Arguing about Philosophy (series).

Title: Arguing about Philosophy (series).
Editor/s: Nothing found on series editor.
Material type: Book.
Publisher/date: Routledge.
Format: Volumes may be as large as 600 pages in length.
Area and topic: Key/important philosophical issues/topics/problems.
Intended audience/ reading level: Tertiary/lower.
Purchasing and information: 1) www.routledge.com/books/series/arguing_about_philosophy_AAPHI/ 2) amazon.com, 3) fishpond.co.nz.
Unique and/or salient feature/s: ‘Arguing about Philosophy’ is essentially a series of lengthy anthologies. Centered around one core and important issue/problem/topic, each volume in the series explores many aspects of the subject in question through a wide and varied collection of readings. All readings are written by prominent (some more so that others), classic and contemporary philosophers.
Synopsis and/or additional information: The following information is sourced from the above links (see ‘Purchasing and information’).

  • Each volume has a number of chapters grouped in sections. Each section explores one important aspect of the main issue/problem/topic through a number of chapters. Each chapter considers a variety of positions that represent both sides of a debate on the relevant issue through readings drawn from classic writings and articles.
  • Some volumes include a fair cross section of entries that span the entire history of philosophy, others – mainly contemporary articles. Presumably, this may have to do with the nature of the subject and how it is approached and understood by those in the field.
  • Example 1) ‘Arguing about Religion’ Edited by Kevin Timpe (648 pages). This volume has the following six sections: 1) Methodological issues in Philosophy of religion 2) God’s nature and existence 3) Evil and divine hiddenness 4) Providence and interaction 5)The afterlife 6) Religion and contemporary life.
  • Example ‘section 3) :‘Evil and divine hiddeness’ from ‘Arguing about Religion’ has the following chapters: The Argument from evil; Karma, rebirth, and the ‘Problem of evil’; Natural evil and the possibility of knowledge; The problem of evil and some varieties of atheism; The inductive argument from evil and the human cognitive condition; The hiddenness of God; Coercion and the hiddenness of God; Divine hiddenness and inculpable ignorance.
  • Example 2): ‘Arguing About Political Philosophy’, Edited by Matt Zwolinski (674 pages).This volume has the following ten sections with (roughly) 4 chapter entries each section: Political authority; Rights; Justice; Political economy; Property rights; Distributive justice; Freedom; Equality; Immigration; War; Humanitarianism; Torture.
  • The section titled ‘Political Authority’; has the following three sub-sections i) Life without a state ii) The Social contract iii) Democratic Authority.
  • The sub section ii) ‘The Social Contract’ has the following five entries: 1) Thomas Hobbes – Excerpts from ‘Leviathan’; 2) John Locke – Excerpts from ‘Second Treatise of Civil Government’; 3) Jean-Jacques Rousseau – Excerpts from ‘The Social Contract’ 4) David Hume – ‘Of the Original Contract’; Charles Tilly – ‘War Making and State Making as Organized Crime’.
Strengths: Each book in the series is a gold mine of resources for teachers and students. Each entry is chosen by the book editors in light of its importance, influence in the area under discussion; only the most salient and relevant material and passages from the original texts are included. The editors supply helpful information and guidance for each of the readings.
Limitations: The books are large, relatively expensive and many of the entries may be too advanced for school aged students (including senior year). Assuming such issues are accommodated, time may not allow for more than a handful of the readings to be used over the school year. Because of these reasons, the volumes may well be simply too in-depth and detailed for secondary level philosophy; therefore it may be more practical to purchase a single volume of classic readings that covers the same material.

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