This short book introduces what I consider to be the most important principles for conducting any systematic philosophical inquiry. These are broken down into three sections: logic, physics, and person; or, the basic encounter with thought, with the world, and the nexus of thought and world.
The focus here is not on history or dialectic—that is, how these ideas have developed through time or the argumentative demonstrations of their veracity—but rather on a clear presentation of the ideas themselves along with heuristic suggestions for reflecting on these ideas and their integration into our lives. History and dialectic are important but can be found in countless other books. At the same time, this introduction should not be consumed in the manner of a textbook, nor should it be considered a reference. Rather, it should be considered an introduction to questioning; for one does not induce the philosophical habit by rote, but by pursuing thoughtful inquiry with dedication; and while repetition is the mother of all learning, there is profound difference between the repetition of a parrot and the repetition of a recursively-engaged program of questioning. [Download] [Amazon]
I wrote this book to fill what I consider a need: that is, there are many introductions to the history of philosophy, or to the thought of certain philosophers, or to certain topics within philosophy, but there are not many introductions in philosophical thinking. That is, we tend to find books about the cultural phenomenon of philosophical thinking more than we find books which actually help us to think philosophically. While the former are fine ways into a philosophical life if one happens to be attending a university or college where there are professors and classes and classmates with which one can be immersed in the habit of questioning, they do less for those not enveloped in a life of liberal education.
This book is for those who either never received such a university education–either because they did not go or having gone, found no such environment–or who have left behind that environment and the habits it supported. This book is for thinking beyond academia.