- Amazon Student Members Get an Extra 5% Off Selected Books Here's how (terms and conditions apply)
- Save 10% on Books for Schools offered by Amazon.co.uk when you purchase 10 or more of the same book. Here's how (terms and conditions apply) Enter code SCHOOLS2017 at checkout. Here's how (terms and conditions apply)
- Save 10% on selected children’s books, compliments of Amazon Family Promotion exclusive for Prime members .
Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 21 Feb 2002
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special offers and product promotions
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
[The Very Short Introduction to Philosophy] shows that philosophy really can be fascinating, broad-minded and full of surprise. As a means of stimulating interest in the subject it has few rivals. (Julian Baggini, The Philosopher's Magazine)
About the Author
Edward Craig is Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge University, where he is also a Fellow of Churchill College. He has held visiting appointments at the Universities of Hamburg and Heidelberg, and the University of Melbourne. His publications include The Mind of God and the Works of Man (OUP, 1987), Knowledge and the State of Nature (OUP, 1990), and he is general editor of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
Craig isn't prejudiced in any way by following certain schools of thought, and he doesn't go by the often tedious way of reciting the history of philosophy.
Instead he introduces you to a few philosophical examples: Socrates reasoning in jail; David Hume's philosophy of knowledge; and a Buddhist impression on the philosophy of the self. These help to get a sense of what philosophy is and how it concerns nearly everything. Craig then describes some theories and -isms in philosophy and then presents you with a personal selection of works. His culminating chapter returns to the starting point in the introduction-one which becomes evident throughout the book-about how important philosophy is.
This book is thought-engaging, lucid and never too heavy; Craig has succeeded in writing a perfectly accessible and very interesting introduction to philosophy.
If you are contemplating buying this and have ever wondered deeply about something, you should read this book.
We then, somewhat more traditionally, have summary introductions to some philosophical themes and 'isms'. Next, Craig presents reviews of a very personal selection of philosophical classics. 'Idiosyncratic' may be a better word than 'personal' as it includes Darwin's "The Origin of Species" which would not normally feature in such a list.
Finally, we have a description of philosophy as a discipline, asking what purposes and interests it serves.
There's a lot of good things to say about this little book. It is a well-written, lively and authoritative introduction. Craig references the Hindu tradition as well as the Western and gives plenty of encouragement and advice for further study.
Before this book was available I would probably have chosen one of two old favourites - Nagel's 'What Does it All Mean?' or Russell's 'Problems of Philosophy' - which are both classic introductions but a little bit stale. Or perhaps I would have gone for Blackburn's 'Think', which is much fresher in tone but still very solid in content. However none of those books stands up to Craig's introduction for the following reasons.
First of all, you can be in no doubt as to the calibre of your guide. Craig hasn't published widely and is not a glamour figure in philosophical circles, but when he does write it is routinely excellent. He was also general editor of the multi-volume Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, itself an incredible achievement, and is a very popular figure at Cambridge University where he still lectures - both for the quality of his teaching and his down-to-earth nature, quite rare in a professional philosopher. Personal admiration aside, the point is that having this guy in your corner is very reassuring as he guides you through the subject.
Secondly, he really tries to give you a feel for what studying philosophy is actually like. By guiding you through important philosophical texts and drawing out the ideas and themes from there, he is encouraging you to do exactly what philosophers have always done, and continue to do. He isn't describing philosophy to you, so that you are a mere spectator, he is helping you to take part. And that, ultimately, is what it's all about.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, Craig succeeds in conveying the ideas clearly, in plain language but without undue simplification. That is the big challenge that all introductions to the subject ultimately stand and fall by, and he passes with flying colours. Yet despite the clarity and simplicity with which the ideas are expressed, when I read it there was still enough interesting comment, analysis and ordering of ideas to give me significant new stimulus as someone who has studied the subject for many years.
Finally, I think Craig is to be commended for not trying to be exhaustive or covering all the 'key themes'. Instead, by freeing himself from that constraint, he has been able to write the book in a way that gives the reader the opportunity to get enthused about the discipline, or at least to get a taste for some of its pleasures. Whether or not they choose to take that opportunity is up to them, but by providing a little window into what doing philosophy is really like, rather than providing a sanitised, generic, theme-based bore-a-thon where the ideas have nothing to hang from and no true insight is gained (see e.g. Warbuton), he has done a great service to inquisitive thinkers everywhere, in my humble opinion.
No book is for everyone, and there are other ways of approaching an introduction that may appeal, but if you don't enjoy this having got to the end then I'd genuinely be very surprised if anything else in print was capable of igniting your interest in the subject.
It's down-to-earth, grounded in the view that philosophers reflect on exactly the same issues as anyone might ponder upon. The author explores in simple terms where logical journeys can take us. How do values interact ? What can be done about the ensuing paradoxes and dilemmas? And if by a shrug of moral relativism, how to respond to the conundrums which that approach itself generates ? Where, and what, is reality ?
Happily embracing both scientific and religious philosophies into his overview, this genial thinker invites us to enjoy the absence of any ultimate QED's. Every world view seems to have its flaws. ( for example: is not democracy `the tyranny of the majority' ? )
A humorous appetiser, and the last chapter is a suggested futher reading list.