The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy / Edition 6

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Overview

Now in its sixth edition, this historically organized introductory text treats philosophy as a dramatic and continuous story—a conversation about humankind's deepest and most persistent concerns. Tracing the exchange of ideas among history's key philosophers, The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy, Sixth Edition, demonstrates that while constructing an argument or making a claim, one philosopher almost always has others in mind. The book addresses the fundamental questions of human life: Who are we? What can we know? How should we live? and What sort of reality do we inhabit?

The sixth edition retains the distinctive feature of previous editions: author Norman Melchert provides a generous selection of excerpts from major philosophical works and makes them more easily understandable to students with his lucid and engaging explanations. Ranging from the Pre-Socratics to Derrida, Quine, and Dennett, the selections are organized historically and include four complete works: Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito, and Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy. The author's commentary offers a rich intellectual and cultural context for the philosophical ideas conveyed in the excerpts. Extensive cross-referencing shows students how philosophers respond appreciatively or critically to the thoughts of other philosophers. The text is enhanced by two types of exercises—"Basic Questions" and "For Further Thought"—and fifty illustrations.

NEW TO THE SIXTH EDITION:

* Coverage of Taoism, Iris Murdoch, and Zen
* An expanded portrait of Jean-Paul Sartre
* A more concise, single-chapter treatment of Wittgenstein (Chapter 22)
* Key terms, boldfaced throughout and listed at chapter ends
* Brief and provocative quotations that stimulate thought and provoke questions
* A new section on how to read philosophy
* A new appendix: Writing a Philosophy Paper
* A two-color format that enhances the text's visual appeal
* A Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/melchert featuring resources for students including key points, flashcards, multiple-choice questions, and Internet resources
* A revised Instructor's Manual and Test Bank (available on the companion website and on CD) containing key points, teaching suggestions, and multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay exam questions

The Great Conversation, Sixth Edition, is also available in two paperback volumes to suit your course needs. Volume I: Pre-Socratics through Descartes includes chapters 1-13 of the combined volume, while Volume II: Descartes through Derrida and Quine includes chapters 12-25.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is unquestionably the best philosophy textbook I have ever read. My students love the book. Melchert writes with utter clarity and his examples are superb. His careful choice of primary sources and brilliant use of them in his prose is nothing short of genius. Melchert's text shatters all of my textbook nightmares."—Thomas Bell, Brevard College
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195397611
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/3/2010
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 784
  • Sales rank: 150,678
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Norman Melchert is Selfridge Professor of Philosophy Emeritus and a former Acting Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Lehigh University. He has also taught at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received awards for excellence in teaching at both universities. Dr. Melchert is the author of Who's to Say? A Dialogue on Relativism (1994) as well as numerous journal articles.

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Table of Contents

*=New to this edition
A Word to Instructors
A Word to Students
Acknowledgments
1. Before Philosophy: Myth in Hesiod and Homer
Hesiod: War among the Gods
Homer: Heroes, Gods, and Excellence
2. Philosophy before Socrates
Thales: The One as Water
Anaximander: The One as the Boundless
Xenophanes: The Gods as Fictions
Sketch: Pythagoras
Heraclitus: Oneness in the Logos
* Profile: The Tao
Parmenides: Only the One
Zeno: The Paradoxes of Common Sense
Atomism: The One and the Many Reconciled
The Key: An Ambiguity
The World
The Soul
How to Live
3. The Sophists: Rhetoric and Relativism in Athens
Democracy
The Persian Wars
The Sophists
Rhetoric
Relativism
Physis and Nomos
Athens and Sparta at War
Aristophanes and Reaction
4. Socrates: To Know Oneself
Character
Is Socrates a Sophist?
What Socrates "Knows"
We Ought to Search for Truth
Human Excellence Is Knowledge
All Wrongdoing Is Due to Ignorance
The Most Important Thing of All is to Care for Your Soul
5. The Trial and Death of Socrates
Euthyphro
Translator's Introduction
The Dialogue
Commentary and Questions
Apology
Translator's Introduction
The Dialogue
Commentary and Questions
Crito
Translator's Introduction
The Dialogue
Commentary and Questions
Phaedo (Death Scene)
Translator's Introduction
The Dialogue (Selection)
Commentary and Questions
6. Plato: Knowing the Real and the Good
Knowledge and Opinion
Making the Distinction
We Do Know Certain Truths
The Objects of Knowledge
The Reality of the Forms
The World and the Forms
How Forms Are Related to the World
Lower and Higher Forms
The Form of the Good
The Love of Wisdom
What Wisdom Is
Love and Wisdom
The Soul
The Immortality of the Soul
The Structure of the Soul
Morality
The State
Problems with the Forms
7. Aristotle: The Reality of the World
Aristotle and Plato
Otherworldliness
The Objects of Knowledge
Human Nature
Relativism and Skepticism
Ethics
Logic and Knowledge
Terms and Statements
Truth
Reasons Why: The Syllogism
Knowing First Principles
The World
Nature
The Four "Becauses"
Is There Purpose in Nature?
Teleology
First Philosophy
Not Plato's Forms
What of Mathematics?
Substance and Form
Pure Actualities
God
The Soul
Levels of Soul
Soul and Body
Nous
The Good Life
Happiness
Virtue or Excellence (Areté)
The Role of Reason
Responsibility
The Highest Good
8. Epicureans, Stoics, and Skeptics: Happiness for the Many
The Epicureans
The Stoics
The Skeptics
9. The Christians: Sin, Salvation, and Love
Background
Jesus
The Meaning of Jesus
10. Augustine: God and the Soul
Wisdom, Happiness, and God
The Interior Teacher
God and the World
The Great Chain of Being
Evil
Time
Human Nature and Its Corruption
Human Nature and Its Restoration
Augustine on Relativism
The Two Cities
Christians and Philosophers
Reason and Authority
Intellect and Will
Augustine on Epicureans and Stoics
11. Anselm and Aquinas: Existence and Essence in God and the World
Anselm: On That, Than Which No Greater Can Be Conceived
Thomas Aquinas: Rethinking Aristotle
Sketch: Avicenna (Ibn Sina)
Philosophy and Theology
Existence and Essence
Sketch: Averroés (Ibn Rushd)
From Creation to God
The Nature of God
Sketch: Maimonides (Moses Ben Maimon)
Humans: Their Souls
Humans: Their Knowledge
Humans: Their Good
Ockham and Skeptical Doubts—Again
12. Moving from Medieval to Modern
The World God Made for Us
The Humanists
Reforming the Church
Skeptical Thoughts Revived
Copernicus to Kepler to Galileo: The Great Triple Play
13. René Descartes: Doubting Our Way to Certainty
The Method
Meditations: Commentary and Questions
Meditations on First Philosophy
Meditation I
Meditation II
Meditation III
Meditation IV
Meditation V
Meditation VI
What Has Descartes Done?
A New Ideal for Knowledge
A New Vision of Reality
Problems
The Preeminence of Epistemology
14. Hobbes, Locke, and Berkeley: Materialism and the Beginnings of Empiricism
Thomas Hobbes: Catching Persons in the Net of the New Science
Method
Minds and Motives
Sketch: Francis Bacon
The Natural Foundation of Moral Rules
John Locke: Looking to Experience
Origin of Ideas
Idea of Substance
Idea of the Soul
Idea of Personal Identity
Language and Essence
The Extent of Knowledge
Of Representative Government
Of Toleration
George Berkeley: Ideas into Things
Abstract Ideas
Ideas and Things
God
15. David Hume: Unmasking the Pretensions of Reason
How Newton Did It
To Be the Newton of Human Nature
The Theory of Ideas
The Association of Ideas
Causation: The Very Idea
The Disappearing Self
Sketch: The Buddha
Rescuing Human Freedom
Is It Reasonable to Believe in God?
Understanding Morality
Reason Is Not a Motivator
The Origins of Moral Judgment
Is Hume a Skeptic?
16. Immanuel Kant: Rehabilitating Reason (within Strict Limits)
Critique
Judgments
Geometry, Mathematics, Space, and Time
Common Sense, Science, and the A Priori Categories
Sketch: Baruch Spinoza
Phenomena and Noumena
Sketch: Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
Reasoning and the Ideas of Metaphysics: God, World, and Soul
The Soul
The World and the Free Will
God
The Ontological Argument
Reason and Morality
The Good Will
The Moral Law
Sketch: Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Autonomy
Freedom
17. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: Taking History Seriously
Historical and Intellectual Context
The French Revolution
The Romantics
Epistemology Internalized
Sketch: Arthur Schopenhauer
Self and Others
Stoic and Skeptical Consciousness
Hegel's Analysis of Christianity
Reason and Reality: The Theory of Idealism
Spirit Made Objective: The Social Character of Ethics
History and Freedom
18. Kierkegaard and Marx: Two Ways to "Correct" Hegel
Kierkegaard: On Individual Existence
The Aesthetic
The Ethical
The Religious
The Individual
Marx: Beyond Alienation and Exploitation
Alienation, Exploitation, and Private Property
Communism
19. The Utilitarians: Moral Rules and the Happiness of All (Including Women)
The Classic Utilitarians
The Rights of Women
20. Friedrich Nietzsche: The Value of Existence
Pessimism and Tragedy
Good-bye Real World
The Death of God
Revaluation of Values
* Profile: Iris Murdoch
Master Morality/Slave Morality
Our Morality
The Overman
Affirming Eternal Recurrence
21. The Pragmatists: Thought and Action
Charles Sanders Peirce
Fixing Belief
Belief and Doubt
Truth and Reality
Meaning
Signs
John Dewey
The Impact of Darwin
Naturalized Epistemology
Sketch: William James
Nature and Natural Science
Value Naturalized
* 22. Ludwig Wittgenstein: Linguistic Analysis and Ordinary Language
Language and Its Logic
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
Sketch: Bertrand Russell
Picturing
Thought and Language
Logical Truth
Saying and Showing
Setting the Limit to Thought
Value and the Self
Good and Evil, Happiness and Unhappiness
The Unsayable
* Profile: The Logical Positivists
Philosophical Investigations
Philosophical Illusion
Language-Games
Naming and Meaning
Family Resemblances
The Continuity of Wittgenstein's Thought
* Profile: Zen
Our Groundless Certainty
23. Martin Heidegger: The Meaning of Being
What Is the Question?
The Clue
Phenomenology
Being-in-the-World
The "Who" of Dasein
Modes of Disclosure
Attunement
Understanding
Discourse
Falling-Away
Idle Talk
Curiosity
Ambiguity
Care
Truth
Death
Conscience, Guilt, and Resoluteness
Temporality as the Meaning of Care
The Priority of Being
24. Simone de Beauvoir: Existentialist, Feminist
Ambiguity
Profile: Jean-Paul Sartre
Ethics
Woman
25. Postmodernism and Physical Realism: Derrida, Quine, and Dennett
Postmodernism
Deconstruction: Jacques Derrida
* Profile: Richard Rorty
Physical Realism
Science, Common Sense, and Metaphysics: Willard van Orman Quine
The Matter of Minds: Daniel Dennett
Afterword
* Appendix: Writing a Philosophy Paper
Credits
Glossary
Index

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