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Blackburn, Simon - Think, A Compelling Intro to Philosophy v3.0

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Think A compelling introduction to philosophy by Simon Blackburn eVersion 3.0 / Notes at EOF Back Cover: Blackburn has produced the one book eery smart person should read to understand! and een en oy! the key #uestions o$ philosophy! ran%in% $rom those about $ree &ill and morality to &hat &e can really kno& about the &orld around us. '' (alter )saacson! Time Magazine *his is a &onder$ully stimulatin%! incisie and '' the &ord is not too stron% '' thrillin% introduction to the pleasures and
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  Think   A compelling introduction to philosophy  by Simon BlackburneVersion 3.0 / Notes at EOF Back Cover: Blackburn has produced the one book eery smart person should read to understand! andeen enoy! the key #uestions o$ philosophy! ran%in% $rom those about $ree &ill and morality to &hat &e can really kno& about the &orld around us. '' (alter )saacson! Time Magazine *his is a &onder$ully stimulatin%! incisie and '' the &ord is not too stron% '' thrillin% introduction to the pleasures and problems o$ philosophy. '' +ohn Banille!  Irish Times O,FO-N)VE-S)* 1-ESS2reat larendon Street! O4$ord O,5 61O4$ord niersity 1ress is a department o$ the niersity o$ O4$ord.)t $urthers the niersity7s obectie o$ e4cellence in research! scholarship!and education by publishin% &orld&ide inO4$ord Ne& ork 8thens 8uckland Ban%kok Bo%oti Buenos 8ires alcutta apeto&n hennai ares Salaam elhi Florence 9on% :on% )stanbul:arachi :uala ;umpur <adrid <elbourne <e4ico ity <umbai Nairobi 1aris Sao 1aulo Sin%apore *aipei *okyo *oronto (arsa&&ith associated companies in Berlin )badanO4$ord is a re%istered trade mark o$ O4$ord niersity 1ress in the : and in certain other countries= Simon Blackburn >???*he moral ri%hts o$ the author hae been assertedatabase ri%ht O4$ord niersity 1ress @makerAFirst published >???8ll ri%hts resered. No part o$ this publication may be reproduced! stored in a retrieal system! or transmitted! in any $orm or by any means!&ithout the prior permission in &ritin% o$ O4$ord niersity 1ress!or as e4pressly permitted by la&! or under terms a%reed &ith the appropriaterepro%raphics ri%hts or%aniation. En#uiries concernin% reproductionoutside the scope o$ the aboe should be sent to the -i%hts epartment!O4$ord niersity 1ress! at the address aboeou must not circulate this book in any other bindin% or coer and you must impose this same condition on any ac#uirer British ;ibrary atalo%uin% in 1ublication ataata aailable ;ibrary o$ on%ress atalo%in% in 1ublication ataata aailable )SBN 0'>?'5>005C'6 @hbk.A )SBN 0'>?'?6?0D'> @pbk.A3   ? >0 D 6 C  *ypeset by )nisible )nk  Preface * 9)S   BOO:    2-E(   F-O<  years o$ &restlin% &ith the problems o$ tryin% to interest  people in ideas. ) hae done this as a teacher! but also as someone &ho has tried to e4plain the alue o$ the humanities in %eneral! and philosophy in particular! to a &ider audience. )ndeed my $irst debt is to the climate o$ the times! &hose scepticism about the alue o$ hi%her education made it eident to me ust ho& ur%ent this task is. 8 second! more serious debt is to all the students o$ many years! &hose nods and $ro&ns eentually shaped the book. ) also o&e a debt to teachin% assistants here at the niersity o$ North arolina! &ho had $irst'hand e4perience o$ en%a%in% students in earlier ersions o$ the &ork. ) &ould neer hae taken the plun%e! ho&eer! had it not been $or the %enerous encoura%ement o$ atherine larke and 8n%us 1hillips! at O4$ord niersity 1ress. 8n%us has closely monitored the pro%ress o$ the &ork! and ) o&e much to his support andadice.Earlier ersions o$ the material hae been read by 9u& 1rice and -alph (alker! &ho each proided inaluable su%%estions. uri Balasho and an -yder %ae me help &ith speci$ic topics. For the sake o$ breity ) hae not included a %lossary o$  philosophical terms! &hich &ould in any case hae echoed de$initions $ound in my Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. *he superb editin% o$ <aura 9i%h and 8n%ela Blackburn %ae me an uncom$ortable sense o$ my shortcomin%s as a &riter! &hile happily dis%uisin% them $rom the &ider public. 8n%ela! o$ course! had also to su$$er the usual burdens o$ hain% a &ritin% husband! and &ithout her support nothin% &ould hae been possible.Simon Blackburn Contents )ntroduction>. :no&led%e5. <ind 3. Free (ill C. *he Sel$ . 2od 6. -easonin% . *he (orld D. (hat to o  Introduction *his book is $or people &ho &ant to think about the bi% themesG kno&led%e! reason! truth! mind! $reedom! destiny! identity! 2od! %oodness! ustice. *hese are not the hidden  presere o$ specialists. *hey are thin%s that men and &omen &onder about naturally! $or they structure the &ays &e think about the &orld and our place in it. *hey are also themes about &hich thinkers hae had thin%s to say. )n this book ) try to introduce &ays o$ thinkin% about the bi% themes. ) also introduce some o$ the thin%s thinkers hae had tosay about them. )$ readers hae absorbed this book! then they should be on better terms &ith the bi% themes. 8nd they should be able to read many other&ise ba$$lin% maor thinkers &ith pleasure and reasonable understandin%.*he &ord philosophy carries un$ortunate connotationsG impractical! un&orldly! &eird. )suspect that all philosophers and philosophy students share that moment o$ silent embarrassment &hen someone innocently asks us &hat &e do. ) &ould pre$er to introduce mysel$ as doin% conceptual en%ineerin%. For ust as the en%ineer studies the structure o$ material thin%s! so the philosopher studies the structure o$ thou%ht. nderstandin% the structure inoles seein% ho& parts $unction and ho& they interconnect. )t means kno&in% &hat &ould happen $or better or &orse i$ chan%es &ere made. *his is &hat &e aim at &hen &e inesti%ate the structures that shape our ie& o$ the &orld. Our concepts or ideas $orm the mental housin% in &hich &e lie. (e may end up proud o$ the structures &e hae built. Or &e may beliee that they need dismantlin% and startin% a$resh. But $irst! &e hae to kno& &hat they are. *he book is sel$'standin% and does not presuppose that the reader has any other resources. But it could be au%mented. For e4ample! it could be read alon%side some o$ the primary source materials$rom &hich ) $re#uently #uote. *hese are readily aailable classics! such as escartes7s  Meditations, or Berkeley7s Three Dialogues, or 9ume7s  Enuiry !oncerning uman #nderstanding, or his  Dialogues !oncerning $atural %eligion. But it can e#ually &ell beread on its o&n &ithout the te4ts to hand. 8nd a$ter $inishin% it! the reader should pick upthe classics! and other thin%s like lo%ic te4ts or &ritin%s on ethics! &ith a mind prepared. WHAT ARE WE TO THINK ABOUT 9ere are some #uestions any o$ us mi%ht ask about ourselesG (hat am )H (hat is consciousnessH ould ) surie my bodily deathH an ) be sure that other people7s e4periences and sensations are like mineH )$ ) can7t share the e4perience o$ others! can ) communicate &ith themH o &e al&ays act out o$ sel$'interestH <i%ht ) be a kind o$  puppet! pro%rammed to do the thin%s that ) beliee ) do out o$ my o&n $ree &illH9ere are some #uestions about the &orldG (hy is there somethin% and not nothin%H (hatis the di$$erence bet&een past and $utureH (hy does causation run al&ays $rom past to $uture! or does it make sense to think that the $uture mi%ht in$luence the pastH (hy does nature keep on in a re%ular &ayH oes the &orld presuppose a reatorH 8nd i$ so! can &e  understand &hy he @or she or theyA created itHFinally! here are some #uestions about ourseles and   the &orldG 9o& can &e be sure that the &orld is really like &e take it to beH (hat is kno&led%e! and ho& much do &e haeH (hat makes a $ield o$ in#uiry a scienceH @)s psychoanalysis a scienceH )s economicsHA 9o& do &e kno& about abstract obects! like numbersH 9o& do &e kno& about alues and dutiesH 9o& are &e to tell &hether our opinions are obectie! or ust subectieH*he #ueer thin% about these #uestions is that not only are they ba$$lin% at $irst si%ht! but they also de$y simple processes o$ solution. )$ someone asks me &hen it is hi%h tide! ) kno& ho& to set about %ettin% an ans&er. *here are authoritatie tide tables ) can consult.) may kno& rou%hly ho& they are produced. 8nd i$ all else $ails! ) could %o and measure the rise and $all o$ the sea mysel$. 8 #uestion like this is a matter o$ e4perienceG an empirical #uestion. )t can be settled by means o$ a%reed procedures! inolin% lookin% and seein%! makin% measurements! or applyin% rules that hae been tested a%ainst e4perience and $ound to &ork. *he #uestions o$ the last para%raphs are not like this. *heyseem to re#uire more re$lection. (e don7t immediately kno& &here to look. 1erhaps &e $eel &e don7t #uite kno& &hat &e mean &hen &e ask them! or &hat &ould count as %ettin% a solution. (hat &ould sho& me! $or instance! &hether ) am not a$ter all a  puppet! pro%rammed to do the thin%s ) beliee ) do $reelyH Should &e ask scientists &ho specialie in the brainH But ho& &ould they kno& &hat to look $orH 9o& &ould they kno& &hen they had $ound itH )ma%ine the headlineG Neuroscientists discoer human  bein%s not puppets. 9o&H So &hat %ies rise to such ba$$lin% #uestionsH )n a &ord! sel$'re$lection. 9uman bein%s are relentlessly capable o$ re$lectin% on themseles. (e mi%ht do somethin% out o$ habit! but then &e can be%in to re$lect on the habit. (e can habitually think thin%s! and then re$lect on &hat &e are thinkin%. (e can ask ourseles @or sometimes &e %et asked by other peopleA &hether &e kno& &hat &e are talkin% about. *o ans&er that &e need to re$lect on our o&n positions! our o&n understandin% o$ &hat &e are sayin%! our o&n sources o$ authority. (e mi%ht start to &onder &hether &e kno& &hat &e mean. (e mi%ht &onder &hether &hat &e say is obectiely true! or merely the outcome o$ our o&n perspectie! or our o&n take on asituation. *hinkin% about this &e con$ront cate%ories like kno&led%e! obectiity! truth! and &e may &ant to think about them. 8t that point &e are reflecting on concepts and  procedures and belie$s that &e normally ust use. (e are lookin% at the sca$$oldin% o$ our thou%ht! and doin% conceptual en%ineerin%.*his point o$ re$lection mi%ht arise in the course o$ #uite normal discussion. 8 historian! $or e4ample! is more or less bound at some point to ask &hat is meant by obectiity or  eidence ! or een truth ! in history. 8 cosmolo%ist has to pause $rom solin% e#uations &ith the letter t in them! and ask &hat is meant! $or instance! by the $lo& o$ time or the direction o$ time or the be%innin% o$ time. But at that point! &hether they reco%nie it or not! they become philosophers. 8nd they are be%innin% to do somethin% that can be done &ell or badly. *he point is to do it &ell.9o& is philosophy learnedH 8 better #uestion isG ho& can thinkin% skills be ac#uiredH *he thinkin% in #uestion inoles attendin% to basic structures o$ thou%ht. *his can be done &ell or badly! intelli%ently or ineptly. But doin% it &ell is not primarily a matter o$ ac#uirin% a body o$ kno&led%e. )t is more like playin% the piano &ell. )t is a kno&in% ho& as much as a kno&in% that . *he most $amous philosophical character o$ the
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