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The Great Conversation:
A Historical Introduction to Philosophy

by Norman Melchert

ISBN 0767400127 / 9780767400121 / 0-7674-0012-7
Publisher Mayfield Pub Co
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

Now in its fifth edition, this historically organized introductory text treats philosophy as a dramatic and continuous story--a conversation about humankind's deepest and most persistent concerns. Tracing the exchange of ideas between history's key philosophers, The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy, Fifth Edition, demonstrates that while constructing an argument or making a claim, one philosopher almost always has others in mind. The book addresses the fundamental questions of human life: Who are we? What can we know? How should we live? and What sort of reality do we inhabit?
The fifth edition retains the distinctive feature of previous editions: author Norman Melchert provides a generous selection of excerpts from major philosophical works and makes them more easily understandable to students with his lucid and engaging explanations. Ranging from the Pre-Socratics to Derrida and Quine, the selections are organized historically and include four complete works: Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito, and Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy. The author's commentary offers a rich intellectual and cultural context for the philosophical ideas conveyed in the excerpts. Extensive cross-referencing shows students how philosophers respond appreciatively or critically to the thoughts of other philosophers. The text is enhanced by two types of exercises--"Basic Questions" and "For Further Thought"--and more than sixty illustrations.

New to the Fifth Edition:

* A new chapter (25) on Simone de Beauvoir and her contributions to philosophy
* New material on Buddhist, Muslim, and Jewish thinkers, including profiles of the Buddha, Avicenna (Ibn Sina), AverroŽs (Ibn Rushd), and Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon)
* A new profile of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
* Improved translations of several of Plato's works, including Protagoras, Gorgias, Phaedo, Symposium,Meno, and the Republic
* Review questions that are now dispersed throughout the chapters (instead of at chapter ends) to follow relevant passages and facilitate classroom discussion
* Thirteen new images, including seven explanatory cartoons that help students understand key concepts
* A revised Instructor's Manual and Test Bank--available both on CD and in a printed version--containing essential points, teaching suggestions, and multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay exam questions

The Great Conversation, Fifth Edition, is also available in two paperback volumes to suit your course needs. Volume I: Pre-Socratics through Descartes includes chapters 1-13 of the combined volume, while Volume II: Descartes through Derrida and Quine includes chapters 12-26. [via]