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Ideal for courses in ancient philosophy or ancient and medieval philosophy, The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy, Volume I: Pre-Socratics through Descartes covers the same material as the first half (chapters 1-13) of author Norman Melchert's longer volume, The Great Conversation. Now in its sixth edition, this historically organized introductory text treats philosophy as a dramatic and continuous story--a conversation about humankind's deepest and most persistent concerns. Tracing the exchange of ideas among history's key philosophers, the book demonstrates that while constructing an argument or making a claim, one philosopher almost always has others in mind. It addresses the fundamental questions of human life: Who are we? What can we know? How should we live? and What sort of reality do we inhabit? The sixth edition retains the distinctive feature of previous editions: author Norman Melchert provides a generous selection of excerpts from major philosophical works and makes them more easily understandable to students with his lucid and engaging explanations. Ranging from the Pre-Socratics to Descartes, the selections are organized historically and include four complete works: Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito, and Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy. The author's commentary offers a rich intellectual and cultural context for the philosophical ideas conveyed in the excerpts. Extensive cross-referencing shows students how philosophers respond appreciatively or critically to the thoughts of other philosophers. The text is enhanced by two types of exercises--"Basic Questions" and "For Further Thought"--and more than twenty-five illustrations. NEW TO THE SIXTH EDITION: * Coverage of Taoism * Key terms, boldfaced throughout and listed at chapter ends * Brief and provocative quotations that stimulate thought and provoke questions * A new section on how to read philosophy * A new appendix: Writing a Philosophy Paper * A Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/melchert featuring resources for students including key points, flashcards, multiple-choice questions, and Internet resources * A revised Instructor's Manual and Test Bank containing key points, teaching suggestions, and multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay exam questions (available on the companion website and on CD) Also available to suit your course needs: The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy, Sixth Edition (combined volume covering the Pre-Socratics through Derrida, Quine, and Dennett) and The Great Conversation: Volume II: Descartes through Derrida and Quine (includes chapters 12-25 of the combined volume).
Norman Melchert is Selfridge Professor of Philosophy Emeritus and a former Acting Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Lehigh University. He has also taught at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received awards for excellence in teaching at both universities. Dr. Melchert is the author of Who's to Say? A Dialogue on Relativism (1994) as well as numerous journal articles.
Table of Contents
*=New to this edition A Word to Instructors A Word to Students Acknowledgments 1. Before Philosophy: Myth in Hesiod and Homer Hesiod: War among the Gods Homer: Heroes, Gods, and Excellence 2. Philosophy before Socrates Thales: The One as Water Anaximander: The One as the Boundless Xenophanes: The Gods as Fictions Sketch: Pythagoras Heraclitus: Oneness in the Logos * Profile: The Tao Parmenides: Only the One Zeno: The Paradoxes of Common Sense Atomism: The One and the Many Reconciled The Key: An Ambiguity The World The Soul How to Live 3. The Sophists: Rhetoric and Relativism in Athens Democracy The Persian Wars The Sophists Rhetoric Relativism Physis and Nomos Athens and Sparta at War Aristophanes and Reaction 4. Socrates: To Know Oneself Character Is Socrates a Sophist? What Socrates "Knows" We Ought to Search for Truth Human Excellence Is Knowledge All Wrongdoing Is Due to Ignorance The Most Important Thing of All is to Care for Your Soul 5. The Trial and Death of Socrates Euthyphro Translator's Introduction The Dialogue Commentary and Questions Apology Translator's Introduction The Dialogue Commentary and Questions Crito Translator's Introduction The Dialogue Commentary and Questions Phaedo (Death Scene) Translator's Introduction The Dialogue (Selection) Commentary and Questions 6. Plato: Knowing the Real and the Good Knowledge and Opinion Making the Distinction We Do Know Certain Truths The Objects of Knowledge The Reality of the Forms The World and the Forms How Forms Are Related to the World Lower and Higher Forms The Form of the Good The Love of Wisdom What Wisdom Is Love and Wisdom The Soul The Immortality of the Soul The Structure of the Soul Morality The State Problems with the Forms 7. Aristotle: The Reality of the World Aristotle and Plato Otherworldliness The Objects of Knowledge Human Nature Relativism and Skepticism Ethics Logic and Knowledge Terms and Statements Truth Reasons Why: The Syllogism Knowing First Principles The World Nature The Four "Becauses" Is There Purpose in Nature? Teleology First Philosophy Not Plato's Forms What of Mathematics? Substance and Form Pure Actualities God The Soul Levels of Soul Soul and Body Nous The Good Life Happiness Virtue or Excellence The Role of Reason Responsibility The Highest Good 8. Epicureans, Stoics, and Skeptics: Happiness for the Many The Epicureans The Stoics The Skeptics 9. The Christians: Sin, Salvation, and Love Background Jesus The Meaning of Jesus 10. Augustine: God and the Soul Wisdom, Happiness, and God The Interior Teacher God and the World The Great Chain of Being Evil Time Human Nature and Its Corruption Human Nature and Its Restoration Augustine on Relativism The Two Cities Christians and Philosophers Reason and Authority Intellect and Will Augustine on Epicureans and Stoics 11. Anselm and Aquinas: Existence and Essence in God and the World Anselm: On That, Than Which No Greater Can Be Conceived Thomas Aquinas: Rethinking Aristotle Sketch: Avicenna (Ibn Sina) Philosophy and Theology Existence and Essence Sketch: Averroës (Ibn Rushd) From Creation to God The Nature of God Sketch: Maimonides (Moses Ben Maimon) Humans: Their Souls Humans: Their Knowledge Humans: Their Good Ockham and Skeptical Doubts--Again 12. Moving from Medieval to Modern The World God Made for Us The Humanists Reforming the Church Skeptical Thoughts Revived Copernicus to Kepler to Galileo: The Great Triple Play 13. René Descartes: Doubting Our Way to Certainty The Method Meditations: Commentary and Questions Meditations on First Philosophy Meditation I Meditation II Meditation III Meditation IV Meditation V Meditation VI What Has Descartes Done? A New Ideal for Knowledge A New Vision of Reality Problems The Preeminence of Epistemology Afterword * Appendix: Writing a Philosophy Paper Glossary Credits Index