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Cengage Learning
Preface to Philosophy / Edition 8

Preface to Philosophy / Edition 8

by Mark B. Woodhouse


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Preface to Philosophy / Edition 8

Widely used by instructors as an introductory supplement, this small book has helped thousands of students learn to think philosophically, recognize philosophical problems, and avoid the common pitfalls involved in writing critical philosophical essays. This book answers the four most important questions a beginning student needs to have answered: 1. What is a philosophical problem? 2. Why bother doing philosophy? 3. How do I go about doing philosophy? 4. Am I going to get anywhere for my efforts?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 2900495007141
Publisher: Cengage Learning
Publication date: 01/19/2006
Edition description: 8TH
Pages: 168
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Mark Woodhouse, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgia State University. He teaches courses in the history of philosophy, metaphysics, consciousness studies, Eastern thought, parapsychology, and the New Paradigm literature on levels ranging from freshman to doctoral. He has authored over thirty articles in mainstream professional and leading edge journals, and is the recipient of two post-doctoral fellowships for advanced study at Brown University and UC-Berkeley.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Sixth Editionxi
A Note to Studentsxiii
Chapter IRecognizing Philosophical Subject Matter1
Philosophical Problems Involve Fundamental Ideas3
Philosophical Problems Involve Questions of Meaning, Truth (Rational Defensibility), and Logical Relations4
Philosophical Problems Are Not Straightfowardly Empirical9
Two Case Studies12
Taking Your First Philosophy Course14
Study Questions18
Postscript: Divisions of Philosophy18
Chapter IIWhy Philosophize?20
How Philosophers See Their Goals20
The Relevance of Philosophy29
The Lure of Philosophical Issues31
Postscript: Are Gurus Philosophers?34
Chapter IIIPhilosophical Progress: Clearing Up Some Misconceptions36
Philosophy Is Not Merely an Exercise in Semantics36
The Choice Between Competing Theories Is Not Arbitrary37
Philosophers Do Agree38
Philosophical Theories Are Not Merely Rationalizations of Personal Belief40
Why Be Rational?42
Postscript: The Cultural Matrix of Reason44
Chapter IVDoing Philosophy: Getting Started46
Preparing to Philosophize47
What Kind of Claim Is Advanced?48
The Claims: A Summary52
What Is the Meaning of Key Terms?55
Chapter VDoing Philosophy: Further Considerations61
Do the Arguments Support the Thesis?61
Are the Premises True?68
Are the Assumptions Correct?68
Are the Logical Consequences Plausible?72
How Adequate Is the Theory?75
An Example of Philosophical Analysis: Near-Death Experience78
An Example of Philosophical Analysis: Equality of Opportunity81
Chapter VICommon Fallacies in Argument83
Question-Begging Arguments83
False Alternative85
False Disjunct85
Ad Hominem Fallacy86
Genetic Fallacy87
Red Herring Fallacy87
Straw Man88
Slippery Slope88
Appeal to Tradition89
Hasty Generalization91
Appeal to Ignorance91
False Cause91
Illicit Appeal to Authority92
A Final Checklist93
Chapter VIIReading Philosophy95
Kinds of Philosophical Writings95
Preparing to Read Philosophy97
Reading for Understanding98
Reading Critically105
Chapter VIIIWriting Philosophy106
The Nature of a Critical Philosophy Essay106
Organizing Your Essay108
Achieving Clarity111
A Sample Essay115
Postscript: A Note on Research Materials122
Answers to Exercises124

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