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

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

by Norman Melchert

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,See more details below


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.


* 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 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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Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
Edition description:
Older Edition
Product dimensions:
7.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.40(d)

Table of Contents

*=New to this edition
A Word to Instructors
A Word to Students
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
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
Translator's Introduction The Dialogue Commentary and Questions
Translator's Introduction The Dialogue Commentary and Questions
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
The Objects of Knowledge
Human Nature
Relativism and Skepticism
Logic and Knowledge
Terms and Statements
Reasons Why: The Syllogism
Knowing First Principles
The World
The Four "Becauses"
Is There Purpose in Nature?
First Philosophy
Not Plato's Forms
What of Mathematics?
Substance and Form
Pure Actualities
The Soul
Levels of Soul
Soul and Body
The Good Life
Virtue or Excellence (Aret�)
The Role of Reason
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
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: Averro�s (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. Ren� 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
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
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
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
The Ontological Argument
Reason and Morality
The Good Will
The Moral Law
Sketch: Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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
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
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
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
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
Idle Talk
Care Truth Death Conscience, Guilt, and Resoluteness Temporality as the Meaning of Care The Priority of Being
24. Simone de Beauvoir: Existentialist, Feminist
Profile: Jean-Paul Sartre
Ethics Woman
25. Postmodernism and Physical Realism: Derrida, Quine, and Dennett
Deconstruction: Jacques Derrida
* Profile: Richard Rorty
Physical Realism
Science, Common Sense, and Metaphysics: Willard van Orman Quine
The Matter of Minds: Daniel Dennett
* Appendix: Writing a Philosophy Paper

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