The Study Of Law A Critical Thinking Approach Fourth Edition Groundwork

1. Active Reading and Previewing.
OBJECTIVES. Pre-Assessment: "College Survival Tips: Making the Transition". FOCUS ON READING STUDY SKILLS: THE READING PROCESS. Before You Read. While You Read. After You Read. FOCUS ON COMPREHENSION: ACTIVE READING, PREVIEWING, AND PREDICTING. Active Learning. Active Reading. Memory and How the Brain Processes Information. Previewing. Making Predictions. FOCUS ON VOCABULARY: DEFINITION AND SYNONYM CONTEXT CLUES. Transition Words. Definition Clue. Synonym Clue. APPLICATIONS. Application 1: "Procrastination: Ten Things To Know" by Hara Estroff Marano. Application 2: "Planning Sets You Free". WRAPPING IT UP. Post Assessment: "Organizing Your Time" by Dianne Hales.
2. Topic and Questioning.
OBJECTIVES. Pre-Assessment: "Students Under Stress" by Dianne Hales. FOCUS ON COMPREHENSION: DETERMINING TOPIC AND POSING GUIDE QUESTIONS. Topic. General Versus Specific. Finding the Topic. Finding the Topic in a Longer Passage. Posing Guide Questions. FOCUS ON VOCABULARY: ANTONYM AND INFERENCE CONTEXT CLUES. Antonym Clue. Inference Clue. FOCUS ON READING STUDY SKILLS: MOTIVATION AND TIME MANAGEMENT. Internal and External Motivation. Managing Your Time. APPLICATIONS. Application 1: "10 Healthy Habits That May Help You Live to 100" by Deborah Kotz. Application 2: "Five Ways to Resolve Conflict". WRAPPING IT UP. Post Assessment: "Stress on Campus" by Dianne Hales.
3. Explicit Main Ideas.
OBJECTIVES. Pre-Assessment: "Money = Happiness" by John M. Grohol. FOCUS ON COMPREHENSION: AUTHOR''S PURPOSE AND EXPLICIT MAIN IDEAS. Author''s Purpose. To Inform. To Instruct. To Persuade. To Entertain. Main Idea. Finding the Main Idea. Location of Main Idea. Explicit Main Idea in a Paragraph. Explicit Main Idea in a Longer Passage. FOCUS ON VOCABULARY: RECOGNIZING PREFIXES AND SUFFIXES. Prefixes. Suffixes. FOCUS ON READING STUDY SKILLS: GOAL SETTING AND STUDY ENVIRONMENTS. Setting Achievable Goals. Creating a Motivating Study Environment. APPLICATIONS. Application 1: "Why Money Doesn''t Buy Happiness" by Sharon Begley. Application 2: "Global Stratification" by Jon Shepard. WRAPPING IT UP. Post Assessment: "Billionaire Clusters" by Duncan Greenberg.
4. Implied Main Ideas.
OBJECTIVES. Pre-Assessment: "Do our genes make us popular?" by Jordan Lite. FOCUS ON READING STUDY SKILLS: PARAPHRASING. The Importance of Paraphrasing. How to Paraphrase. FOCUS ON COMPREHENSION: INFERENCE AND IMPLIED MAIN IDEAS. What Are Inferences? Implied Main Ideas. Method 1: Topic + Existing Sentence = Implied Main Idea. Method 2: Sentence + Sentence = Implied Main Idea. Method 3: General Statement Based on Supporting Details = Implied Main Idea. Finding an Implied Main Idea in a Longer Reading. FOCUS ON VOCABULARY: RECOGNIZING PREFIXES AND SUFFIXES. Root Words. APPLICATIONS. Application 1: "Oh, Brother: How Nature and Nurture Can Conspire to Create Ideologically Opposed Siblings" by Christina Gillham. Application 2: "Nature Versus Nurture" by Robert V. Kail and John C. Cavanaugh. WRAPPING IT UP. Post Assessment: "Self-Confidence: Nature or Nurture?" by Ray B. Williams.
Surveying a Chapter. Using Textbook Features. Applying What You Have Learned to a Full Length Chapter--Chapter 2: Learning about Learning from FOCUS on College Success by Constance Staley. Eight Steps to Approaching This Textbook Reading. Chapter 2: Learning about Learning from FOCUS on College Success by Constance Staley. Understanding Test-Taking Strategies: Taking Objective Tests.
5. Patterns of Organization.
OBJECTIVES. Pre Assessment: "What Happens When You Sleep?" by the National Sleep Foundation. FOCUS ON VOCABULARY: RECOGNIZING TRANSITION WORDS. Transitions Signal Patterns. FOCUS ON COMPREHENSION: RECOGNIZING PATTERNS OF ORGANIZATION. Relationships between Ideas. Patterns of Organization. Supporting Details. Patterns That List. Patterns That Define or Classify. Two-Part Patterns. Mixed Patterns. FOCUS ON READING STUDY SKILLS: READING GRAPHICS. Types of Graphics. APPLICATIONS. Application 1: "Nightmares: What Do They Mean? Are They Just Scary Inventions of Our Minds?" by Kassidy Emmerson. Application 2: "Sleep, Dreaming, and Circadian Rhythm" by Ellen Pastorino and Susann Doyle-Portillo. WRAPPING IT UP. Post Assessment: "How Bad Dreams Can Lead to High Anxiety" by Mail On Sunday Reporter.
6. Supporting Details.
OBJECTIVES. Pre Assessment: "What Are Some Job Interview Tips?" By N. Madison. FOCUS ON COMPREHENSION: IDENTIFYING AND ORGANIZING SUPPORTING DETAILS. Supporting Details. Major Details. Minor Details. Text Marking and Annotating. How to Mark a Text. Note Taking from Readings. Outlines. Summaries. Double-Column Notes. Graphic Organizers: Webs, Clusters, Maps. FOCUS ON READING STUDY SKILLS: Reading Rate and Monitoring Comprehension. Reading Rate. Comprehension Monitoring. FOCUS ON VOCABULARY: Improving Your College-Level Vocabulary. Using a Dictionary. Textbook Glossaries. Strategies for Learning Key Terms. Vocabulary Notebook. Vocabulary Cards. APPLICATIONS. Application 1: "Happy (Un)equal Pay Day" by Linda Hallman. Application 2: "What Is Networking?" by Peter M. Hess. WRAPPING IT UP. Post Assessment: "What are Some Common Job Interview Mistakes to Avoid?" by Sheri Cyprus.
7. Critical Reading.
OBJECTIVES. Pre Assessment: "The Right to Privacy in a Mediated Society" by Rudolph F. Verderber, Kathleen S. Verderber, Deanna D. Sellnow. FOCUS ON READING STUDY SKILLS: CRITICAL THINKING AND CRITICAL READING. Critical Thinking. Critical Reading. FOCUS ON VOCABULARY: RECOGNIZING BIAS, TONE, AND LOADED LANGUAGE. Bias and Tone. FOCUS ON COMPREHENSION: READING ARGUMENTS. Understanding Arguments. Evaluating Arguments. Mapping Arguments. Determining If Supporting Arguments Are Relevant. Determining If An Argument is Strong. Author''s Credentials. Intended Audience. APPLICATIONS. Application 1: "Why city crime rankings offer a misleading picture" by Richard Rosenfeld. Application 2: "YES--Do the Department of Homeland Security terror alert codes make us safer?" by Susan Samuels & "NO--Do the Department of Homeland Security terror alert codes make us safer?" by Susan Samuels. WRAPPING IT UP. Biased?" by Rudolph F. Verderber, Kathleen S. Verderber, Deanna D. Sellnow.
Applying What You Have Learned to a Full Length Chapter--Chapter 3: Communicating Verbally from Communicate! by Rudolph F. Verderber, Kathleen S. Verderber, and Deanna D. Sellnow. Seven Steps to Approaching This Textbook Reading. Chapter 3: Communicating Verbally from Communicate! by Rudolph F. Verderber, Kathleen S. Verderber, and Deanna D. Sellnow. Understanding Test-Taking Strategies: Taking Objective Tests. Overcoming Test Anxiety.

Western philosophy is the philosophical thought and work of the Western world. Historically, the term refers to the philosophical thinking of Western culture, beginning with Hellenic (i.e. Greek) philosophy of the Pre-Socratics such as Thales (c. 624 – c. 546 BC) and Pythagoras (c. 570 BC – c. 495 BC), and eventually covering a large area of the globe.[1][2] The word philosophy itself originated from the Hellenic: philosophia (φιλοσοφία), literally, "the love of wisdom" (φιλεῖν philein, "to love" and σοφία sophia, "wisdom").

The scope of philosophy in the ancient understanding, and the writings of (at least some of) the ancient philosophers, were all intellectual endeavors. This included the problems of philosophy as they are understood today; but it also included many other disciplines, such as pure mathematics and natural sciences such as physics, astronomy, and biology (Aristotle, for example, wrote on all of these topics).


Main articles: Hellenistic philosophy and Ancient Greek philosophy

Pre-Socratic period[edit]

In the pre-Socratic period, ancient philosophers first articulated questions about the "arche" (the cause or first principle) of the universe. Western Philosophy is generally said to begin in the Greek cities of western Asia Minor (Ionia) with Thales of Miletus, who was active c. 585 BC and was responsible for the opaque dictum, "all is water." His most noted students were respectively Anaximander (all is apeiron (roughly, the unlimited)) and Anaximenes of Miletus ("all is air"). Pythagoras, from the island of Samos off the coast of Ionia, later lived at Croton in southern Italy (Magna Graecia). Pythagoreans hold that "all is number," giving formal accounts in contrast to the previous material of the Ionians. They also believe in metempsychosis, the transmigration of souls, or reincarnation.


A key figure in Greek philosophy is Socrates. Socrates studied under several Sophists but transformed Greek philosophy into a branch of philosophy that is still pursued today. It is said that following a visit to the Oracle of Delphi he spent much of his life questioning anyone in Athens who would engage him, in order to disprove the oracular prophecy that there would be no man wiser than Socrates. Socrates used a critical approach called the "elenchus" or Socratic method to examine people's views. He aimed to study human things: the good life, justice, beauty, and virtue. Although Socrates wrote nothing himself, some of his many disciples wrote down his conversations. He was tried for corrupting the youth and impiety by the Greek democracy. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. Although his friends offered to help him escape from prison, he chose to remain in Athens and abide by his principles. His execution consisting in drinking the poison hemlock and he died in 399 B.C.


Plato was a student of Socrates. Plato founded the Academy of Athens and wrote a number of dialogues, which applied the Socratic method of inquiry to examine philosophical problems. Some central ideas of Plato's dialogues are the immortality of the soul, the benefits of being just, that evil is ignorance, and the Theory of Forms. Forms are universal properties that constitute true reality and contrast with the changeable material things he called "becoming".


Aristotle was a pupil of Plato. Aristotle was perhaps the first truly systematic philosopher and scientist. He wrote about physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, politics and logic. Aristotelian logic was the first type of logic to attempt to categorize every valid syllogism. Aristotle tutored Alexander the Great. He in turn conquered much of the ancient world at a rapid pace. Hellenization and Aristotelian philosophy exercised considerable influence on almost all Western and Middle Eastern philosophers, including Greek, Roman, Christian, Jewish, and Islamic thinkers.


Main article: Medieval philosophy

Early and late medieval philosophy[edit]

Medieval philosophy is the philosophy of Western Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages, roughly extending from the Christianization of the Roman Empire until the Renaissance.[3] Medieval philosophy is defined partly by the rediscovery and further development of classical Greek and Hellenistic philosophy, and partly by the need to address theological problems and to integrate the then widespread sacred doctrines of Abrahamic religion (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity) with secular learning. Early medieval philosophy was influenced by the likes of Stoicism, neo-Platonism, but, above all, the philosophy of Plato himself.

Some problems discussed throughout this period are the relation of faith to reason, the existence and unity of God, the object of theology and metaphysics, the problems of knowledge, of universals, and of individuation. The prominent figure of this period was St. Augustine who adopted Plato's thought and Christianized it in the 4th century and whose influence dominated medieval philosophy perhaps up to end of the era but was checked with the arrival of Aristotle's texts. Augustinianism was the preferred starting point for most philosophers (including the great St. Anselm of Canterbury) up until the 13th century.

The foundations of many northern European universities were built in the Middle Ages by waves of Irish, Scottish & English monks from the Celtic Church begun by Columba, see Celtic Christianity. John of Ireland (Erigena) wrote an important synthesis of ancient learning in the 9th century -- De divisione naturae-- which has been called the final achievement of ancient philosophy, a work which "synthesizes the philosophical accomplishments of fifteen centuries." Erigena is said to have been stabbed to death by his students with their pens, and his works were later condemned as heresy. His theology would today be called "pantheistic," in keeping with Celtic resolutions of pagan and Christian philosophy. He also studied Greek texts in Athens, and uniquely among European philosophers, wrote in that language, calling The Division of Nature, the Periphyseon.

The Celtic Church's intellectual influence on European theology and imagination was later overthrown and down-graded, but would persist nonetheless. To complicate the Manichean conception of Heaven & Hell, for example, the Irish invented Purgatory, adding a spectrum of possibilities to the geography of binary thinking. Dante's Inferno was influenced by Irish literature, specifically, The Vision of Tondal or Visio Tnugdali. Similarly, European explorers were familiar with a New World called "Brazil" or Saint Brendan's Island or Brasil (mythical island) from Irish writings about an island far west in the Atlantic, which was translated across Europe in many languages as the Navigatio Brendanis or St. Brendan's Voyage.

The Renaissance of Charlemagne was fed by Celtic Church missionaries travelling from Ireland & Britain to France and Germany through the Dark Ages and lasted until the great Italian re-ordering took place of European institutions & thought in the 13th century by the "Doctor of the Church," Thomas Aquinas in Paris.

Thomas Aquinas, the father of Thomism, was immensely influential in Catholic Europe; he placed a great emphasis on reason and argumentation, and was one of the first to use the new translation of Aristotle's metaphysical and epistemological writing.

Philosophers from the Middle Ages include the Christian philosophers Augustine of Hippo, Boethius, Anselm, Gilbert de la Porrée, Peter Abelard, Roger Bacon, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, William of Ockham and Jean Buridan; the Jewish philosophers Maimonides and Gersonides; and the Muslim philosophers Alkindus, Alfarabi, Alhazen, Avicenna, Algazel, Avempace, Abubacer, Ibn Khaldūn, and Averroes. The medieval tradition of Scholasticism continued to flourish as late as the 17th century, in figures such as Francisco Suárez and John of St. Thomas.

Late medieval and Renaissance[edit]

Main article: Renaissance philosophy

The Renaissance ("rebirth") was a period of transition between the Middle Ages and modern thought,[4] in which the recovery of classical texts helped shift philosophical interests away from technical studies in logic, metaphysics, and theology towards eclectic inquiries into morality, philology, and mysticism.[5][6] The study of the classics and the humane arts generally, such as history and literature, enjoyed a scholarly interest hitherto unknown in Christendom, a tendency referred to as humanism.[7][8] Displacing the medieval interest in metaphysics and logic, the humanists followed Petrarch in making man and his virtues the focus of philosophy.[9][10]


Main article: Modern philosophy

The term "modern philosophy" has multiple usages. For example, Thomas Hobbes is sometimes considered the first modern philosopher because he applied a systematic method to political philosophy.[11][12] By contrast, René Descartes is often considered the first modern philosopher because he grounded his philosophy in problems of knowledge, rather than problems of metaphysics.[13]

Modern philosophy and especially Enlightenment philosophy[14] is distinguished by its increasing independence from traditional authorities such as the Church, academia, and Aristotelianism;[15][16] a new focus on the foundations of knowledge and metaphysical system-building;[17][18] and the emergence of modern physics out of natural philosophy.[19]

Early modern[edit]

Main articles: 17th-century philosophy, Age of Enlightenment, and Early modern philosophy

Some central topics of philosophy in this period include the nature of the mind and its relation to the body, the implications of the new natural sciences for traditional theological topics such as free will and God, and the emergence of a secular basis for moral and political philosophy.[20] These trends first distinctively coalesce in Francis Bacon's call for a new, empirical program for expanding knowledge, and soon found massively influential form in the mechanical physics and rationalist metaphysics of René Descartes.[21]

Other notable modern philosophers include Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant.[22][23][24] Many other contributors were philosophers, scientists, medical doctors, and politicians. A short list includes Galileo Galilei, Pierre Gassendi, Blaise Pascal, Nicolas Malebranche, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Christiaan Huygens, Isaac Newton, Christian Wolff, Montesquieu, Pierre Bayle, Thomas Reid, Jean le Rond d'Alembert, Adam Smith, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

The approximate end of the early modern period is most often identified with Immanuel Kant's systematic attempt to limit metaphysics, justify scientific knowledge, and reconcile both of these with morality and freedom.[25][26][27]


Main article: 19th-century philosophy

Later modern philosophy is usually considered to begin after the philosophy of Immanuel Kant at the beginning of the 19th century.[28]

German philosophy exercised broad influence in this century, owing in part to the dominance of the German university system.[29]German idealists, such as Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, transformed the work of Kant by maintaining that the world is constituted by a rational or mind-like process, and as such is entirely knowable.[30]Arthur Schopenhauer's identification of this world-constituting process as an irrational will to live influenced later 19th- and early 20th-century thinking, such as the work of Friedrich Nietzsche.

The 19th century took the radical notions of self-organization and intrinsic order from Goethe and Kantian metaphysics, and proceeded to produce a long elaboration on the tension between systematization and organic development. Foremost was the work of Hegel, whose Logic and Phenomenology of Spirit produced a "dialectical" framework for ordering of knowledge.

As with the 18th century, developments in science arose from philosophy and also challenged philosophy: most importantly the work of Charles Darwin, which was based on the idea of organic self-regulation found in philosophers such as Smith, but fundamentally challenged established conceptions.

After Hegel's death in 1831, 19th-century philosophy largely turned against idealism in favor of varieties of philosophical naturalism, such as the positivism of Auguste Comte, the empiricism of John Stuart Mill, and the materialism of Karl Marx. Logic began a period of its most significant advances since the inception of the discipline, as increasing mathematical precision opened entire fields of inference to formalization in the work of George Boole and Gottlob Frege.[31] Other philosophers who initiated lines of thought that would continue to shape philosophy into the 20th century include:

Contemporary approaches[edit]

Main article: Contemporary philosophy

The three major contemporary approaches to academic philosophy are analytic philosophy, continental philosophy and pragmatism.[32] They are neither exhaustive nor mutually exclusive.

The 20th century deals with the upheavals produced by a series of conflicts within philosophical discourse over the basis of knowledge, with classical certainties overthrown, and new social, economic, scientific and logical problems. 20th century philosophy was set for a series of attempts to reform and preserve, and to alter or abolish, older knowledge systems. Seminal figures include Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Edmund Husserl.

Since the Second World War, contemporary philosophy has been divided mostly into analytic and continental traditions; the former carried in the English speaking world and the latter on the continent of Europe. The perceived conflict between continental and analytic schools of philosophy remains prominent, despite increasing skepticism regarding the distinction's usefulness.


Main article: Analytic philosophy

In the English-speaking world, analytic philosophy became the dominant school for much of the 20th century.

The term analytic philosophy roughly designates a group of philosophical methods that stress detailed argumentation, attention to semantics, use of classical logic and non-classical logics and clarity of meaning above all other criteria. Though the movement has broadened, it was a cohesive school in the first half of the century. Analytic philosophers were shaped strongly by logical positivism, united by the notion that philosophical problems could and should be solved by attention to logic and language.

Bertrand Russell and G.E. Moore are also often counted as founders of analytic philosophy, beginning with their rejection of British idealism, their defense of realism and the emphasis they laid on the legitimacy of analysis. Russell's classic works The Principles of Mathematics,[33]On Denoting and Principia Mathematica with Alfred North Whitehead, aside from greatly promoting the use of mathematical logic in philosophy, set the ground for much of the research program in the early stages of the analytic tradition, emphasizing such problems as: the reference of proper names, whether 'existence' is a property, the nature of propositions, the analysis of definite descriptions, and discussions on the foundations of mathematics. These works also explored issues of ontological commitment and metaphysical problems regarding time, the nature of matter, mind, persistence and change, which Russell often tackled with the aid of mathematical logic.

Gottlob Frege's The Foundations of Arithmetic was the first analytic work, according to Michael Dummett (Origins of Analytical Philosophy). Frege took "the linguistic turn," analyzing philosophical problems through language. Some analytic philosophers held that philosophical problems arise through misuse of language or because of misunderstandings of the logic of human language.

In 1921, Ludwig Wittgenstein, who studied under Russell at Cambridge, published his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, which gave a rigidly "logical" account of linguistic and philosophical issues. Years later, he reversed a number of the positions he set out in the Tractatus, in for example his second major work, Philosophical Investigations (1953). Investigations was influential in the development of "ordinary language philosophy," which was promoted by Gilbert Ryle, J.L. Austin, and a few others.

In the United States, meanwhile, the philosophy of Quine was having a major influence, with the paper Two Dogmas of Empiricism. In that paper Quine criticizes the distinction between analytic and synthetic statements, arguing that a clear conception of analyticity is unattainable.

Notable students of Quine include Donald Davidson and Daniel Dennett. The later work of Russell and the philosophy of Willard Van Orman Quine are influential exemplars of the naturalist approach dominant in the second half of the 20th century. But the diversity of analytic philosophy from the 1970s onward defies easy generalization: the naturalism of Quine and his epigoni was in some precincts superseded by a "new metaphysics" of possible worlds, as in the influential work of David Lewis. Recently, the experimental philosophy movement has sought to reappraise philosophical problems through social science research techniques.

Some influential figures in contemporary analytic philosophy are: Timothy Williamson, David Lewis, John Searle, Thomas Nagel, Hilary Putnam, Michael Dummett, Peter van Inwagen, Saul Kripke and Patricia Churchland.

Analytic philosophy has sometimes been accused of not contributing to the political debate or to traditional questions in aesthetics. However, with the appearance of A Theory of Justice by John Rawls and Anarchy, State, and Utopia by Robert Nozick, analytic political philosophy acquired respectability. Analytic philosophers have also shown depth in their investigations of aesthetics, with Roger Scruton, Nelson Goodman, Arthur Danto and others developing the subject to its current shape.


Main article: Continental philosophy

Continental philosophy is a set of 19th- and 20th-century philosophical traditions from mainland Europe. 20th-century movements such as German idealism, phenomenology, existentialism, modern hermeneutics, critical theory, structuralism, post-structuralism and others are included within this loose category. While identifying any non-trivial common factor in all these schools of thought is bound to be controversial, Michael E. Rosen has hypothesized a few common Continental themes: that the natural sciences cannot replace the human sciences; that the thinker is affected by the conditions of experience (one's place and time in history); that philosophy is both theoretical and practical; that metaphilosophy or reflection upon the methods and nature of philosophy itself is an important part of philosophy proper.

The founder of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl, sought to study consciousness as experienced from a first-person perspective, while Martin Heidegger drew on the ideas of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Husserl to propose an unconventional existential approach to ontology. In the Arabic-speaking world, Arab nationalist philosophy became the dominant school of thought, involving philosophers such as Michel Aflaq, Zaki al-Arsuzi, Salah al-Din al-Bitar of Ba'athism and Sati' al-Husri.

Phenomenologically oriented metaphysics undergirded existentialism (Heidegger, Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Albert Camus) and finally post-structuralism (Gilles Deleuze, Jean-François Lyotard, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida). The psychoanalytic work of Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva, and others has also been influential in contemporary continental thought. Conversely, some philosophers have attempted to define and rehabilitate older traditions of philosophy. Most notably, Hans-Georg Gadamer and Alasdair MacIntyre have both, albeit in different ways, revived the tradition of Aristotelianism.

German idealism[edit]

Main article: German idealism

Transcendental idealism, advocated by Immanuel Kant, is the view that there are limits on what can be understood, since there is much that cannot be brought under the conditions of objective judgment. Kant wrote his Critique of Pure Reason (1781–1787) in an attempt to reconcile the conflicting approaches of rationalism and empiricism, and to establish a new groundwork for studying metaphysics. Although Kant held that objective knowledge of the world required the mind to impose a conceptual or categorical framework on the stream of pure sensory data—a framework including space and time themselves—he maintained that things-in-themselves existed independently of human perceptions and judgments; he was therefore not an idealist in any simple sense. Kant's account of things-in-themselves is both controversial and highly complex. Continuing his work, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Schelling dispensed with belief in the independent existence of the world, and created a thoroughgoing idealist philosophy.

The most notable work of this German idealism was G. W. F. Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, of 1807. Hegel admitted his ideas were not new, but that all the previous philosophies had been incomplete. His goal was to correctly finish their job. Hegel asserts that the twin aims of philosophy are to account for the contradictions apparent in human experience (which arise, for instance, out of the supposed contradictions between "being" and "not being"), and also simultaneously to resolve and preserve these contradictions by showing their compatibility at a higher level of examination ("being" and "not being" are resolved with "becoming"). This program of acceptance and reconciliation of contradictions is known as the "Hegelian dialectic".

Philosophers influenced by Hegel include Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach, who coined the term projection as pertaining to humans' inability to recognize anything in the external world without projecting qualities of ourselves upon those things; Karl Marx; Friedrich Engels; and the British idealists, notably T. H. Green, J. M. E. McTaggart and F. H. Bradley. Few 20th-century philosophers have embraced idealism. However, quite a few have embraced Hegelian dialectic. Immanuel Kant's "Copernican Turn" also remains an important philosophical concept today.


Main article: Phenomenology (philosophy)

Edmund Husserl's phenomenology was an ambitious attempt to lay the foundations for an account of the structure of conscious experience in general.[34] An important part of Husserl's phenomenological project was to show that all conscious acts are directed at or about objective content, a feature that Husserl called intentionality.[35] Husserl published only a few works in his lifetime, which treat phenomenology mainly in abstract methodological terms; but he left an enormous quantity of unpublished concrete analyses. Husserl's work was immediately influential in Germany, with the foundation of phenomenological schools in Munich and Göttingen. Phenomenology later achieved international fame through the work of such philosophers as Martin Heidegger (formerly Husserl's research assistant), Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Jean-Paul Sartre. Through the work of Heidegger and Sartre, Husserl's focus on subjective experience influenced aspects of existentialism.


Main article: Existentialism

Existentialism is a term applied to the work of a number of late 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences,[36][37] shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual.[38] In existentialism, the individual's starting point is characterized by what has been called "the existential attitude", or a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world.[39] Many existentialists have also regarded traditional systematic or academic philosophy, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience.[40][41]

Although they did not use the term, the 19th-century philosophers Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche are widely regarded as the fathers of existentialism. Their influence, however, has extended beyond existentialist thought.[42][43][44]

Structuralism and post-structuralism[edit]

Main articles: Structuralism and Post-structuralism

Inaugurated by the linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, structuralism sought to clarify systems of signs through analyzing the discourses they both limit and make possible. Saussure conceived of the sign as being delimited by all the other signs in the system, and ideas as being incapable of existence prior to linguistic structure, which articulates thought. This led continental thought away from humanism, and toward what was termed the decentering of man: language is no longer spoken by man to express a true inner self, but language speaks man.

Structuralism sought the province of a hard science, but its positivism soon came under fire by post-structuralism, a wide field of thinkers, some of whom were once themselves structuralists, but later came to criticize it. Structuralists believed they could analyze systems from an external, objective standing, for example, but the poststructuralists argued that this is incorrect, that one cannot transcend structures and thus analysis is itself determined by what it examines. While the distinction between the signifier and signified was treated as crystalline by structuralists, poststructuralists asserted that every attempt to grasp the signified results in more signifiers, so meaning is always in a state of being deferred, making an ultimate interpretation impossible.

Structuralism came to dominate continental philosophy throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, encompassing thinkers as diverse as Claude Lévi-Strauss, Roland Barthes and Jacques Lacan. Post-structuralism came to predominate from the 1970s onwards, including thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze and even Roland Barthes; it incorporated a critique of structuralism's limitations.


Main articles: Pragmatism and Instrumentalism

Pragmatism asserts that the truth of beliefs consists in their usefulness and efficacy rather than their correspondence with reality.[45]Peirce and James were its co-founders and it was later modified by Dewey as instrumentalism. Since the usefulness of any belief at any time might be contingent on circumstance, Peirce and James conceptualised final truth as something established only by the future, final settlement of all opinion.[46]

Pragmatism attempted to find a scientific concept of truth that does not depend on personal insight (revelation) or reference to some metaphysical realm. It interpreted the meaning of a statement by the effect its acceptance would have on practice. Inquiry taken far enough is thus the only path to truth.[47]

For Peirce commitment to inquiry was essential to truth-finding, implied by the idea and hope that inquiry is not fruitless. The interpretation of these principles has been subject to discussion ever since. Peirce's maxim of pragmatism is, "Consider what effects, which might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then, our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object."[48]

Critics accused pragmatism falling victim to a simple fallacy: that because something that is true proves useful, that usefulness is an appropriate basis for its truthfulness.[49] Pragmatist thinkers include Dewey, Santayana, Quine and Lewis. Pragmatism was later worked on by Rorty, Lachs, Davidson, Haack and Putnam.


Main article: Thomism

Largely Aristotelian in its approach and content, Thomism is a philosophical tradition that follows the writings of Thomas Aquinas. His work has been read, studied and disputed since the 13th century, especially by Roman Catholics. Aquinas enjoyed a revived interest beginning in the late 19th century, among both atheists (Philippa Foot) and theists (Elizabeth Anscombe).[50] Thomist philosophers tend to be rationalists in epistemology, as well as metaphysical realists and virtue ethicists. They claim that humans are rational animals whose good can be known by reason that can be achieved by the will. Thomists argue that soul or psyche is real and immaterial but inseparable from matter in organisms. Soul is the form of the body. Thomists accept Aristotle's causes as natural, including teleological or final causes. In this way, although Aquinas argued that whatever is in the intellect begins in the senses, natural teleology can be discerned with the senses and abstracted from nature through induction.[51]

Contemporary Thomism encompasses multiple variants, from Neo-Scholasticism to Existential Thomism.[52]

The so-called new Natural lawyers like Grisez and George applied Thomistic legal principles to contemporary ethical debates, while Freeman proposed that Thomism's cognition was most compatible with neurodynamics. Analytical Thomism (Haldane) encourages dialogue between analytic philosophy and broadly Aristotelian philosophy of mind, psychology and hylomorphic metaphysics.[53] Other contemporary Thomists include Stump, MacIntyre and Finnis.


Main article: Marxism

Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis, originating from Marx and Engels. It analyzes class relations and societal conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and a dialectical view of social transformation. Marxist analyses and methodologies influenced political ideologies and social movements. Marxist understandings of history and society were adopted by academics in archaeology, anthropology, media studies, political science, theater, history, sociology, art history and theory, cultural studies, education, economics, geography, literary criticism, aesthetics, critical psychology and philosophy.

Western philosophical subdisciplines[edit]

Western philosophers have often been divided into some major branches, or schools, based either on the questions typically addressed by people working in different parts of the field, or notions of ideological undercurrents. In the ancient world, the most influential division of the subject was the Stoics' division of philosophy into logic, ethics, and physics (conceived as the study of the nature of the world, and including both natural science and metaphysics). In contemporary philosophy, specialties within the field are more commonly divided into metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and aesthetics (the latter two of which together comprise axiology

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