Great Philosophical Arguments: An Introduction to Philosophy
Oxford University Press Inc
Publication Date :
1 Jan 2011
Great Philosophical Arguments is based on the fact that much of the power, drama, and pleasure of philosophy comes from argument-specifically from the many touchstone arguments that generated much of the philosophical canon. Like other topically organized introductory philosophy readers, this book is organized around the main areas of philosophy: the existence of God, knowledge and skepticism, mind and body, free will and determinism, ethics, and contemporary ethical debates, including abortion, euthanasia, and global hunger and poverty. But what is unique is the systematic focus on argument. The reading selections are organized by argument. Each argument is introduced by a briefing that (1) sketches the argument, (2) provides conceptual background for it, and (3) reviews some of the main philosophical responses to it. After the briefing come two to four selections presenting the classic statement of the argument, critiques and defenses of it, and discussions of related debates. At the end of each agrument are useful essay questions for further analysis. Vaughn's approach focuses students' attention on argumentation, where much of the philosophical work gets done; it gives them clear points of reference for navigating material in which they often get lost; and it helps them understand and appreciate the philosophical dialectic-the interplay of argument and counterargument among articles and authors. An introductory Chapter One explains the concerns and methods of philosophy, explains its practical and theoretical benefits, and provides a short lesson in identifying, constructing, and assessing arguments. Each chapter has an extensive introduction to the issue and arguments, and essay questions at chapter endings urge reflection on the chapter as a whole. Other pedagogical features include biographical text boxes, bold key terms lists at the ends of chapters and collected in an end-of-book glossary, suggestions for further readings, and an appendix on How to Write an Argumentative Essay. An Instructor's Manual and Testbank on CD features chapter summaries, reading summaries, lecture outlines in PowerPoint format, and objective test questions for use in exams or midterms. A Companion Website for both students and instructors at www.oup.com/us/vaughn includes all the material from the Instructor's Manual and Testbank, and such resources for students as study questions, interactive quizzes, flashcards with key words, and helpful web links. Message: The only introduction to philosophy textbook that teaches students to think critically about philosophical arguments-that shows students how to identify, understand, and critique philosophical arguments.