Summary: How out we to live? What really exists? How to we Know?
Very Short Introduction series has been pretty hit or miss, as are most short introductions. It is hard to introduce a subject that has thousands of books and thousands of professionals working in the areas.
Philosophy is one of the better ones. My background in philosophy was pretty weak. I have tended toward theology instead of philosophy and while there can be some overlap, as I am getting older I feel my lack of background more and more often as I am reading.
Craig made some good decisions in structuring the books. He focused on the three questions in the summary as three of the questions that have been a part of philosophy since the beginning and continue to be important. Then he looks at Plato, Hume and an unknown Buddhist philosopher to illustrate how those questions were handled.
Roughly half of the book is the introduction and the three questions. Then Craig runs through some general themes of philosophy and some of the major schools (the ‘isms’ in his words.) He also manages to fit in some of the relatively recent movements, relativism, feminism, and other modern critiques of traditional philosophy. The last of the main sections is some of Craig’s personal favorites.
The book wraps up with what is essentially an epilogue. He spends about 20 pages talking about the different constituencies of philosophy and how different groups are influenced and influence philosophy (including the professionals that now make up most of modern philosophy.)
The book as a whole just skims the surface and it feels like it. But that is the purpose of these books. There is no real extra in the book but also it does feel like the gets a good overview.
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