Philosophical Conversations
9781551116495.jpg
  • Publication Date: November 8, 2005
  • ISBN: 9781551116495 / 1551116499
  • 352 pages; 6" x 9"

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Philosophical Conversations

  • Publication Date: November 8, 2005
  • ISBN: 9781551116495 / 1551116499
  • 352 pages; 6" x 9"

Philosophical Conversations is a light, informal, and contemporary introduction to the study of philosophy. Using a dialogue format, Robert M. Martin delves into the traditional questions of philosophy in a manner that readers will find engaging.

These substantive yet entertaining conversations emphasize that philosophical questions are contested and open-ended. The characters in each dialogue advocate different answers to questions on religion, ethics, personal identity, and other topics equitably and without naming any clear winners. Philosophic positions are presented with maximum clarity and persuasiveness, so that readers can appreciate all sides of an issue and make their own choices. An excellent tool for newcomers to philosophy, Philosophical Conversations provides the necessary background for further study while vividly portraying the back-and-forth argument that is essential to the philosophical method.

Comments

“Robert M. Martin’s book will be invaluable for undergraduate teaching. The dialogues present a wide range of philosophical debates clearly and interestingly, quickly clearing up common but uninteresting mistakes, while exploring the issues and leaving them open for further discussion.” — Peter J. King, Pembroke College, Oxford University

“An excellent introduction to philosophy. Packed with key ideas and theories; clear and engaging; well-organised. Its conversations succeed as conceptual interplay, showing how philosophical debates arise and develop.” — Stephen Hetherington, University of New South Wales

“The best new introductory philosophy text in decades! It covers the central issues in both analytic and continental philosophy, presenting arguments and counter-arguments so that readers can see why philosophic debate can be so thrilling.” — Sheldon Wein, St. Mary’s University

Acknowledgements

Introduction

  1. Philosophy
  2. How to Study Philosophy
  3. Arguments
  4. Notes on “Suggested Readings” Sections

Conversation I: Philosophy of Religion

Participants: RATIONALIST · ATHEIST · COSMOLOGIST · BIOLOGIST · PRAGMATIST · PSYCHOLOGIST · FIDEIST · SYMBOLIST · MYSTIC

  1. The First-Cause Argument
  2. The Argument from Design
  3. The Ontological Argument
  4. The Argument from Morality
  5. The Pragmatic Argument
  6. Pascal’s Wager
  7. The Burden of Proof
  8. The Argument from History
  9. The Argument from Psychology
  10. The Argument from the Existence of Evil
  11. Life After Death
  12. Fideism
  13. Symbolism
  14. Mysticism
    Suggested Readings

Conversation II: Social Philosophy

Participants: SCEPTIC · LEGALIST · CONTRACTARIAN · MORALIST · BIOLOGIST · COMMUNITARIAN · INDIVIDUALIST · COMMUNIST · LIBERTARIAN · INTERVENTIONIST · FEMINIST · EGALITARIAN

  1. The Question
  2. The Tragedy of the Commons and the Prisoner’s Dilemma
  3. The Social Contract
  4. Enforcement of the Contract
  5. A Moral Answer
  6. A Biological Answer
  7. Communitarianism
  8. Communism
  9. Socialism, Fascism, Nazism
  10. Libertarianism
  11. Interventionism
  12. Equality
  13. Justice
    Suggested Readings

Conversation III: Ethics

Participants: SCEPTIC · UTILITARIAN · DEONTOLOGIST · RIGHTS-THEORIST · KANTIAN · SUBJECTIVIST · RELATIVIST

  1. A Question
  2. Hedonism
  3. Utilitarianism
  4. Objections to Utilitarianism
  5. Doing and Not Doing
  6. Admiral Byng
  7. Rights
  8. Using People
  9. The Categorical Imperative
  10. The Motivation Question
  11. Ethical Knowledge
  12. Ethical Subjectivism
  13. The Weirdness of Ethical Characteristics
  14. Relativism
    Suggested Readings

Conversation IV: Mind and Body

Participants: SCEPTIC · DUALIST · IDENTITY THEORIST · ELIMINATIVIST · BEHAVIOURIST

  1. Materialism
  2. The Science Argument
  3. Is Dualism Obvious?
  4. The Differences Between the Mental and the Physical
  5. Introspection and Infallibility
  6. Recognizing the Mental vs. Recognizing the Physical
  7. Interaction
  8. Eliminative Materialism
  9. The Problem of Other Minds
  10. Behaviourism
  11. Could a Machine Think?
  12. Instinct and Learning; Unpredictability
  13. Creativity
  14. The Turing Test
  15. Deep Blue and the Sphex Wasp
  16. The Chinese Room
    Suggested Readings

Conversation V: Determinism, Free Will, and Punishment

Participants: IDENTITY THEORIST · SCEPTIC · DETERMINIST · FATALIST · MATHEMATICIAN · PHYSICIST · INDETERMINIST · HARD DETERMINIST · SOFT DETERMINIST · UTILITARIAN · RETRIBUTIVIST · PSYCHOLOGIST

  1. Determinism
  2. Cause
  3. Fatalism
  4. Predictability
  5. Is there Evidence for Determinism?
  6. Quantum Indeterminacy
  7. Free Will
  8. The Incompatibility of Responsibility and Determinism
  9. Soft Determinism
  10. The Function of Praise and Blame
  11. Randomness and Freedom
  12. Utilitarian Justifications of Punishment
  13. Retributivism
    Suggested Readings

Conversation VI: Knowledge

Participants: SCEPTIC · DEFINER · CARTESIAN · FALLIBILIST · EMPIRICIST · RATIONALIST

  1. The Definition of ‘Knowledge’
  2. Certainty and Fallibility
  3. Certainty and Probability
  4. Probable Beliefs and the Lottery Paradox
  5. Gettier Problems
  6. Empiricism and Rationalism: Concepts
  7. Innateness and Language
  8. Empiricism and Rationalism: Judgements
  9. Analytic and Synthetic Judgements
  10. Synthetic A Priori Judgements
  11. Scepticism: Perception
  12. The Brain in the Vat
  13. Scepticism: The Five-Minute Hypothesis
  14. Scepticism: The Problem of Induction
    Suggested Readings

Conversation VII: Identity; Meaning

Participants: SCEPTIC · CARTESIAN · EMPIRICIST · RATIONALIST · ANTIREALIST · INTERNALIST · REFERENTIALIST · SPEECH-ACT THEORIST

  1. Life After Death Again
  2. Continuing Mental Substance
  3. Criticisms of the Substance Theories
  4. The Mysterious Boat
  5. Relationism
  6. Some Strange Cases
  7. The Real Route 22
  8. Meaning Empiricism
  9. Meaning Internalism
  10. Meaning as Reference
  11. Meaning as Use
  12. Meanings and Intentions
  13. Meanings and Conventions
    Suggested Readings

Epilogue: Quotations from Bertrand Russell

Glossary Workbook

Robert M. Martin is Professor of Philosophy at Dalhousie University. His many books include On Ayer (Wadsworth), The Meaning of Language (MIT Press), and On Ockham, with Sharon Kaye (Wadsworth). He is also the author of Introducing Symbolic Logic, There Are Two Errors in the the Title of this Book, The Philosopher’s Dictionary, and Scientific Thinking (Broadview Press).