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Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction

Edward Craig

Publication Date - May 2002

ISBN: 9780192854216

144 pages

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $11.95

A brilliant look at the role philosphy can play in our lives


How ought we to live? What really exists? How do we know? This book introduces important themes in ethics, knowledge, and the self, via readings from Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hegel, Darwin, and Buddhist writers. It emphasizes throughout the point of studying philosophy, explains how different areas of philosophy are related, and explores the contexts in which philosophy was and is studied.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.


  • An original, interesting, and accessible addition to the VSI philosophy list
  • Provides a broad overview of the field, and guides the reader through specific examples
  • Teaches the reader how to read philosophy rather than just summarizing it
  • Includes Eastern philosophy and thinkers from the Continental tradition as well as from Anglo-American philosophy
  • Emphasizes the point of doing philosophy
  • Discusses how philosophy has been used in the interests of particular groups, such as the priesthood, women, animals, and political activists

About the Author(s)

Edward Craig is Knightsbridge 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.

Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. What should I do? Plato's Crito
    3. How do we know? Hume's, Of Miracles
    4. What am I? An unknown Buddhist on the Self: 'The Chariot' from The Questions of King Milinda
    5. Some themes
    6. Of 'isms'
    7. Some more high spots -- a personal selection
    8. What's in it for whom?