Freedom and Atheism     245
Freedom and the Two Modes of Being     247
Bad Faith and Authenticity     248
Albert Camus: The Myth of Sisyphus and the Absurd     249
Martin Heidegger: The Quest for Being     251
What is Being?     252
Evaluation and Significance     253
The Legacy of Darwinism and the God Question     255
The Present Social Context     256
Carl Sagan and The Varieties of Scientific Experience     256
Richard Dawkins and The God Delusion     258
The "Design Argument" and Other Arguments Revisited     260
The Believer's Response     262
Evaluation and Significance     263
Contemporary Metaphysics     265
Metaphysics in the Analytic Period     266
How Do Mind and Body Interact?     267
Is the Will Free? Three Positions     269
Philosophy of Religion     273
The Problem of Evil     274
Evaluation and Significance     275
Contemporary Ethics     277
Ethics and Language: Emotivism     278
Metaethics     279
Normative Ethics     281
Applied Ethics     282
Evaluation and Significance     287
Glossary     289
Further Reading     293
Index     295
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