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The Philosopher's Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods [Kindle Edition]

Julian Baggini , Peter S. Fosl
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The second edition of this popular compendium provides the necessary intellectual equipment to engage with and participate in effective philosophical argument, reading, and reflection
  • Features significantly revised, updated and expanded entries, and an entirely new section drawn from methods in the history of philosophy
  • This edition has a broad, pluralistic approach--appealing to readers in both continental philosophy and the history of philosophy, as well as analytic philosophy
  • Explains difficult concepts in an easily accessible manner, and addresses the use and application of these concepts
  • Proven useful to philosophy students at both beginning and advanced levels

Product Description


" The Philosopher′s Toolkit is a very good book. It could be highly useful for both introductory courses in philosophy, or philosophical methodology, as well as independent study for anyone interested in the methods of argument, assessment and criticism used in contemporary analytic philosophy. It is unique in approach, and written in a pleasant and considerate tone. Its authors are both competent philosophers, and the book visibly reflects their deep sympathy to the discipline and their appreciation of its unique character. This book will help one to get going to do philosophy, but more advanced students might find this text helpful too. I wish I had had access to this book as an undergraduate." ( Teaching Philosophy)

"This book is ... an encyclopedia of philosophy. It should be of great use as a quick and accurate reference guide to the skill of philosophy, especially for beginners, but also for instructors ... highly recommended." (Choice)

"Its choice of tools for basic argument ... is sound, while further tools for argument ... move through topics and examples concisely and wittily... Sources are well chosen and indicated step by step. Sections are cross–referenced (making it better than the Teach Youself "100 philosophical concepts") and supported by a useful index." (Reference Reviews)

"...the average person who is interested in arguments and logic but who doesn′t have much background in philosophy would certainly find this book useful, as would anyone teaching a course on arguments, logic, and reasoning. Even introductory courses on philosophy in general might benefit because the book lays out so many of the conceptual "tools" which will prove necessary over students′ careers." (


" The Philosopher′s Toolkit provides a welcome and useful addition to the introductory philosophy books available. It takes the beginner through most of the core conceptual tools and distinctions used by philosophers, explaining them simply and with abundant examples. Newcomers to philosophy will find much in here that will help them to understand the subject."
David S. Oderberg, University of Reading

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 812 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 2 edition (24 Aug. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005UQLGC0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #126,065 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Top Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Making the complicated simple 2 Feb. 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Many philosophy texts assume an understanding of the concepts used and this assumption can cause the novice problems. Philosophy dictionaries and encyclopaedias tend, in my experience, to be written in terms that sometimes include other problematic terms or are technical. This excellent little book (well 304 pages for such a subject is small) is written in a very accessible style (reminds me of Nigel Warburton who also strives to be clear and simple). The entries explain a range of common concepts/ideas/terms and gives examples as well as referring the reader to other relevant entries and further reading.

I would guess the book would be ideal for A level and first year undergraduate philosophy students and anybody else who wants terms to be defined clearly and simply. No substitute for the Routledge Shorter Encylopaedia of Philosophy, it is a good deal simpler and I can only commend the authors for their determined attempt to write clearly and simply when others do not. Any idiot can make something complicated sound complicated. It takes more effort to make the complicated sound simple and near genius to achieve it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Dr. H. A. Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Philosopher’s Toolkit: A compendium of philosophical concepts and methods by Julian Baggini and Peter S. Fosl, Wiley-Blackwell, 2nd edn. 2010, 304 ff.

This is a book of fundamentals of philosophy, explicitly written but with subject matter that needs concentrated reading. It is presented throughout in relatively short sections for easier assimilation. For many of these, a few particularly relevant other sections of the work are listed at the end so that the reader can join up his or her thinking with related topics or approaches. Baggini is a British professional writer and Fosl is Professor of Philosophy at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky.

There are seven chapters in this book and the first two deal with the devices used in philosophical arguments – like deduction and induction, fallacies and tautologies, analogies and anomalies. Chapter Three is about how we would assess the arguments of others (or what we need to look out for in making arguments of our own) with features like ambiguity, circularity, redundancy and somewhat more challenging features like category mistakes or conceptual incoherence.

Chapter Four teaches us how to distinguish between complementary pairs of philosophical concepts – analytic and synthetic, necessary and sufficient properties, objective and subjective arguments, and a whole lot more. In Chapter Five there is a fascinating examination of some of the most famous arguments that were used by philosophers of yesteryear – like Hume’s Fork and Ogham’s Razor.

The remaining two chapters are also written in a historical context dealing as they do with the views of some great philosophers of the past – Leibniz, Nietzsche, Sartre, and another more modern French philosopher Jacques Lacan, Gödel, and others.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seems perfect! 25 July 2010
By Pipster
I bought this as a present for a friend studying philosophy and after reading some of it he told me it may have single handedly saved his degree! So I guess it's pretty good! It was delivered really quick and it perfect condition too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for all areas of philosophy 8 Jun. 2015
By Steve T
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This looks to be the ideal book for anyone new to phlosophy who does not have a good understanding of the various concepts involved. It can be used to look up specific terms or read from start to finish and is written in an easy to understand style.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great simple explanations 12 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Any student of philosophy would enjoy this bookand can be a life saver for revision of topics and concepts - better than a dictionary of philosophy - worth the cost
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