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Philosophy For Dummies

ISBN: 978-0-7645-5153-6
384 pages
September 1999
Philosophy For Dummies (0764551531) cover image

Description

Philosophy at its best is an activity more than a body of knowledge. In an ancient sense, done right, it is a healing art. It’s intellectual self-defense. It’s a form of therapy. But it’s also much more. Philosophy is map-making for the soul, cartography for the human journey. It’s an important navigational tool for life that too many modern people try to do without.

Philosophy For Dummies is for anyone who has ever entertained a question about life and this world. In a conversational tone, the book's author – a modern-day scholar and lecturer – brings the greatest wisdom of the past into the challenges that we face now. This refreshingly different guide explains philosophical fundamentals and explores some of the strangest and deepest questions ever posed to human beings, such as

  • How do we know anything?
  • What does the word good mean?
  • Are we ever really free?
  • Do human beings have souls?
  • Is there life after death?
  • Is there a God?
  • Is happiness really possible in our world?

This book is chock full of all those questions you may have long wanted to think about and talk with someone about, but have never had the time or opportunity to tackle head on. Philosophy For Dummies invites you to discuss the issues you find in the guide, share perspectives, and compare thoughts and feelings with someone you respect. You'll find lots of material to mull over with your friends or spouse, including thoughts on

  • When to doubt, and when to doubt our doubts
  • The universal demand for evidence and proof
  • The four dimensions of human experience
  • Arguments for materialism
  • Fear of the process of dying
  • Prayers and small miracles
  • Moral justification for allowing evil

The ancient philosopher Socrates (fifth century, B.C.) thought that, when it comes to the Ultimate Questions, we all start off as dummies. But if we are humbly aware of how little we actually know, then we can really begin to learn. Philosophy For Dummies will put you on the path to wising up as you steer through the experience called life.

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Table of Contents

Introduction.

PART I: What Is Philosophy, Anyway?

Chapter 1: Great Thinkers, Deep Thoughts.

Chapter 2: Philosophy as an Activity.

Chapter 3: The Love of Wisdom.

PART II: How Do We Know Anything?

Chapter 4: Belief, Truth, and Knowledge.

Chapter 5: The Challenge of Skepticism.

Chapter 6: The Amazing Reality of Basic Beliefs.

PART III: What Is the Good?

Chapter 7: What Is Good?

Chapter 8: Happiness, Excellence, and the Good Life.

Chapter 9: Ethical Rules and Moral Character.

PART IV: Are We Ever Really Free?

Chapter 10: Fate, Destiny, and You.

Chapter 11: Standard Views of Freedom.

Chapter 12: Just Do It: Human Agency in the World.

PART V: The Incredible, Invisible You.

Chapter 13: What Is a Person?

Chapter 14: The Case for Materialism.

Chapter 15: The Case for Dualism.

PART VI: What's the Deal with Death?

Chapter 16: From Dust to Dust: Fear and the Void.

Chapter 17: Philosophical Consolations on Death.

Chapter 18: Is There Life After Death?

PART VII: Is There a God?

Chapter 19: Two World Views.

Chapter 20: Theistic Visions.

Chapter 21: The Problem of Evil.

PART VIII: The Meaning of Life.

Chapter 22: What Is the Meaning of Life?

Chapter 23: Pascal's Wager: Betting Your Life.

Chapter 24: Success and Happiness in Life.

PART IX: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 25: Ten Great Philosophers.

Chapter 26: Ten Great Questions.

Index.

Book Registration Information.
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Author Information

Tom Morris, Ph.D., author of True Success and other books, taught philosophy at Notre Dame University for 15 years and currently heads the Morris Institute for Human Values.
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