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American Philosophy: The Basicsintroduces the history of American thought from early Calvinists to contemporary social commentators. The key question it asks is: what it is that makes American Philosophy unique? This lively and compelling book moves through the key periods in the development of American thought from the founding fathers to the transcendentalists and pragmatists to contemporary commentators. Readers are introduced to: The most important thinkers in American history including Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Paine, Charles Sanders Pierce, Cornel West and many more Developments in five key areas of thought: epistemology, metaphysics, religion and ethics, social philosophy, and political philosophy The neglected contribution of women, African-Americans and Native Americans, Featuring suggestions for further reading and assuming no prior knowledge of philosophy, this is an ideal first introduction for anyone studying or interested in the history of American thought.