Author(s): Robert M. Martin
Academic philosophy can be puzzling to newcomers. The conventions, terms, and expectations entrenched among philosophers aren't always clear from the outside. Why are philosophers so preoccupied with finding "the truth"-doesn't everyone have their own philosophy? Is philosophy so deep and difficult that its literature has to be incomprehensible? What kinds of arguments can there be for a philosophical position? Where does the evidence come from? Why is there so much jargon-wouldn't it be better to do away with it altogether? What exactly is a "thought experiment," and how should one be conducted? Best-selling author and retired philosophy professor Robert Martin answers these questions and many more, offering a practical guide to arguing and writing philosophically. Anecdotes, jokes, asides, digressions, oddments, and entertainments are included throughout, providing for an informal and opinionated introduction that doesn't shy away from the nuts and bolts of philosophical argument. A useful glossary of common philosophical terminology and a guide to Chicago Style citation are included.
Robert M. Martin is Professor of Philosophy (retired) at Dalhousie University and author of numerous philosophy books, including Philosophical Conversations and the best-seller There Are Two Errors in the the Title of This Book.
Part 0: Introduction Part 1: Truth * Why Truth? * Bullshit * Beliefs of No Consequence * Okay But Remembers We're Talking about Philosophy * Consequences? Part 2: The Right Way to Argue * And the Wrong Way to Argue * A Social Activity * Respect and Open Questions * What Not to Imitate * Common(s) Ad Hominem Fallacies Part 3: Writing Philosophy * Why * How Part 4: Good and Bad Writing * Clarity * The Disvalue of the Obscure * Jargon * Examples * Greening * Awful Language * Do As I Say, Not As I Do Part 5: How Arguments Work * The Basic Structures * Deduction * Induction Part 6: "That's Like Arguing" * Critiquing Other Kinds of Arguments Part 7: Where You Get True Premises: The Obvious * True/Justified Premises * The Paradox of Justification * Maybe Needs No Justification: The Self-Evident * Maybe Needs No Justification: Common Sense * Maybe Needs No Justification: Evidence of Your Senses Part 8: Where You Get True Premises: Authorities * Maybe Needs No Justification: What Authorities Say * Authority and Truth * Citing Philosophers * Citing Other Works Part 9: Where You Get True Premises: Analysis * Justifying and Refuting Analyses * A Priori * Questions about Analysis * The Practicality of Argumentation Part 10: The Thought Experiment * Imaginary Experiments * Philosophical Thought Experiments Part 11: Inference to the Best Explanation * The Best Explanation * Theory * Other Criteria for a Good Explanation * Philosophical Inferences to the Best Theoretical Explanation: Some Examples Part 12: Afterword Appendix 1: Some Very Brief Suggestions about Further Reading Appendix 2: Forms for Footnotes and Bibliography Appendix 3: Glossary