Philosophical Explanations

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Harvard University Press, 1981 - Philosophy - 764 pages
6 Reviews

In this highly original work, Robert Nozick develops new views on philosophy's central topics and weaves them into a unified philosophical perspective. It is many years since a major work in English has ranged so widely over philosophy's fundamental concerns: the identity of the self, knowledge and skepticism, free will, the question of why there is something rather than nothing, the foundations of ethics, the meaning of life.

Writing in a distinctive and personal philosophical voice, Mr. Nozick presents a new mode of philosophizing. In place of the usual semi-coercive philosophical goals of proof, of forcing people to accept conclusions, this book seeks philosophical explanations and understanding, and thereby stays truer to the original motivations for being interested in philosophy.

Combining new concepts, daring hypotheses, rigorous reasoning, and playful exploration, the book exemplifies how philosophy can be part of the humanities.

  

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Review: Philosophical Explanations

User Review  - Ebnarabi - Goodreads

i find the best parts of the book are epistemology( the tracking theory.... etc), and the meaning of life.... further, the expostion of 'why there is something rather than nothing' is a must read. Read full review

Review: Philosophical Explanations

User Review  - Doug Farren - Goodreads

This book just wasn't for me. You need to have a serious background in philosophy before tackling this one! I was unable to finish it. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
The Identity of the Self
27
Reflexivity
71
Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?
115
Knowledge and Skepticism
167
Skepticism
197
Evidence
248
VALUE
283
Retributive Punishment
363
Foundations of Ethics
399
Ethical Pull
451
The Structure of Ethical Pull
474
Fact and Value
535
The Basis of Value
552
Philosophy and the Meaning of Life
571
Notes
651

Free Will
291
Deteminism and Aligning with Value
317

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About the author (1981)

Educated at Columbia and Princeton universities, Robert Nozick is Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University. He rose to eminence in the last quarter of the twentieth century as a creative philosopher who has expressed philosophical truths beyond the reach of analytic argumentation. Honed in the technical intricacies of analytic philosophy, he has nonetheless restored meditation to its proper place in the philosophical canon. Nozick's first book, Anarchy, State and Utopia (initially published in 1974), won the National Book Award in 1975 and became the fundamental text of the Libertarian movement. Nozick's second book, Philosophical Explanations, was given the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award of Phi Beta Kappa in 1982. It covers a wide range of basic philosophical topics: the question why there is something rather than nothing, the identity of the self, knowledge and skepticism, free will, the foundation of ethnics, and the meaning of life. Nozick abandons philosophical proof or argumentation as too coercive and opts instead for methods of explanation that promote understanding. This approach has culminated in his third book, The Examined Life.

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