The Philosopher's Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods

Overview

Building a solid intellectual foundation is crucial if one wishes to engage effectively in the practice of philosophy. This second edition of The Philosopher's Toolkit provides readers with the essential tools - the intellectual equipment - necessary for participating in thoughtful philosophical argument, reading and reflection.

The book begins with the basics of philosophical argumentation before moving on to address the important tools for assessment and criticism, the limits ...

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The Philosopher's Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods

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Overview

Building a solid intellectual foundation is crucial if one wishes to engage effectively in the practice of philosophy. This second edition of The Philosopher's Toolkit provides readers with the essential tools - the intellectual equipment - necessary for participating in thoughtful philosophical argument, reading and reflection.

The book begins with the basics of philosophical argumentation before moving on to address the important tools for assessment and criticism, the limits of argumentation and some of the radical critiques of standard philosophical methodology. Written in a highly accessible style, the entries are brought to life through the inclusion of vivid and colourful examples. For the second edition, many of the volume's original 87 entries have been enhanced, extended and updated, an entirely new chapter has been added on methods drawn from the history of philosophy, and the suggestions for further reading have been expanded.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The Philosopher's Toolkit is a very good book. It could be highly useful for both introductory courses in philosophy, or philosophical methodology, as well as independent study for anyone interested in the methods of argument, assessment and criticism used in contemporary analytic philosophy. It is unique in approach, and written in a pleasant and considerate tone. Its authors are both competent philosophers, and the book visibly reflects their deep sympathy to the discipline and their appreciation of its unique character. This book will help one to get going to do philosophy, but more advanced students might find this text helpful too. I wish I had had access to this book as an undergraduate." (Teaching Philosophy)

"This book is ... an encyclopedia of philosophy. It should be of great use as a quick and accurate reference guide to the skill of philosophy, especially for beginners, but also for instructors ... highly recommended." (Choice)

"Its choice of tools for basic argument ... is sound, while further tools for argument ... move through topics and examples concisely and wittily... Sources are well chosen and indicated step by step. Sections are cross-referenced (making it better than the Teach Youself "100 philosophical concepts") and supported by a useful index." (Reference Reviews)

"...the average person who is interested in arguments and logic but who doesn't have much background in philosophy would certainly find this book useful, as would anyone teaching a course on arguments, logic, and reasoning. Even introductory courses on philosophy in general might benefit because the book lays out so many of the conceptual "tools" which will prove necessary over students' careers." (About.com)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405190183
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/3/2010
  • Series: Wiley Desktop Editions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 258,226
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Julian Baggini (www.julianbaggini.com) is a freelance writer and co-founding editor of The Philosophers’ Magazine.

Peter S. Fosl is Professor of Philosophy at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky.

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Table of Contents

Alphabetical Table of Contents xi

Preface xiv

Acknowledgements xvi

1 Basic Tools for Argument 1

1.1 Arguments, premises and conclusions 1

1.2 Deduction 6

1.3 Induction 8

1.4 Validity and soundness 13

1.5 Invalidity 17

1.6 Consistency 19

1.7 Fallacies 23

1.8 Refutation 26

1.9 Axioms 28

1.10 Definitions 31

1.11 Certainty and probability 34

1.12 Tautologies, self-contradictions and the law of non-contradiction 38

2 More Advanced Tools 42

2.1 Abduction 42

2.2 Hypothetico-deductive method 46

2.3 Dialectic 49

2.4 Analogies 52

2.5 Anomalies and exceptions that prove the rule 55

2.6 Intuition pumps 58

2.7 Logical constructions 60

2.8 Reduction 62

2.9 Thought experiments 65

2.10 Useful fictions 68

3 Tools for Assessment 71

3.1 Alternative explanations 72

3.2 Ambiguity 74

3.3 Bivalence and the excluded middle 77

3.4 Category mistakes 79

3.5 Ceteris paribus 81

3.6 Circularity 84

3.7 Conceptual incoherence 87

3.8 Counterexamples 90

3.9 Criteria 93

3.10 Error theory 95

3.11 False dichotomy 97

3.12 False cause 99

3.13 Genetic fallacy 101

3.14 Horned dilemmas 105

3.15 Is/ought gap 108

3.16 Masked man fallacy 110

3.17 Partners in guilt 113

3.18 Principle of charity 114

3.19 Question-begging 118

3.20 Reductios 121

3.21 Redundancy 123

3.22 Regresses 125

3.23 Saving the phenomena 127

3.24 Self-defeating arguments 130

3.25 Sufficient reason 133

3.26 Testability 136

4 Tools for Conceptual Distinctions 140

4.1 A priori/a posteriori 141

4.2 Absolute/relative 144

4.3 Analytic/synthetic 147

4.4 Categorical/modal 150

4.5 Conditional/biconditional 151

4.6 De re/de dicto 153

4.7 Defeasible/indefeasible 156

4.8 Entailment/implication 158

4.9 Essence/accident 161

4.10 Internalism/externalism 164

4.11 Knowledge by acquaintance/description 167

4.12 Necessary/contingent 170

4.13 Necessary/sufficient 173

4.14 Objective/subjective 176

4.15 Realist/non-realist 178

4.16 Sense/reference 181

4.17 Syntax/semantics 182

4.18 Thick/thin concepts 185

4.19 Types/tokens 187

5 Tools of Historical Schools and Philosophers 190

5.1 Aphorism, fragment, remark 190

5.2 Categories and specific differences 193

5.3 Elenchus and aporia 196

5.4 Hume's fork 199

5.5 Indirect discourse 202

5.6 Leibniz's law of identity 204

5.7 Ockham's razor 209

5.8 Phenomenological method(s) 211

5.9 Signs and signifiers 214

5.10 Transcendental argument 218

6 Tools for Radical Critique 222

6.1 Class critique 222

6.2 Deconstruction and the critique of presence 225

6.3 Empiricist critique of metaphysics 227

6.4 Feminist critique 229

6.5 Foucaultion critique of power 231

6.6 Heideggerian critique of metaphysics 234

6.7 Lacanian critique 237

6.8 Critiques of naturalism 239

6.9 Nietzschean critique of Christian-Platonic culture 241

6.10 Pragmatist critique 244

6.11 Sartrean critique of 'bad faith' 246

7 Tools at the Limit 249

7.1 Basic beliefs 249

7.2 Gödel and incompleteness 252

7.3 Philosophy and/as art 254

7.4 Mystical experience and revelation 257

7.5 Paradoxes 259

7.6 Possibility and impossibility 262

7.7 Primitives 265

7.8 Self-evident truths 267

7.9 Scepticism 270

7.10 Underdetermination 273

Internet Resources for Philosophers 276

Index 277

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    A necessity for those who lack proper methodology of thought

    It is the basics of logic, the foundations of philosophical and critical thinking. The author has his head on his shoulders and communicates with organized clarity the principles of good thinking. Essentially, the book is an encyclopedia of philosophical methods. It begins with the foundational concepts of deductive and inductive thought and then progresses to the more advanced forms of thought. The author references the important philosophers behind each concept; each section ends with a short reference list for further reading. The author's writing style is bit more conversational than I prefer. However, the general population will find his style very entertaining and clear. He takes complex ideas and explains them, thoroughly, without dismissing any details, in a way easy for the lay person to understand. I highly recommend the book. I purchased copies for students to give them the essential knowledge required for philosophical thought. If you are looking for an extensive reference for methods of thinking or you are looking for a thorough introduction to philosophy, then you should purchase this book.

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