Thinking It through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy

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Here is a thorough, vividly written introduction to contemporary philosophy and some of the most crucial questions of human existence: the nature of mind and knowledge, the status of moral claims, the existence of God, the role of science, and the mysteries of language, among them.
In Thinking It Through, esteemed philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah shows us what it means to "do" philosophy in our time and why it should matter to anyone who wishes to live a more thoughtful life. ...
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Thinking It Through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy

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Overview


Here is a thorough, vividly written introduction to contemporary philosophy and some of the most crucial questions of human existence: the nature of mind and knowledge, the status of moral claims, the existence of God, the role of science, and the mysteries of language, among them.
In Thinking It Through, esteemed philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah shows us what it means to "do" philosophy in our time and why it should matter to anyone who wishes to live a more thoughtful life. Opposing the common misconceptions that being a philosopher means espousing a set of philosophical beliefs, or being a follower of a particular thinker, Appiah argues that "the result of philosophical exploration is not the end of inquiry in a settled opinion, but a mind resting more comfortably among many possibilities, or else the reframing of the question, and a new inquiry." Thinking It Through is organized around eight central topics--mind, knowledge, language, science, morality, politics, law, and metaphysics. It traces how philosophers in the past have considered each subject (how Hobbes, Wittgenstein, and Frege, for example, approached the problem of language) and then explores some of the major questions that still engage philosophers today. More important, Appiah shows us not only what philosophers have thought but how they think, giving us examples we might use in our own attempts to navigate the complex issues that confront any reflective person in the 21st century.
Filled with concrete examples of how philosophers work and written in the liveliest prose, Thinking It Through guides readers through the process of philosophical reflection and enlarges our understanding of the central questions of human life.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An extraordinarily successful introduction to philosophy: wise, witty and deeply engaging."--Paul Boghossian, New York University

"This book is excellent, one of the best of its kind that I've seen. It accomplishes what few general introductions to philosophy even attempt: to integrate contemporary discussion and argument into a treatment of our perennial problems without losing sight of their roots."--David Sosa, University of Texas at Austin

"The distinguishing mark of this work, which will set it clearly apart from all the best introductory books of this kind, is the way it makes deep and insightful connections among the various topics. It introduces the reader to all the main problems of contemporary philosophy, and makes philosophical concepts come alive in systematic exploration of the deep thoughts and difficult arguments to which Appiah gives lucid access."--Neil Tennant, The Ohio State University

Library Journal
Known to the larger public as a key figure in Harvard's African American studies program and the author of In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture, Appiah is now a professor of philosophy at Princeton. He begins by denying that he has "a philosophy" in the sense of a world picture and a guide to life. Quasi-logical issues are not so hard to understand as one might think, and here Appiah explicates them in a lively and entertaining guide, devoting much of his attention to puzzles about knowledge and the game-theoretic view of politics. Appiah's speculative politics begin with Hobbes's view that human life is a war of all against all and modifies it through a discussion of John Rawls. Logical issues predominate: Is "God" a proper name? How can we talk about "existence" (divine or otherwise)? The logic of Hume's treatment of the design argument is pursued. But God remains elusive, and the immortality of the soul does not intrude. One need not be an academic to enjoy this book. But though it may open new worlds, some may wonder where the philosophy has gone.-Leslie Armour, Univ. of Ottawa, Ont. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195160284
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Pages: 412
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Kwame Anthony Appiah is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. He is the author of Assertion and Conditionals, For Truth in Semantics, and In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture (OUP 1992) and co-editor, with Henry Louis Gates Jr., of Encarta Africana and Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey, and New York City.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: A Few Preliminaries
Ch. 1 Mind 1
Ch. 2 Knowledge 39
Ch. 3 Language 79
Ch. 4 Science 127
Ch. 5 Morality 177
Ch. 6 Politics 221
Ch. 7 Law 271
Ch. 8 Metaphysics 299
Ch. 9 Philosophy 339
Notes 381
Index 393
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