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Chapter 01

INTRODUCING THE BOOK

Overview

A. Chapter Summary and Goals
B. Discussion Text

1.A. Philosophical Questions and Wonder
1.B. Features of this Book
1.C. A Little Logic

  1. Deductive Arguments and Inductive Arguments
  2. Refutation by Counterexample
  3. Confusing necessary and sufficient conditions
  4. Reduction to Absurdity
  5. Other Kinds of Critiques

C. Discussion and Essay Questions
D. Topical Links, Web Links and Activities
E. Self-Test Questions and Answers
F. Suggestions for Further Reading

A. Chapter Summary and Goals

Summary: Philosophers seem to question and wonder a great deal. But any person can begin to "wonder" about many things. Why are things as they are? Why is there anything at all? Both children and adults wonder about and question many things. Indeed, children may have more capacity for wonder than do many adults. To the extent that philosophy involves wonder, it is a mistake to think that it is a subject suitable only for adults. It is true that there are no youthful philosophical prodigies comparable to what we sometimes find in math or music. It is also true that there are parts of philosophy that are technical and beyond the ability of children. Nevertheless, adults might learn something from the fresh way in which children raise questions and wonder how certain things might be. We will see that many of the problems that have always preoccupied philosophers are problems that can give rise to perplexity in both children and adults, and are at the center of much that is important to all people.

Although philosophers wonder and question freely, philosophical work is strongly constrained be the desire to keep thoughts in order, to construct strong arguments for or against various positions. Logic is the study of arguments, and is thus central to philosophy. Various distinctions among kinds of arguments and various ways of critiquing argument are examined and illustrated in this chapter.

Goals:

  • Understand how philosophical questions are connected with our natural sense of wonder.
  • Understand the features of this book.
  • Understand basic concepts in logic that are used in this book.


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