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Tuesday, May 10, 2011


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The Philosopher's Toolkit is a great introduction to basic terminology (there's also The Ethics Toolkit if you're interested in moral philosophy). I second Dr. Vallicella's recommendation of Walton's text on informal logic (and I'll have to check out his other recommendations myself!). I also benefited from Flew's How to Think Straight. Hope that helps!

I would recommend Critical Thinking: A Concise Guide by Tracy Bowell and Gary Kemp for the basic of argumentation.

In my humble opinion, Dr. Vallicella draws extensively from work in the philosophy of language. Check out this IEP article for a good overview and bibliography.

You might enjoy Nicholas Rescher's What If?: Thought Experimentation in Philosophy. Rescher devotes some attention to aporetic clusters, which you'll likely be familiar with if you read this blog. Here is a preview. Cheers!

One of the tools that Dr. Vallicella uses quite often is the "aporetic cluster". I think it is one of the best ways to quickly get to the heart of a matter. You can find an excellent explanation of this technique, along with many examples of its use, in The Strife of Systems: An Essay on the Grounds and Implications of Philosophical Diversity by Nicholas Rescher.

As for reading in analytical political philosophy, one of the best introductory books on the market is "Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction" by Will Kymlicka. Though it is broadly egalitarian in its content, it will at least give you an understanding of what is popular in academic political philosophy these days.

I would recommend. The Broadview Guides to Philosophy. If you're interested in analytic philosophy in particular, essential is Eric Steinhart's More Precisely: The Math You Need to do Philosophy.

I second David Parker's recommendation to read up on philosophy of language, because that's where you can get most of the analytic techniques in use today, aside from logic. Martinich's anthology, The Philosophy of Language, contains many of the classics: Frege, Russell, Strawson, Quine, Tarski, Grice, Searle, Putnam, Kripke, Kaplan, etc. (If you have institutional access to JSTOR you can download many of the articles.) If you go on to do a grad program in philosophy, you have to read these folk anyway, so you will be getting a head start.

Since you are interested in political philosophy, you may want to get acquainted with the analytical tools most often used in it: rational choice theory and game theory. These tools have their limitations, and Robert Paul Wolff has an excellent introduction to these subjects in a tutorial made available on his blog, which you can find by googling. Like Bill, Wolff is an elegant writer, so you will enjoy the read.

Coffey (Louvain insitute) Science of Logic (2 vols), Epistemology (2 vols), Ontology. Joyce, Principles of Logic, Principles of Natural Theology. You can get all that stuff from www.archive.org.








Thanks for the suggestions. Robert Paul Wolff's blog is here: http://robertpaulwolff.blogspot.com/

Thanks again! I've already checked out _The Practice of Philosophy: A Handbook for Beginners_ by Rosenberg.


Good. Rosenberg is tendentious and I'm not endorsing all of what he says. Read it critically, as he no doubt would want you to.

I also agree with Martinich The Philosophy of Language. It has absolutely all the required reading and more, and is quite cheap.

Martinich is excellent. Used it in a Phil. of Lang. course I taught.

I found the following valuable:

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology by Ayn Rand

Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff

How Ideas Work: Think with Conviction Act with Confidence by Kent Worthington

The Logical Leap: Induction in Physics by David Harriman

I also recommend a treatise that elaborates the Objectivist epistemology called "How We Know" by philospher Harry Binswanger. Unfortunately, it has not been published yet. So far I've read only a draft of it early last year. So I guess that it will be available within a few years.

Binswanger commented here a couple of years ago. His book would be worth reading.

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