In this witty and mischievous book, philosopher Peter Cave dissects the most controversial disputes today and uses philosophical argument to reveal that many issues are less straightforward than we'd like to believe. Leaving no sacred cow standing, Cave uses ingenious stories and examples to challenge our most strongly held assumptions. Is democracy inherently a good thing? What is the basis of so-called human rights? Is discrimination always bad? Are we morally obliged to accept refugees?
In an age of identity politics and so-called 'fake news', this book is an essential resource for reinvigorating genuine public debate - and an entertaining challenge to accepted wisdom.
Peter Adamson presents a lively introduction to six hundred years of European philosophy, from the beginning of the ninth century to the end of the fourteenth century. The medieval period is one of the richest in the history of philosophy, yet one of the least widely known. Adamson introduces us to some of the greatest thinkers of the Western intellectual tradition, including Peter Abelard, Anselm of Canterbury, Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, and Roger Bacon. And the medieval period was notable for the emergence of great women thinkers, including Hildegard of Bingen, Marguerite Porete, and Julian of Norwich. Original ideas and arguments were developed in every branch of philosophy during this period - not just philosophy of religion and theology, but metaphysics, philosophy of logic and language, moral and political theory, psychology, and the foundations of mathematics and natural science.
Philosophical Adventures is an accessible, engaging introduction to philosophical issues falling under six broad themes: reasoning, free will, religious belief, ethics, well-being, and society. Each topic is thoughtfully introduced and discussed in a way that is easily intelligible and relatable yet philosophically rigorous. Steven M. Cahn's clear style and vivid examples provide a welcoming path to these often-difficult issues, encouraging readers to begin their own philosophical adventures.
Key Features An unusually clear and accessible introduction to many of the central topics of philosophy. Vivid examples are used to illustrate key points. Addresses a number of engaging issues that are relevant inside and outside of academia, such as the possibility of free will, religious belief with and without God, and democracy vs. its alternatives. Written by one of the discipline's pre-eminent teachers, author of numerous widely-used textbooks.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-61) was one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century. His theories of perception and the role of the body have had an enormous impact on the humanities and social sciences, yet the full scope of his contribution not only to phenomenology but philosophy generally is only now being fully recognized. In this lucid and comprehensive introduction, Taylor Carman explains and assesses the full range of Merleau-Ponty's philosophy.
Beginning with an overview of Merleau-Ponty's life and work, subsequent chapters cover fundamental aspects of Merleau-Ponty's thought, including his philosophy of perception and intentionality; the role of the body in perception; freedom and our relation to others; history and culture; and art, particularly the paintings of Cezanne. A final chapter considers Merleau-Ponty's importance today, examining his philosophy in light of recent developments in philosophy of mind and cognitive science.
This second edition makes use of the new translation of Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception, his most important work, highlighting its critique of objective thought and the account of constrained freedom that Merleau-Ponty advanced as a foil to Sartre's notion of radical choice.
Including annotated further reading and a glossary of key terms, Merleau-Ponty, Second Edition is essential reading for students of phenomenology, existentialism and twentieth-century philosophy. It is also ideal for anyone in the humanities and social sciences seeking an introduction to Merleau-Ponty's work.
Born in 1926 in France, Foucault is one of those rare philosophers who has become a cult figure. Over the course of his life he dabbled in drugs, politics, and the Paris SM scene, all whilst striving to understand the deep concepts of identity, knowledge, and power. From aesthetics to the penal system; from madness and civilisation to avant-garde literature, Foucault was happy to reject old models of thinking and replace them with versions that are still widely debated today. A major influence on Queer Theory and gender studies (he was openly gay and died of an AIDS-related illness in 1984), he also wrote on architecture, history, law, medicine, literature, politics, and of course philosophy. In this Very Short Introduction Gary Gutting presents a wide-ranging but non-systematic exploration of some highlights of Foucault's life and thought. Beginning with a brief biography to set the social and political stage, he then tackles Foucault's thoughts on literature, in particular the avant-garde scene; his philosophical and historical work; his treatment of knowledge and power in modern society; and his thoughts on sexuality. This new edition includes feminist criticisms of Foucault's apparently sexist treatment of the Jouy case, as well as a new chapter offering a unified overview of the College de France lectures, now a major focus of interest in Foucault. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) was hailed by Bertrand Russell as `one of the supreme intellects of all time'. A towering figure in seventeenth-century philosophy, he was the author of a complex system of thought that has been championed and satirized in equal measure, most famously in Voltaire's Candide.
In this outstanding introduction to his philosophy, Nicholas Jolley examines and assesses the whole of Leibniz's philosophy. Beginning with an account of Leibniz's life and work, he carefully explains the core elements of Leibniz's metaphysics: his theories of substance, identity and individuation; his doctrine of monads; and his important debate over the nature of space and time with Newton's champion, Samuel Clarke.
He then introduces Leibniz's theories of mind, knowledge, and innate ideas, showing how Leibniz anticipated the distinction between conscious and unconscious states, before examining his doctrine of free will and his solution to the problem of evil. An important feature of the book is its survey of Leibniz's moral and political philosophy, an overlooked aspect of his work.
The final chapter assesses Leibniz's legacy and the impact of his philosophy on philosophy as a whole, particularly on the work of Immanuel Kant. Throughout, Jolley places Leibniz in relation to some of the other great philosophers, such as Descartes, Spinoza, and Locke, and discusses Leibniz's key works, such as the Monadology and Discourse on Metaphysics.
This second edition has been revised throughout and includes a new chapter on Leibniz and philosophy of language.
Throughout history scepticism and the urge to question accepted truths has been a powerful force for change and growth. Today, as we are bombarded by adverts, scientific studies praising the latest superfoods, and political rhetoric, a healthy amount of scepticism is widely encouraged. But when is such scepticism legitimate - for example, as a driver of new ideas - and when is it problematic? And what role might adopting a sceptical outlook play in leading an intellectually virtuous life?
In this Very Short Introduction Duncan Pritchard explores both the advantages of scepticism, in challenging outdated notions, and also how it can have unhelpful social consequences, in generating distrust. He considers the role of scepticism at the source of contemporary social and political movements such as climate change denial, post-truth politics, and fake news. Pritchard also examines the philosophical arguments for a radical form of scepticism which maintains that knowledge is impossible, and explores some of the main responses to these arguments. Finally, he considers the part scepticism might play in applying better thinking and learning to achieve a more meaningful life. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.