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Life's Ultimate Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy

Life's Ultimate Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy [Kindle Edition]

5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description


Life's Ultimate Questions is unique among introductory philosophy textbooks. By synthesizing three distinct approaches—topical, historical, and worldview/conceptual systems—it affords students a breadth and depth of perspective previously unavailable in standard introductory texts.


Part One, Six Conceptual Systems, explores the philosophies of: naturalism, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, and Aquinas.


Part Two, Important Problems in Philosophy, sheds light on: The Law of Noncontradiction, Possible Words, Epistemology I: Whatever Happened to Truth?, Epistemology II: A Tale of Two Systems, Epistemology III: Reformed Epistemology, God I: The Existence of God, God II: The Nature of God, Metaphysics: Some Questions About Indeterminism, Ethics I: The Downward Path, Ethics II: The Upward Path, Human Nature: The Mind-Body Problem and Survival After Death.

From the Publisher

Can be used in Christian and secular classrooms alike.
Life’s Ultimate Questions is a basic textbook on introduction to philosophy that helps the reader understand the notion of a worldview and the role that worldviews play for everyone. It also helps readers achieve self-understanding about their own worldview. The book focuses on six specific views: naturalism, and the views of Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, and Aquinas. Life’s Ultimate Questions also deals with such topics as ethics, metaphysics, and possible worlds.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1261 KB
  • Print Length: 406 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0310223644
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (3 Aug 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003SE760W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #519,258 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to philosophy 31 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This text dates from 1999. Ronald Nash was a Christian philosopher in the United States who produced many short, accessible texts on a wide range of topics, particularly on the relation between faith and epistemology; a special interest of his was Augustine's theory of knowledge. This is one of his longer books and was intended as an introductory text, being the kind of book Nash wished he could have had himself as an undergraduate. This book serves as an excellent introduction from the perspective of worldviews, being strongly grounded in Plato and Aristotle and their heirs (Plotinus, Augustine and Aquinas), with a preface on Democritus and pre-Socratic atomism. The second half deals with specific philosophical topics and problems, including the nature of God; indeterminism and the will; ethics; the mind-body problem. Nash's own Christian commitments are clear throughout, but this is a book that can be profitably used by students without such commitments. There are astute comments here on Kant and utilitarianism.
Much of the content of these chapters, as well as Nash's own extensive teaching on Plato and Aristotle can be found on, Monergism and other websites, and learning from both sources together: helpful for people who learn by hearing as well as reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent foundation 8 Sep 2012
By M.
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I complex but intriguing subject made understandable. Great groundwork for a Christian stepping into Philosophy. Worth digesting. Gives a great overview of different Philosophical thoughts espoused throughout history and to date, but always showing where applicable its significance in defending the Christian faith and worldview and fallicies of some counter thoughts. Keeps one grounded in the truth while discussing alternative views. I recommend.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Start For The Christian Philosopher 31 Dec 2008
By J. S. Bader - Published on
This book is what got me interested in philosophy. Having been required to read various theological books when I was a kid I hadn't really understood them to the fullest extent and had little interest to know much more about them or what the works said. However, this work helped shape my thinking and developed my interest in philosophy. The book is a textbook and reads like a textbook, so it doesn't have a tone that would get one excited. Yet, the formation of the book is very good.

Some intro to philosophy books have a name dropper style i.e. going through a very brief history of philosophy by describing the philosopher with a feather light touch on their philosophy (similar to the book Looking At Philosophy: The Unbearable Heaviness of Philosophy Made Lighter). Or give an intro to a certain concept without really going into how others have done it in the past (like ]]Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics). However, this starts off with a history of ancient philosophy with an acceptable amount of information of several ancient philosophers. He then moves on to some problems of philosophy like relativism and deconstructionism.

Rather than just giving you some general information about philosophy, Nash's goal seems to get you to think like a philosopher. He has in mind to train you analytic skills and be prepared to face some of the proponents of the worldviews that Nash considers (and any Christian should consider) problems of philosophy.

Unlike many philosophy text books, Nash does not separate his worldview from philosophy. It is not merely straight information for you to do what you will with it (if nothing at all). Nash is a Christian and is not shy about it. One can almost see this work as a kind of apologetic training in the field of Classical apologetics. He does this because he recognizes that philosophy is a dangerous field for one's worldview. Going into philosophy is nothing to take lightly; therefore, Nash would have you further grounded into the Christian worldview before you start exploring other worldviews that have been very influential (thus his emphasis on the concept of worldviews).

Ronald Nash here does have an agenda, but that is a good thing. While giving a general introduction to philosophy, he does so in a way that encourages one to think about what you will be taught as you progress in your philosophical journey. Nash encourages you to recognize that the various worldviews out there can have a profound effect on you; therefore, it is best to start philosophy with theology under your feet.

The book is very well outlined with a "for further reading" at the end of every chapter. This is an excellent asset to have if one is considering becoming a practicing Christian philosopher. It has affected me very much, and will be an excellent place to start.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Philosophy 11 Nov 2000
By K.H. - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ronald Nash has completed a great introductory book on thE subject of philosophy. He begins by discussing world views and then writes about the six conceptual systems: Naturalism, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus,Augustine, ansd Aquinas. He writes about the Law of Non-contradiction and epistemology. The strength of the book are the chapters on God's existence and nature.
The book is very much highly prone to Christian Theism. However, he writes truthfully about the theories and peoples involoved throughout philosophy. Since he is writing a text book, you will not find any overt evangelism taking place here, which is a good thing, since this book is actually menat as a primer for college students.
The book is easy to read and Nash's strength is his ability to make complicated subjects easy to understand.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a philosophy textbook 20 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Lots of people are frightened of textbooks; too difficult to understand, they think. Too dry, others suppose. "Life's Ultimate Questions" can help even the most general reader get a handle on the most important philosophers in history. The book can provide a foundation that can help even a beginner move on to dozens of important topics such as do humans have a soul? Is there life after death? How can we know if God exists? What are the most important options in ethics? How can we know that something is the case? This book is a solid and helpful piece of work.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An effective intro to specifically Christian philosophy 17 Mar 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Ron Nash is first and foremost a Christian philosopher, and he approaches all subjects from that angle, even an introductory text such as Life's Ultimate Questions. This is all well and good, but it means that this text is really only appropriate for use in Christian colleges and seminaries, which is obviously what Nash has in mind.

With that out of the way, I have to give Nash a lot of praise for his work here. Decades of teaching philosophy have honed his writing and communication skills to a degree where he can make complex concepts sound simple. The structure of the book is interesting as well. In the first half, Nash defines and critiques the conceptual systems of six major philosophers: Democritus (naturalism), Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus (Neoplatonism), Augustine, and Aquinas. The second half deals with specific philosophical topics and problems, and here Nash moves into recent philosophy with discussions of analytic philosophy, postmodernism, and the like. This structure is very effective, as it achieves more of a balance between the history of philosophy approach and the topical approach, while leaning more toward the topical when it comes to philosophical movements and questions that are representative of contemporary philosophers.

Nash sprinkles his discussion of these topics with criticisms from the standpoint of a Christian worldview. Again, this is fine, as all philosophers are working from a specific perspective, but a text that claims to be "An Introduction to Philosophy" probably ought to be a little less partisan. Consider something like Millard Erickson's Systematic Theology. Erickson is a premier evangelical theologian, but in his introductory texts he lays out the different viewpoints on different subjects always using the same structure: he defines a certain view, follows with positive aspects of that view and finishes with criticisms. In other words, he presents all sides while making clear what his own position is. Contrast Nash, who is a bit more heavy-handed.

As it is, however, Life's Ultimate Questions is an effective and readable introduction to philosophy. A believer who wants an introduction to specifically Christian philosophy can't go wrong with Nash.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understand Philosophy 24 Feb 2013
By Sharon A Powell - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you had to read the translated works of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and others, it would take you months to interpret what you read. This book does it for you by systematically explaining their core ideas and breaks them down in understandable language. It further compares/contrasts the great philosophers so you can see how their ideas are alike or differ; how they expanded on the ideas of their predecessors and moved to their own thought on life's compelling questions.
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