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Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy Paperback – Feb 18 2003
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From Library Journal
Blackburn (philosophy, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) has written this book "for people who want to think about the big themesAknowledge, reason, truth, mind, freedom, destiny, identity, God, goodness, justice"Abut, more importantly, to think about them philosophically. His method is to introduce what other philosophersAprimarily Plato, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Leibniz, Hume, and KantAhave had to say about these themes. To make the arguments more understandable to the lay reader, he presents the problem and then makes extensive use of analogies to ordinary situations, thus making the philosophical point more perspicuous. To read this book is to sit down with an engaging, highly learned conversationalist; readers new to the subject could very well be captivated. Highly recommended for academic and public library collections.ALeon H. Brody, U.S. Office of Personnel Mgt. Lib., Washington, DC
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Sensing that many people are daunted by the big questions in philosophy, university professor Blackburn supplies this primer. Its capital weapon is logic, but Blackburn shrewdly postpones discussing that until he explores such areas as the self, free will, the reality of sensory perception, and God. Doubt, either initially or continually, infuses anyone who reflects on those spheres, and Blackburn illustrates ways to begin thinking about them by using the example of Descartes. Descartes gave yes answers to the question of whether the four spheres exist or not, through a logical process with which, after Blackburn has mapped it out, one can agree or not. One spoil sport was eighteenth-century philosopher David Hume, and Blackburn deploys further disputations of Descartes' beliefs, as in mind-body dualism. Blackburn does, however, subscribe to a species of free will, which he describes as "revised compatibilism." Finding out its definition is sufficient reason to consult Blackburn's book, written with exemplary concision and with conviction that philosophy needn't be an ethereal subject, alienated from practical concerns. Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
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PERHAPS THE MOST unsettling thought many of us have, often quite early on in childhood, is that the whole world might be a dream; that the ordinary scenes and objects of everyday life might be fantasies. Read the first page
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Top Customer Reviews
The second kind of introduction is unfortunately much rarer. This kind attempts to explain the ideas that philosophy attacks and some of the arguments surrounding the various theses. Anthony Flew's Introduction to Western Philosophy is one of these (unfortunately it also suffers from a perverse desire to keep some kind of chronological narrative and is far too dense for an introduction). Simon Blackburn's Think is yet another. I think this is a much more fruitful approach for someone actually interested in an introduction to philosophy rather than merely learning how to drop names at parties to sound educated.
Think has much to commend it. It clearly delineates a number of key topics. It attempts to show a back and forth of the various ideas held on these topics. For the most part, the writing is light, the explanations easy to understand. There are a number of brief excerpts from actual source material along with commentary on them to help us understand what is meant and how it might fit in to the modern world.Read more ›
Blackburn's gripping introductory chapter gives the newly interested hope. He claims that his aim is to make philosophy understandable and enjoyable to readers who are taking a first look at the "big themes," and that he intends to "introduce ways of thinking about the big themes." However, it would have been more accurate (and not to mention more honest) for him to write that he intends to introduce "a way" of thinking, namely his own.
Blackburn zips through the "big themes" at a frantic pace, quickly brushing aside any school of thought that does not resemble his brand of materialism and scepticism. The problem is not so much his worldview, but, rather, it is the way he goes about promoting it. Throughout the book, he gives his opposition a very limited and inadequate voice, and, then, presents his view on a particular issue as the decisive winner in the debate.
Blackburn's positive arguments for his positions are formidable, but, this particualar book is simply not long enough to give his opposition a fair opening statement or rebuttal. His "introduction to philosophy" does not give a comprehensive enough vantage point from which to adequately begin thinking about the issues. Hence, it is not a true "introduction" in the first place.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Blackburn has written this book as a defense of philosophy as a practical tool for making sense of the world in which we live. Read morePublished on Dec 2 2002 by StalkingGhostBear
Blackburn takes a different approach to introducing philosophy: rather than provide a chronological survey (a la Will Durant) or a cartoon-&-sidebar summary (a la the Dummies... Read morePublished on Aug. 6 2001 by Zeldock
Think like I do would be a better title for this book . It is clearly an indoctrination into the leftist,liberal,atheist mind set . Read morePublished on July 16 2001 by FuDog
Simon Blackburn's "Think", which must have taken him several days to write, is a wonderful book. Read morePublished on June 24 2001
A well-written and thought-provoking book that hits upon many of philosophy's big topics. "Think" is as entertaining as it is educational.Published on May 19 2001 by Troy McCullough
I was eager to read this book...The beginning was terrific with fascinating original characters and what appeared to be an original plot. I hunkered down full of anticipation. Read morePublished on Sept. 29 2000
This is a thoughtful, easy to follow book introducing some of the major topics of philosophical thought. Read morePublished on Aug. 21 2000 by Peter
I was looking for a "primer" on philosophy...who said what, when and so on. Though this wasn't the book I was looking for, I found it engrossing and interesting. Read morePublished on Jan. 24 2000 by ChrisNY