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A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy

Simon Blackburn

Publication Date - 14 October 1999

ISBN: 9780192100245

320 pages
4-3/4 x 6-1/2 inches

In Stock

A coherent, unintimidating introduction to Western philosophy, written by a leading philosopher


Here at last is a coherent, unintimidating introduction to the challenging and fascinating landscape of Western philosophy. Written expressly for "anyone who believes there are big questions out there, but does not know how to
approach them," Think provides a sound framework for exploring the most basic themes of philosophy, and for understanding how major philosophers have tackled the questions that have pressed themselves most forcefully on human consciousness.

Simon Blackburn, author of the best-selling Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, begins by making a convincing case for the relevance of philosophy and goes on to give the reader a sense of how the great historical figures such as Plato, Hume, Kant, Descartes, and others have approached its central themes. In a lively and accessible style, Blackburn
approaches the nature of human reflection and how we think, or can think, about knowledge, fate, ethics, identity, God, reason, and truth. Each chapter explains a major issue, and gives the reader a self-contained guide through the problems that the philosophers have studied. Because the text approaches these issues from the gound up, the untrained reader will emerge from its pages able to explore other philosophies with greater pleasure and understanding and be able to think--philosophically--for him or herself.

Philosophy is often dismissed as a purely academic discipline with no relation to the "real" world non-philosophers are compelled to inhabit. Think dispels this myth and offers a springboard for all those who want to learn how the basic techniques of thinking shape our virtually every aspect of our existence.


  • The best general introduction to philosophy available

About the Author(s)

Simon Blackburn is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Until recently he was Edna J. Koury Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, and from 1969 to 1999 a Fellow and Tutor at Pembroke College, Oxford. His books include Spreading the Word (1984), Essays in Quasi-Realism (1993), The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (1994), Ruling Passions (1998), Truth (co-edited with Keith Simmons, 1999), and the best-selling Think (1999). He edited the journal Mind from 1984 to 1990.


"Blackburn has produced the one book every smart person should read to understand, and even enjoy, the key questions of philosophy, ranging from those about free will and morality to what we can really know about the world around us."--Walter Isaacson, Time Magazine

"Simon Blackburn's lucidly elegant essay is a guide to the most central concerns of philosophy... A beautifully clear account of the chief arguments in each debate. Blackburn is an accomplished philosopher, which makes this a valuable little book."--Sunday Times

"This is a wonderfully stimulating, incisive and -- the word is not too strong -- thrilling introduction to the pleasures and problems of philosophy."--John Banville, The Irish Times

"Blackburn does a fine job of rendering the big thinkers and their thoughts accessible, while picking his way through Western philosophy's murky territory. His writing is simple and clear, and the liberal use of example and analogy makes Think a most readable work."--Allison McCulloch, Denver Post

"Think is by far the best introduction to philosophy that I know. Compact but hugely readable, this delightful book would be an excellent basis for an introductory course, as a text or as preliminary reading. You could also give it to family and friends, and all those annoying people who ask you what philosophers do. If Think doesn't explain it to them, nothing will!"--Huw Price, author of Time's Arrow and Archimedes Point

"Written with exemplary concision and with conviction that philosophy needn't be an ethereal subject, alienated from practical concerns."--Booklist

"Elegant...beautifully clear.... A valuable little book."--Descartes's Demon

"To read the book is to sit down with an engaging, highly learned conversationalist; readers new to the subject could very well be captivated. Highly recommended for academic and public library collections."--Library Journal

Table of Contents

    1. Knowledge
    2. Mind
    3. Free Will
    4. The Self
    5. God
    6. Reasoning
    7. The World
    8. What to Do

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