The Great Conversation A Historical Introduction to Philosophy

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  • Edition: 8th
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2018-09-17
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Tracing the exchange of ideas among history's key philosophers, The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy, Eighth Edition, provides a generous selection of excerpts from major philosophical works and makes them more easily understandable to students with lucid and
engaging explanations. Extensive cross-referencing shows students how philosophers respond appreciatively or critically to the thoughts of other philosophers.

The Great Conversation, Eighth Edition, is also available in two separate volumes to suit your course needs:

The Great Conversation: Volume I: Pre-Socratics through Descartes, Eighth Edition

The Great Conversation: Volume II: Descartes through Derrida and Quine, Eighth Edition

Author Biography

Norman Melchert is Selfridge Professor of Philosophy Emeritus and a former Acting Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Lehigh University. He is the author of Who's to Say? A Dialogue on Relativism (1994) and numerous journal articles.

David R. Morrow is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University. College. He is the coauthor of A Workbook for Arguments, Second Edition (2015) and numerous papers in applied ethics.

Table of Contents

*=New to this Edition
A Word to Instructors
A Word to Students
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
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. Appearance and Reality in Ancient India
* The Vedas and the Upanisads
* The Buddha
* The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Noble Path
* Right View
* Non-Self and Nagasena
* The Brahmanical Schools
* Vaisesika
* Nyaya
* The Great Conversation in India
4. The Sophists: Rhetoric and Relativism in Athens
The Persian Wars
The Sophists
Physis and Nomos
Athens and Sparta at War
Aristophanes and Reaction
* 5. Reason and Relativism in China
* A Brief History of Ancient China
* Mozi
* The School of Names
* The Later Mohists
* Zhuangzi
* Sketch: Laozi
6. Socrates: To Know Oneself
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
7. The Trial and Death of Socrates
Translator's Introduction
The Dialogue
Commentary and Questions
Translator's Introduction
The Dialogue
Commentary and Questions
Translator's Introduction
The Dialogue
Commentary and Questions
Phaedo (Death Scene)
Translator's Introduction
The Dialogue
Commentary and Questions
8. 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
The State
Problems with the Forms
9. Aristotle: The Reality of the World
Aristotle and Plato
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
Not Plato's Forms
What of Mathematics?
Substance and Form
Pure Actualities
The Soul
Levels of Soul
Soul and Body
The Good Life
Virtue or Excellence (Areté)
The Role of Reason
The Highest Good
* 10. Confucius, Mencius, and Xunzi: Virtue in Ancient China
* Confucius
* The Way of Confucius
* Ritual Propriety
* Good Government
* Mencius
* Differentiated Love
* Xunzi
* The Confucians' Legacy
11. Epicureans, Stoics, and Skeptics: Happiness for the Many
The Epicureans
The Stoics
Profile: Marcus Aurelius
The Skeptics
12. Jews and Christians: Sin, Salvation, and Love
The Meaning of Jesus
13. Augustine: God and the Soul
Wisdom, Happiness, and God
God and the World
The Great Chain of Being
* Sketch: Hypatia of Alexandria
Human Nature and Its Corruption
Human Nature and Its Restoration
Augustine on Relativism
The Two Cities
Augustine and the Philosophers
Reason and Authority
Intellect and Will
Epicureans and Stoics
* 14. Philosophy in the Islamic World: The Great Conversation Spreads Out
* A Sea Change in the Mediterranean Basin
* Al-Kindi, the "Philosopher of the Arabs"
* Al-Farabi, the "Second Master"
* Religion as Subordinate to Philosophy
* Emanation and the Active Intellect
* Sketch: The Celestial Spheres
* Certitude, Absolute Certitude, and Opinion
* Avicenna, the "Preeminent Master"
* Existence and Essence
* The Necessary Existent, God
* The Soul and Its Faculties
* Al-Ghazali
Sketch: Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon)
* The Great Conversation in the Islamic World
15. Anselm and Aquinas: Existence and Essence in God and the World
Anselm: On That, Than Which No Greater Can Be Conceived
The Transfer of Learning
Thomas Aquinas: Rethinking Aristotle
Sketch: Averro:es, the Commentator
Philosophy and Theology
From Creation to God
The Nature of God
Humans: Their Souls
Humans: Their Knowledge
Humans: Their Good
Ockham and Skeptical Doubts--Again
16. From Medieval to Modern Europe
The World God Made for Us
Reforming the Church
Skeptical Thoughts Revived
Copernicus to Kepler to Galileo: The Great Triple Play
The Counter-Reformation
17. René Descartes: Doubting Our Way to Certainty
The Method
Meditations on First Philosophy (each Meditation is followed by Commentary and Questions)
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
The Place of Humans in the World of Nature
The Mind and the Body
God and the Problem of Skepticism
The Preeminence of Epistemology
18. Hobbes, Locke, and Berkeley: Materialism and the Beginnings of Empiricism
Thomas Hobbes: Catching Persons in the Net of the New Science
Minds and Motives
* Sketch: Margaret Cavendish
Sketch: Francis Bacon
The Natural Foundation of Moral Rules
John Locke: Looking to Experience
Origin of Ideas
Idea of the Soul
Idea of Personal Identity
Language and Essence
The Extent of Knowledge
Of Representative Government
Of Toleration
George Berkeley: Ideas into Things
Abstract Ideas
Ideas and Things
19. David Hume: Unmasking the Pretensions of Reason
How Newton Did It
* Profile: Émilie du Chåtelet
To Be the Newton of Human Nature
The Theory of Ideas
The Association of Ideas
Causation: The Very Idea
The Disappearing Self
Rescuing Human Freedom
Is It Reasonable to Believe in God?
Understanding Morality
Reason Is Not a Motivator
The Origins of Moral Judgment
Is Hume a Skeptic?
20. Immanuel Kant: Rehabilitating Reason (within Strict Limits)
Geometry, Mathematics, Space, and Time
Common Sense, Science, and the a Priori Categories
Phenomena and Noumena
Sketch: Baruch Spinoza
Sketch: Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
Reasoning and the Ideas of Metaphysics: God, World, and Soul
The Soul
The World and the Free Will
The Ontological Argument
Reason and Morality
The Good Will
The Moral Law
Sketch: Jean-Jacques Rousseau
21. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: Taking History Seriously
Historical and Intellectual Context
The French Revolution
The Romantics
Epistemology Internalized
Sketch: Arthur Schopenhauer
Self and Others
Stoic and Skeptical Consciousness
Hegel's Analysis of Christianity
Reason and Reality: The Theory of Idealism
Spirit Made Objective: The Social Character of Ethics
History and Freedom
22. Kierkegaard and Marx: Two Ways to "Correct" Hegel
Kierkegaard: On Individual Existence
The Aesthetic
The Ethical
The Religious
The Individual
Marx: Beyond Alienation and Exploitation
Alienation, Exploitation, and Private Property
23. Moral and Political Reformers: The Happiness of All, including Women
The Classic Utilitarians
Profile: Peter Singer
The Rights of Women
24. Friedrich Nietzsche: The Value of Existence
Pessimism and Tragedy
Good-bye Real World
The Death of God
Revaluation of Values
Master Morality/Slave Morality
Profile: Iris Murdoch
The Overman
Affirming Eternal Recurrence
25. The Pragmatists: Thought and Action
Charles Sanders Peirce
Fixing Belief
Belief and Doubt
Truth and Reality
John Dewey
The Impact of Darwin
Naturalized Epistemology
Sketch: William James
Nature and Natural Science
Value Naturalized
26. Ludwig Wittgenstein: Linguistic Analysis and Ordinary Language
Language and Its Logic
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
Sketch: Bertrand Russell
Thought and Language
Logical Truth
Saying and Showing
Setting the Limit to Thought
Value and the Self
Good and Evil, Happiness and Unhappiness
The Unsayable
Profile: The Logical Positivists
Philosophical Investigations
Philosophical Illusion
Naming and Meaning
Family Resemblances
The Continuity of Wittgenstein's Thought
Profile: Zen
Our Groundless Certainty
27. Martin Heidegger: The Meaning of Being
What Is the Question?
The Clue
The "Who" of Dasein
Modes of Disclosure
Idle Talk
Conscience, Guilt, and Resoluteness
Temporality as the Meaning of Care
28. Simone de Beauvoir: Existentialist, Feminist
Profile: Jean-Paul Sartre
29. Postmodernism: Derrida, Foucault, and Rorty
Deconstruction: Jacques Derrida
Writing, Iterability, Différance
Deconstructing a Text
Knowledge and Power: Michel Foucault
Archaeology of Knowledge
Liberal Irony: Richard Rorty
Contingency, Truth, and Antiessentialism
Liberalism and the Hope of Solidarity
30. Physical Realism and the Mind: Quine, Dennett, Searle, Nagel, Jackson, and Chalmers
Science, Common Sense, and Metaphysics: Willard van Orman Quine
Ontological Commitment
Natural Knowing
The Matter of Minds
Intentional Systems: Daniel Dennett
The Chinese Room: John Searle
Consciousness: Nagel, Jackson, Chalmers
Appendix: Writing a Philosophy Paper

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