The Great Conversation: Volume I: Pre-Socratics through Descartes / Edition 6

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Overview

Ideal for courses in ancient philosophy or ancient and medieval philosophy, The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy, Volume I: Pre-Socratics through Descartes covers the same material as the first half (chapters 1-13) of author Norman Melchert's longer volume, The Great Conversation. 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 book demonstrates that while constructing an argument or making a claim, one philosopher almost always has others in mind. It 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 Descartes, 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 more than twenty-five illustrations.

NEW TO THE SIXTH EDITION:

* Coverage of Taoism
* 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 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 containing key points, teaching suggestions, and multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay exam questions (available on the companion website and on CD)

Also available to suit your course needs: The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy, Sixth Edition (combined volume covering the Pre-Socratics through Derrida, Quine, and Dennett) and The Great Conversation: Volume II: Descartes through Derrida and Quine (includes chapters 12-25 of the combined volume).

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is certainly one of the best introductory texts on the market, possibly the best. For students who will take only one course in philosophy, this is the book that I would recommend; it will give them an excellent overview of more than two thousand years of philosophical debate."--Michael Henry, St. John's University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195397628
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/3/2010
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 479,572
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (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
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: Averroës (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
Afterword
* Appendix: Writing a Philosophy Paper
Glossary
Credits
Index

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