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Philosophy: The Big Questions [Hardcover]

Ruth J. Sample , Charles W. Mills , James P. Sterba
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Feb. 13 2004 Philosophy: The Big Questions
Philosophy: The Big Questions occupies a unique position among introductory texts in philosophy. Designed for a single-semester introductory course in philosophy, it includes both classic readings in philosophy and newer articles.

  • Presents, in one volume, canonical and contemporary works in ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of religion, and epistemology.
  • Topics discussed include knowledge, religion, freedom, morality, and the meaning of life.
  • Serves as a comprehensive and compelling introduction to philosophy.
  • Together with traditional readings it also presents non-traditional, feminist eadings from a continental perspectives.

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"This is an extraordinary rich and refreshing collection of essays that brings together some of the most illuminating and provocative essays to be found in philosophy. This volume reveals the majesty of philosophy while, at the same time, showcasing the diversity and creativity that has made philosophy so appealing to the very best minds. I expect this reader to become a classic text." Laurence Thomas, Syracuse University <!--end-->

"This marvelous collection of readings from the Western tradition draws judiciously both from classic texts and contemporary authors. Reminding us of the basic importance for all human life of the central questions of philosophy, it orms an excellent introduction to the subject." Roger Trigg, University of Warwick

Book Description

Philosophy: The Big Questions occupies a unique position among introductory texts in philosophy. Designed for a single-semester introductory course in philosophy, it includes both classic readings in philosophy and newer articles. The text is organized around central problems in philosophy and the diverse approaches that philosophers have taken toward those problems.Readers of this innovative and accessible volume will encounter canonical works in the history of philosophy, and at the same time see the relevance of philosophy to topics they have encountered in their everyday lives..

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We have all had the experience of thinking that we knew something, and later discovering - perhaps to our shock - that what we thought we knew was actually false, so that though we believed it, we didn't actually know it after all. Read the first page
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Introductory Text in Philosophy April 4 2004
Format:Paperback
In this era of the commodification of academic books, one must be suspicious of anthologies that in some way, shape, or form assemble readings thematically that others have previously attempted to put together. Academic presses fight to collect readings from authors of the past in different ways, yet many times the collections commissioned by these presses reflect the same hackneyed assortment of thinkers. It is with a breath of fresh air to come across a companion of essays in philosophy that not only addresses "big questions", but also transcends the hackneyed assortment of thinkers in disciplinary philosophy by way of providing select readings of philosophers past and present in an introductory manner for students. Thus, one may happily set aside his or her suspicions and enjoy this fantastic collection.
PHILOSOPHY: THE BIG QUESTIONS represents a 530-page anthology of classic readings in philosophy coupled with contemporary essays designed to serve as a resource for single-semester introductory courses in philosophy. The text is co-edited by Ruth Sample (a specialist in exploitation theory and feminist philosophy), Charles Mills (the eminent Caribbean political theorist and originator of the prominent racial contract hypothesis), and James Sterba (an author of several important works on social justice). The book contains five parts: (1) "What Can We Know?"; (2) "What Can We Know about the Nature and Existence of God?"; (3) "Are We Ever Free?"; (4) "Does Our Existence Have a Meaning or Purpose?"; and (5) "How Should We Live?" Each part of the book contains a summary Introduction and a bibliography of suggested works for further reading.
For individuals interested in the concepts of freedom, agency, and free will, part three provides several interesting selections.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Introductory Text in Philosophy April 4 2004
By Neil Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In this era of the commodification of academic books, one must be suspicious of anthologies that in some way, shape, or form assemble readings thematically that others have previously attempted to put together. Academic presses fight to collect readings from authors of the past in different ways, yet many times the collections commissioned by these presses reflect the same hackneyed assortment of thinkers. It is with a breath of fresh air to come across a companion of essays in philosophy that not only addresses "big questions", but also transcends the hackneyed assortment of thinkers in disciplinary philosophy by way of providing select readings of philosophers past and present in an introductory manner for students. Thus, one may happily set aside his or her suspicions and enjoy this fantastic collection.
PHILOSOPHY: THE BIG QUESTIONS represents a 530-page anthology of classic readings in philosophy coupled with contemporary essays designed to serve as a resource for single-semester introductory courses in philosophy. The text is co-edited by Ruth Sample (a specialist in exploitation theory and feminist philosophy), Charles Mills (the eminent Caribbean political theorist and originator of the prominent racial contract hypothesis), and James Sterba (an author of several important works on social justice). The book contains five parts: (1) "What Can We Know?"; (2) "What Can We Know about the Nature and Existence of God?"; (3) "Are We Ever Free?"; (4) "Does Our Existence Have a Meaning or Purpose?"; and (5) "How Should We Live?" Each part of the book contains a summary Introduction and a bibliography of suggested works for further reading.
For individuals interested in the concepts of freedom, agency, and free will, part three provides several interesting selections. Of particular interest in part three are the readings from the Baron D'Holbach and Harry Frankfurt. In terms of canonical philosophy, the writings of Plato, René Descartes, Immanuel Kant, and John Rawls are intriguing. Regarding non-canonical contemporary philosophy, the writings of William R. Jones on divine racism provoke the reader to think more closely about a rarely talked about controversial claim. Lastly, readers will find the exchange between the late Susan Moller Okin and Jane Flax on the relationship between gender, race, feminism, and inequality helpful for sparking debate.
In closing, students of philosophy, descriptive political theory, and normative political theory will find much in this anthology that addresses big philosophical questions and debates people have in academia and the wider world.
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