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Metaphysics: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Stephen Mumford
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199657122
Pages: 113
Year: 2012-08-30
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An introduction to metaphysics offers questions and answers covering such issues as properties, changes, time, personal identity, nothingness, and consciousness.
Metaphysics: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Stephen Mumford
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191640263
Pages: 128
Year: 2012-08-30
View: 181
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Metaphysics is one of the traditional four main branches of philosophy, alongside ethics, logic and epistemology. It is also an area that continues to attract and hold a fascination for many people yet it is associated with being complex and abstract. For some it is associated with the mystical or religious. For others it is known through the metaphysical poets who talk of love and spirituality. This Very Short Introduction goes right to the heart of the matter, getting to the basic and most important questions of metaphysical thought in order to understand the theory: What are objects? Do colours and shapes have some form of existence? What is it for one thing to cause another rather than just being associated with it? What is possible? Does time pass? By using these questions to initiate thought about the basic issues around substance, properties, changes, causes, possibilities, time, personal identity, nothingness and emergentism, Stephen Mumford provides a clear and simple path through this analytical tradition at the core of philosophical thought. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Causation: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Stephen Mumford, Rani Lill Anjum
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191507385
Pages: 144
Year: 2013-11-28
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Causation is the most fundamental connection in the universe. Without it, there would be no science or technology. There would be no moral responsibility either, as none of our thoughts would be connected with our actions and none of our actions with any consequences. Nor would we have a system of law because blame resides only in someone having caused injury or damage. Any intervention we make in the world around us is premised on there being causal connections that are, to a degree, predictable. It is causation that is at the basis of prediction and also explanation. This Very Short Introduction introduces the key theories of causation and also the surrounding debates and controversies. Do causes produce their effects by guaranteeing them? Do causes have to precede their effects? Can causation be reduced to the forces of physics? And are we right to think of causation as one single thing at all? ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
The Meaning of Life: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Terry Eagleton
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191579033
Pages: 128
Year: 2008-04-24
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We have all wondered about the meaning of life. But is there an answer? And do we even really know what we're asking? Terry Eagleton takes a stimulating and quirky look at this most compelling of questions: at the answers explored in philosophy and literature; at the crisis of meaning in modern times; and suggests his own solution to how we might rediscover meaning in our lives.
Logic: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Graham Priest
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192539701
Pages: 152
Year: 2017-10-19
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Logic is often perceived as having little to do with the rest of philosophy, and even less to do with real life. In this lively and accessible introduction, Graham Priest shows how wrong this conception is. He explores the philosophical roots of the subject, explaining how modern formal logic deals with issues ranging from the existence of God and the reality of time to paradoxes of probability and decision theory. Along the way, the basics of formal logic are explained in simple, non-technical terms, showing that logic is a powerful and exciting part of modern philosophy. In this new edition Graham Priest expands his discussion to cover the subjects of algorithms and axioms, and proofs in mathematics. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Free Will: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Thomas Pink
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192853589
Pages: 132
Year: 2004-06-24
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Every day we seem to make and act upon all kinds of free choices - but are these choices really free? Or are we compelled to act the way we do by factors beyond our control? This book looks at free will.
Descartes: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Tom Sorell
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191606561
Pages: 128
Year: 2000-10-12
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René Descartes (1596-1650) had a remarkably short working life, and his output was small, yet his contributions to philosophy and science have endured to the present day. He is perhaps best known for his statement 'Cogito, ergo sum'. By a mixture of 'intuition' and 'deduction' Descartes derived from the 'cogito' principle first the existence of a material world. But Descartes did not intend the metaphysics to stand apart from his scientific work, which included important investigations into physics, mathematics, psychology, and optics. In this book Tom Sorrell shows that Descartes was, above all, an advocate and practitioner of a new mathematical approach to physics, and that he developed his metaphysics to support his programme in the sciences. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
German Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Andrew Bowie
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191614289
Pages: 152
Year: 2010-05-27
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German philosophy remains the core of modern philosophy. Without Kant, Frege, Wittgenstein, and Husserl there would be no Anglo-American 'analytical' style of philosophy. Moreover, without Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, the 'Continental Philosophy' of Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, Badiou, and Zizek, which has had major effects on humanities subjects in recent years, is incomprehensible. Knowledge of German philosophy is, then, an indispensable prerequisite of theoretically informed study in the humanities as a whole. German Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction discusses the idea that German philosophy forms one of the most revealing responses to the problems of 'modernity'. The rise of the modern natural sciences and the related decline of religion raises a series of questions, which recur throughout German philosophy, concerning the relationships between knowledge and faith, reason and emotion, and scientific, ethical, and artistic ways of seeing the world. There are also many significant philosophers who are generally neglected in most existing English-language treatments of German philosophy, which tend to concentrate on the canonical figures. This Very Short Introduction will include reference to these thinkers and suggests how they can be used to question more familiar German philosophical thought. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Metaphysics
Author: Jonathan Tallant
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1350006742
Pages: 336
Year: 2017-09-21
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If the sentence 'my cat is on the mat' is true how does it get to be true? Sentences are made true by what exists. But what about claims such as 'There were dinosaurs?' and '2+2=4'. How do they get to be true? Metaphysics: An Introduction uses the idea of truth and the quest for truth-makers to unravel philosophical problems in contemporary metaphysics. From the nature of properties and time to causation and objects, truth becomes a guiding theme to understanding metaphysical concepts and debates. Now updated and expanded, this second edition presents a more comprehensive coverage of the field with new chapters on personal identity and free will. By focusing on method throughout, it offers the necessary skills and reasoning to tackle complex questions. Together with a glossary, discussion questions and guides to further reading, each chapter concludes with a series of mind maps to help visualise the logical space being explored and how the arguments push in different directions. Metaphysics: An Introduction is suitable for anyone studying metaphysical problems for the first time.
Reality: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Jan Westerhoff
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191638072
Pages: 136
Year: 2011-11-24
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'What is real?' has been one of the key questions of philosophy since its beginning in antiquity. It is a question that, due to such films as The Matrix, has also made its way into popular culture. But it is not just a question philosophers ask. It is also asked by scientists when they investigate whether the fundamental constituents of matter are actually 'out there' or just a mere abstraction from a successful theory. Cognitive scientists ask it when trying to find out which set of the bewildering array of data processed by our brain could constitute the basis for such supposedly fundamental entities like the free agent or the self. This Very Short Introduction discusses what reality is by looking at a variety of arguments, theories and thought-experiments from philosophy, physics, and cognitive science. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Aristotle: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Jonathan Barnes
Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks
ISBN: 0192854089
Pages: 160
Year: 2000-10-12
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The influence of Aristotle, the prince of philosophers, on the intellectual history of the West is second to none. In this book Jonathan Barnes examines Aristotle's scientific researches, his discoveries in logic and his metaphysical theories, his work in psychology and in ethics and politics, and his ideas about art and poetry, placing his teachings in their historical context. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Susan Blackmore
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192513729
Pages: 152
Year: 2017-09-14
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Consciousness, 'the last great mystery for science', remains a hot topic. How can a physical brain create our experience of the world? What creates our identity? Do we really have free will? Could consciousness itself be an illusion? Exciting new developments in brain science are continuing the debates on these issues, and the field has now expanded to include biologists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers. This controversial book clarifies the potentially confusing arguments, and the major theories, whilst also outlining the amazing pace of discoveries in neuroscience. Covering areas such as the construction of self in the brain, mechanisms of attention, the neural correlates of consciousness, and the physiology of altered states of consciousness, Susan Blackmore highlights our latest findings. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Jennifer Nagel
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191637319
Pages: 152
Year: 2014-09-25
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What is knowledge? How does it differ from mere belief? Do you need to be able to justify a claim in order to count as knowing it? How can we know that the outer world is real and not a dream? Questions like these are ancient ones, and the branch of philosophy dedicated to answering them - epistemology - has been active for thousands of years. In this thought-provoking Very Short Introduction, Jennifer Nagel considers these classic questions alongside new puzzles arising from recent discoveries about humanity, language, and the mind. Nagel explains the formation of major historical theories of knowledge, and shows how contemporary philosophers have developed new ways of understanding knowledge, using ideas from logic, linguistics, and psychology. Covering topics ranging from relativism and the problem of scepticism to the trustworthiness of internet sources, Nagel examines how progress has been made in understanding knowledge, using everyday examples to explain the key issues and debates ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Philosophy
Author: Edward Craig
Publisher: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.
ISBN: 140276877X
Pages: 186
Year: 2009
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"Philosophy is more than an intellectual pastime, according to Edward Craig. His lively and engaging study shows that thinkers like Descartes, Hegel, Darwin, and de Beauvoir responded to real needs and events--and that many of their concerns shape our daily lives today"--Cover, p. 4.
Game Theory: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Ken Binmore
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199218463
Pages: 184
Year: 2007-10-25
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Games are everywhere: Drivers maneuvering in heavy traffic are playing a driving game. Bargain hunters bidding on eBay are playing an auctioning game. The supermarket's price for corn flakes is decided by playing an economic game. This Very Short Introduction offers a succinct tour of the fascinating world of game theory, a ground-breaking field that analyzes how to play games in a rational way. Ken Binmore, a renowned game theorist, explains the theory in a way that is both entertaining and non-mathematical yet also deeply insightful, revealing how game theory can shed light on everything from social gatherings, to ethical decision-making, to successful card-playing strategies, to calculating the sex ratio among bees. With mini-biographies of many fascinating, and occasionally eccentric, founders of the subject--including John Nash, subject of the movie A Beautiful Mind--this book offers a concise overview of a cutting-edge field that has seen spectacular successes in evolutionary biology and economics, and is beginning to revolutionize other disciplines from psychology to political science. About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, and Literary Theory to History. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given topic. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how it has developed and influenced society. Whatever the area of study, whatever the topic that fascinates the reader, the series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.