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What the Tortoise Taught Us


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Beginning of Reflection Chapter 2: Being Governed By the Mind: Rational Thought Chapter 3: Religious Faith: The Philosophy of Religion Chapter 4: Personal Identity and Human Nature: Metaphysics Chapter 5: How Things Seem and What They Are: Epistemology Chapter 6: The Purpose of Living: Ethics Chapter 7: Contemporary Trends Chapter 8: Epilogue Chapter 9 Index Chapter 10 About the Author

About the Author

Burton F. Porter is professor of philosophy at Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts.


This well-written book, which reads like a novel, will appeal to anyone who wants to know what philosophy is all about. Arranged historically, it begins with the Presocratics and ends with contemporary philosophic trends: linguistic philosophy, feminist thought, and the moral issues of abortion and racism. Chapters focus on topics including philosophy of religion, metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. The Presocratics are presented as thinkers who raised questions that still are perplexing, such as how much to trust the senses and how much to trust reason. The tortoise in the title refers to Zeno's paradox of the tortoise and the hare, and teaches readers "to question what we see and take to be true"-a good statement of philosophy's mission. Porter (Western New England Univ.) offers enough biographical information to situate philosophers in their time and place. One quibble is that Porter says Berkeley "did not believe the world is real"; however, Berkeley only claimed its reality was not material. The author does explain Berkeley's view accurately in his exposition. Clearly written, and offering a good bibliography and index, this book will be a valuable addition to any library. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through graduate students; general readers. * CHOICE *

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