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Philosophy: The Basics (Basics (Routledge Paperback)) [Paperback]

Nigel Warburton
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

13 May 2004 0415327733 978-0415327732 4

Now in its fourth edition, Nigel Warburton's best-selling book gently eases the reader into the world of philosophy. Each chapter considers a key area of philosophy, explaining and exploring the basic ideas and themes.

  • What is philosophy?
  • Can you prove God exists? 
  • Is there an afterlife?
  • How do we know right from wrong?
  • Should you ever break the law?
  • Is the world really the way you think it is?
  • How should we define Freedom of Speech?
  • Do you know how science works?
  • Is your mind different from your body?
  • Can you define art?

For the fourth edition, Warburton has added new sections to several chapters, revised others and brought the further reading sections up to date. If you've ever asked what is philosophy, or whether the world is really the way you think it is, then this is the book for you.



Product details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 4 edition (13 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415327733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415327732
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.9 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 38,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Nigel Warburton is Senior Lecturer at the Open University. He is editor of Philosophy: Basics Readings, co-author of Reading Political Philosophy and author of Philosophy: The Classics, Thinking from A-Z, Freedom: An Introduction with Readings, The Art Question and Ernö Goldfinger: The Life of An Architect.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does exactly what it says on the tin. 9 Aug 2006
Format:Paperback
This book was written with the philosophical novice in mind, and it succeeds emphatically at introducing the basic philosophical problems to the beginner. The topics covered are: The Existence of God, morality and ethics, politics, epistemology (the theory of knowledge - i.e. "what can we know?"), the philosophy of science, the philosophy of the mind, and aesthetics (art and beauty).

The book is written in a VERY accessible style, so even if you have never encountered philosophy or have previously been put off by dense and hard-to-understand texts, with this book you won't have that problem.

For each of the topics covered Nigel Warburton discusses how it has been proposed, and what the counter-arguments are, and encourages you to think for yourself along the way. At the end of each section there are suggested reading lists if you want to pursue the matter with your own further reading.

The one reservation I have is that obviously, being a philosopher, the author has some preferences for particular arguments as opposed to others. There is a slight hint in places that this is so, and so STRICTLY speaking not all is neutral. But I don't think this undermines the book as a beginner's text AT ALL. I would highly recommend it.
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86 of 90 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I did a philosophy degree and I remember getting a bit dismayed by some of the books I had to read. Then I stumbled across this. In his introduction he writes that philosophy is often seen as harder than it actually is and this is because many philosophers aren't good writers.

This is 100% true and restored my faith in philosophy. Warburton is an extremely clear writer and covers the essential points is a lucid manner. If it's within the scope of this book then any essay you have to write, or topic you are interested in should begin with this book. Of course you will need others but this is a great starting point.

See also his 'philosophy: a-z' You might also find Bryan Magee's books useful and Bertrand Russell is a bit of a genius too.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! 7 Dec 2007
By A. I. Mackenzie VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Like 'Philosophy - the classics', this is an excellent book, reference and general reader. It gives a useful reading list at the end of each chapter.

The Basics takes a topic based approach, including Philosophy of : Science, Mind, Religion, the external world etc. and starts off by expounding the theory (say behaviourism) and then the arguments against it.

Warburton writes really clearly and this book is a useful resource for student and anyone interested in Philosophy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Preface to Philosophy 30 Mar 2009
By Graham Mccarthy TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Philosophy: The Basics is not without its faults, but as a clear, concise and accessible introduction to philosophy it is quite outstanding. True, it's not difficult to extrapolate some of the author's own opinions, but I can forgive this because it's not much of a distraction and we're not studying any of the topics in great depth.

The book is divided into six discrete sections (God, Right and Wrong, the External World, Science, Mind, and Art); each topic is given a page or two of introduction followed by the arguments for and against each. It is the author's clarity of thought and economy with language that enables him to distil each topic down into its essential essences and what makes this book so clear and enjoyable to read. It is this clarity that is the book's strength and in my opinion it weakness. Why a weakness? Well, I found myself taken up by the pace of the book and reached the end feeling like the person that had just downed a glass of claret in one gulp, I found myself straining to recall the complexity of the flavour.

`Philosophy: An Introduction' is easy to understand and well written and is an excellent preface to further reading on philosophy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Jazzrook TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This revised and updated 5th edition(2012) remains an accessible and comprehensive guide to philosophy.
After an inspiring introduction, there are chapters on 'God', 'Right and wrong', 'Politics', 'Appearance and reality', 'Science', 'Mind' & 'Art' plus a new short chapter on 'Animals'.
At the end of each chapter there is a useful further reading section.
Nigel Warburton's intellectually stimulating book is a superb introduction which should appeal to the general reader as well as students of philosophy.
My only criticism is the lack of discussion on the controversial subject of continental philosophy(Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault et al). Perhaps a chapter explaining the analytic-continental divide in philosophy could be added for the 6th edition?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An easy approach! 24 April 2012
By Onora
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This gives a good depth into 'the basics' of philosophy. It is divided into seven chapters including God, right and wrong, politics, the external world, science, mind,and art. Each chapter has at least twenty subheadings within its subject. For example, the first chapter on God deals with the intelligent design argument,Fine tuningthe ontological argument, Knowledge, proof and the existence of God, the problem of evil and so on. Warburton also includes some appropriate philosophy sites to visit as well as recommendations for further reading at the end of each chapter. No problem recommending it and for a specialist book of over 164 pages, it's reasonably priced.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Basics
Brought for my daughters A level work. She is completely happy with the content and its relevance to her course work. Worth buying
Published 2 months ago by Mr Gary J White
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential purchase
An essential purchase for anyone interested in persuing philosophy. Interesting informative and breaks it down into understandable bits. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mr A. Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars great
the first book i bought on line but it had a different cover to the one displayed so i had to go back to remenber it
Published 13 months ago by Mr A J Bird
5.0 out of 5 stars A almost new second hand book
It just take two weeks to receive the book, it's amazing! And the condition of the book is just the same as described.
Published on 12 Aug 2011 by Katherine Ho
5.0 out of 5 stars Laid out well
Good basic(as the title suggests) introduction to philosophy. Love how the book is laid out,with so many subjects and their counterarguments and easy precise... Read more
Published on 10 July 2011 by Mat
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction
I learned some political philosophy in my degree course many years ago and I have always been interested in finding out more about philosophy in general, a topic , which like... Read more
Published on 9 July 2011 by L. Davidson
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent introduction to philosophy
This is an excellent introduction to basic ideas and topics. It is clearly written and very well structured. Read more
Published on 11 Nov 2010 by louise
4.0 out of 5 stars introduction to philosophical themes
This book is a good introduction to philosophical areas such as mind, science etc. The chapters are quite long though, Warburton provides criticisms of each theory to help clarify... Read more
Published on 8 Nov 2010 by lauren1
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book Review
Well written, easy to understand, not boring. You get a good grasp of what is philosophy on a basic level. Read more
Published on 16 Nov 2009 by Stefano Brini
5.0 out of 5 stars Peace of mind
I was considering taking philosophy as part of a joint honours with fine art at university; I have been advised that this is perhaps not such a wise decision so I opted for... Read more
Published on 9 Sep 2009 by Katie
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