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Philosophical Conversations A Concise Historical Introduction



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Oxford University Press
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This brief and engaging introductory text treats philosophy as a dramatic and continuous story--a conversation about humankind's deepest and most persistent concerns, in which students are encouraged to participate. Tracing the exchange of ideas between history's key philosophers, Philosophical Conversations: A Concise Historical Introduction demonstrates that while constructing an argument or making a claim, one philosopher almost always has others in mind. The book 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? Throughout, author Norman Melchert provides a generous selection of excerpts from major philosophical works and makes them more easily understandable with his lucid explanations. Extensive cross-references highlight the organizing themes and show students how philosophers have responded to each other's arguments. A more concise edition of Norman Melchert's The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy, Fifth Edition, Philosophical Conversations is designed to be especially accessible and visually attractive to first- and second-year college students in introduction to philosophy courses. Enhanced by numerous pedagogical features, it offers: * Shorter and/or simplified presentations of much of the material * A second color that enlivens the text and makes it more visually interesting * An expanded art program featuring more than 100 photographs, illustrations, and cartoons * Classic art at the opening of each chapter * Numerous brief quotations from poets, politicians, and thinkers that underscore philosophical points and stimulate thought * Explanatory footnotes and basic study questions throughout * "Questions for Further Thought" at the end of each chapter * Key terms, boldfaced at their first appearance and collected at the end of each chapter and in a detailed glossary at the back of the book * "Sketches"--which provide glimpses of the ideas of various philosophers not already discussed in detail in the narrative--and "Profiles," which offer more in-depth looks at several thinkers, philosophical schools, and movements including Taoism, Zen, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Iris Murdoch * An Instructor's Manual and Test Bank on CD that highlights essential points and offers numerous exam questions

Table of Contents

A Word to Instructors
A Word to Students
Before Philosophy: Myth in Hesiod and Homer
Hesiod: War among the Gods
Homer: Heroes, Gods, and Excellence
Philosophy Before Socrates
Thales: The One as Water
Anaximander: The One as the Boundless
Xenophanes: The Gods as Fictions
Sketches: 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
Socrates and the Sophists
Rhetoric, Relativism, and the Search for Truth
The Sophists
Physis and Nomos
Athens and Sparta at War
Is Socrates a Sophist?
What Socrates Knows
The Trial and Death of Socrates
Translator's Introduction
The Dialogue
Commentary and Questions
Crito's Visit
Socrates' Death
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
The Soul
The Immortality of the Soul
The Structure of the Soul
The State
Problems with the Forms
The Reality of the World
Aristotle and Plato
The Objects of Knowledge
Human Nature
Relativism and Skepticism
Logic and Knowledge
Terms and Statements
Reasons Why: The Syllogism
Knowing First Principles
The World
The Four Becauses
Is There Purpose in Nature?
First Philosophy
Substance and Form
Pure Actualities
The Soul
Levels of Soul
Soul and Body
The Good Life
Virtue or Excellence (Arete)
The Role of Reason
The Highest Good
Interlude 1: The Skeptics
Interlude 2: The Christians
The Meaning of Jesus
God and the Soul
Wisdom, Happiness, and God
God and the World
The Great Chain of Being
Human Nature and Its Corruption
Human Nature and Its Restoration
The Two Cities
Christians and Philosophers
Reason and Authority
Intellect and Will
Anselm and Aquinas
Arguing for the Existence of God
Anselm: On That Than Which No Greater Can Be Conceived
Thomas Aquinas: Rethinking Aristotle
Philosophy and Theology
Sketches: Avicenna (Ibn Sina)
Existence and Essence
Sketches: Averroes (Ibn Rushd)
From Creation to God
Sketches: Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon)
Interlude 3: Moving From Medieval to Modern
The World God Made for Us
The Humanists
Reforming the Church
Skeptical Thoughts Revived
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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