Is this the best (free) ‘Introduction to Philosophy’ on line?


Stephen Palmquist teaches at Hong Kong Baptist University. His course is both published as a book and is also available as an on-line document The blurb for Dr Palmquist's book The Tree of Philosophy: A course of introductory lectures forbeginning students of philosophy. (Third edition) reads thus;   *Insight*. What is it? Where does it come from? Is it possible to *do* anything to increase our capacity for insight? In the course of introducing a wide range of philosophical issues, this book focuses special attention on examining how insight functions. Learning how to understand and assess insights, Palmquist claims, is the single most important reason to study philosophy. Four provocative "Questions For Further Thought" at the close of each chapter encourage readers to go beyond the letter of the text in search of their own philosophical insights. Distinguishing insights from our ordinary ("analytic") way of thinking leads Palmquist to coin the term "synthetic logic". Whereas analytic logic enables us to construct accurate theories about the world of *sight*, "synthetic logic ... fires our imagination with *insight*" (p.81). Because philosophical insights are often expressed in abstract terms that impede beginners from recognizing their significance, Palmquist employs diagrams as "maps", guiding the reader to a more concrete grasp of such ideas. The title sets the analogy that governs the organization of the entire book: 28 chapters are divided into four parts, examining the roots (metaphysics), trunk (logic), branches (science), and leaves (ontology) of the philosophical tree. Palmquist also applies organic metaphors to specific philosophical issues. For example, in emphasizing the need to balance insight with critical thinking, he says (p.111): "An insight must be planted, watered, and nurtured by our constant attention if it is to grow into an idea worth considering by other people, not just held by ourselves as a personal opinion." Most of the major western philosophers from the pre-Socratics to Wittgenstein are given a hearing, as are several ancient Chinese philosophers. The ideas of Aristotle and Kant are treated most fully. Each chapter concludes with a list of "Recommended Readings", many taken from the classical texts discussed in the chapter itself. Based on the lecture notes for the Introduction to Philosophy classes Palmquist teaches to university students in Hong Kong, *The Tree of Philosophy* is written in a conversational style, without footnotes. Although it is certainly not a traditional introductory textbook, it makes good reading for anyone interested in a balanced and spirited account of the nature of philosophy. In an introductory course, especially for non-majors, it could serve as a challenging and thought-provoking supplementary text.  The Tree of Philosophy: A course of introductory lectures forbeginning students of philosophy. Third edition. By Stephen Palmquist, D.Phil. (Oxon). Philopsychy Press (P.O. Box 1224, Shatin, Hong Kong), 1995. 210 pages. 76 diagrams. Index of Names. Softcover. US$12 (air) or $8 (sea).

Author: Roger - Dr Roger Prentice

Now I write, teach & coach mainly about interfaith as inter-spirituality - and how we can grow closer to our True Self. . As anyone who knows anything about IPF will realize my energy is curtailed - so I am concentrating primarily on 'inter-spirituality'. . In the past I would have said that: . 1) I run courses and give talks at conferences and in universities and colleges in the UK, China, USA, Canada, Scandinavia etc. . 2) I provide materials, outlines and lessons for Schools. . 3) My range of interests include personal development, learning and teaching, photography and film, the arts generally, spirituality and educational practice and theory. . 4) At the same time I continue developing the human-centred studies SunWALK PDS (People Development System) - a whole-person, high-achievement model for individuals, and for use in, NGOs, schools and other organizations. . 5) The key question that continues to animate me and my work remains, "What is it to be fully and positively human?" . Contact me via onesummit AT gmail DOT com (replace At with@ etc.). . All good wishes Roger (Dr Roger Prentice) . For those interested; My first degree is in English and Education. My masters is in Adult and Community Education. My doctorate presented a new holistic meta-model of education called SunWALK.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s