The Philosopher's Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods [NOOK Book]


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...

See more details below
The Philosopher's Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.49 price
(Save 43%)$21.95 List Price
Note: This NOOK Book can be purchased in bulk. Please email us for more information.


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.

This ingenious compendium of the methodologies and techniques of philosophy can be put to effective use in a variety of ways – as an introduction to the essentials of philosophical reflection, a comprehensive course on philosophical method or a quick reference for clear and concise accounts of key philosophical concepts and methods.

Read More Show Less

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." (

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781444357479
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/24/2011
  • Series: Wiley Desktop Editions
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 358,988
  • File size: 629 KB

Meet the Author

Julian Baggini ( 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.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents



1. Basic Tools for Argument.

1.1 Arguments, premises and conclusions.

1.2 Deduction.

1.3 Induction.

1.4 Validity and soundness.

1.5 Invalidity.

1.6 Consistency.

1.7 Fallacies.

1.8 Refutation.

1.9 Axioms.

1.10 Definitions.

1.11 Certainty and probability.

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

2. More Advanced Tools.

2.1 Abduction.

2.2 Hypothetico-deductive method.

2.3 Dialectic.

2.4 Analogies.

2.5 Anomalies and exceptions that prove the rule.

2.6 Intuition pumps.

2.7 Logical constructions.

2.8 Reduction.

2.9 Thought experiments.

2.10 Useful fictions.

3. Tools for Assessment.

3.1 Alternative explanations.

3.2 Ambiguity.

3.3 Bivalence and the excluded middle.

3.4 Category mistakes.

3.5 Ceteris paribus.

3.6 Circularity.

3.7 Conceptual incoherence.

3.8 Counterexamples.

3.9 Criteria.

3.10 Error theory.

3.11 False dichotomy.

3.12 False cause.

3.13 Genetic fallacy.

3.14 Horned dilemmas.

3.15 Is/ought gap.

3.16 Masked man fallacy.

3.17 Partners in guilt.

3.18 Principle of charity.

3.19 Question-begging.

3.20 Reductios.

3.21 Redundancy.

3.22 Regresses.

3.23 Saving the phenomena.

3.24 Self-defeating arguments.

3.25 Sufficient reason.

3.26 Testability.

4. Tools for Conceptual Distinctions.

4.1 A priori/a posteriori.

4.2 Absolute/relative.

4.3 Analytic/synthetic

4.4 Categorical/modal.

4.5 Conditional/biconditional.

4.6 De re/de dicto.

4.7 Defeasible/indefeasible.

4.8 Entailment/implication.

4.9 Essence/accident.

4.10 Internalism/externalism.

4.11 Knowledge by acquaintance/description.

4.12 Necessary/contingent.

4.13 Necessary/sufficient.

4.14 Objective/subjective.

4.15 Realist/non-realist.

4.16 Sense/reference.

4.17 Syntax/semantics.

4.18 Thick/thin concepts.

4.19 Types/tokens.

5. Tools of Historical Schools and Philosophers.

5.1 Aphorism, fragment, remark.

5.2 Categories and specific differences.

5.3 Elenchus and aporia.

5.4 Hume's fork.

5.5 Indirect discourse.

5.6 Leibniz's law of identity.

5.7 Ockham's razor.

5.8 Phenomenological method(s).

5.9 Signs and signifiers.

5.10 Transcendental argument.

6. Tools for Radical Critique.

6.1 Class critique.

6.2 Deconstruction and the critique of presence.

6.3 Empiricist critique of metaphysics.

6.4 Feminist critique.

6.5 Foucaultian critique of power.

6.6 Heideggerian critique of metaphysics.

6.7 Lacanian critique.

6.8 Critiques of naturalism.

6.9 Nietzschean critique of Christian-Platonic culture.

6.10 Pragmatist critique.

6.11 Sartrean critique of 'bad faith'.

7. Tools at the Limit.

7.1 Basic beliefs.

7.2 Gödel and incompleteness.

7.3 Philosophy and/as art.

7.4 Mystical experience and revelation.

7.5 Paradoxes.

7.6 Possibility and impossibility.

7.7 Primitives.

7.8 Self-evident truths.

7.9 Scepticism.

7.10 Underdetermination.

Internet Resources for Philosophers.


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)