Written specifically for beginning undergraduates who have little or no previous knowledge of the subject, this is a distinctive and thoughtful introduction to the main problems of philosophy, structured around a philosophical argument which is clearly and carefully developed throughout the book.
This argument takes the form of a sustained response to the challenge of scepticism, and deals with this challenge in a coherent and unified manner. In this way, not only does the reader begin to understand philosophy itself, but also how a philosophical mind works.
The text explores forms of the sceptical challenge in connection with our knowledge of the external world: the self and other beings, moral obligation, political obligation, aesthetic values, and the existence of God. Throughout, the author engages his readers in thought and discussion through his lively and refreshing style, and encourages them to embark on their own philosophical reflections.
"Phillips writes with exemplary clarity and care, and is a reliable
guide." Times Literary Supplement, April.
"Here is an introduction to philosophy which actually does what
we all say should be done. It lets the arguments speak for
themselves." Professor Anthony Palmer, University of
"There should be an introduction to philosophy written by
someone who, along with Wittgenstein, suspects that most
philosophical problems are false problems - and this is it.
Phillips shows that sceptical problems in epistemology, morality,
and even to an extent in religion grow out of confusion and
anticipate the wrong kind of answers. Anyone with an interest in
philosophy, students and teachers alike, can learn from the hard
thinking that it takes to recover our bearings in these matters."
Professor John H Whittaker, Louisiana State University
"This is a splendid introduction to philosophy... Rather than
the pot-boiler approach of taking a topic and proceeding to say,
well, there is this view, and then there is this view, and so on,
the author does not disguise his belief that a certain overall
philosophical position is correct. The book thus stands in the
distinguished tradition of Russell's The Problems of
Philosophy and A. J. Ayer's Central Questions of
Philosophy....When next your offspring start asking awkward
philosophical questions give them Philips' book to read."
"In his Preface Philips quotes a former teacher, 'How can you
teach anyone to think unless they see you thinking?' The book is
the result of Philips' own philosophical thought and his struggles
with its problems....In the classroom I would think this book could
be best used in conjunction with the close reading of classical and
contemporary texts... students should be asked to reassess that
work in the light of what Philips has to say about their
questions." Philosophical Investigations