Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
  • List Price: $11.95
  • Save: $2.30 (19%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 17 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Solid used copy with visible wear. FREE SHIPPING w/AMAZON PRIME!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction Paperback – May 16, 2002

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$3.57 $1.99

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more.

  • Get a $150 Gift Card: Get the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card and earn a $150.00 digital Gift Card* after $1,000 in card purchases within 3 months of account opening. Learn more.

Frequently Bought Together

Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction + Logic: A Very Short Introduction + Metaphysics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Price for all three: $25.57

Buy the selected items together


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1st edition (May 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192854216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192854216
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.3 x 4.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Philosophy: Questions for Consideration and Discussion

  • If you wanted to avoid philosophy completely, what would you have to do?
  • Do you really have a right to your own opinion? Always, or only sometimes?
  • Are there limits to what the State can properly demand of its citizens?
  • Some people believe in miracles. Why?
  • What would happen if you decided not to believe anything without having a good reason for it?
  • Review

    `[The Very Short Introduction to Philosophy] shows that philosophy really can be fascinating, broad-minded and full of surprise. As a means of stimulating interest in the subject it has few rivals.' Julian Baggini, The Philosopher's Magazine

    More About the Author

    Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

    Customer Reviews

    The texts are classics and it helps to read them concurrently with Craig's book.
    Mark Twain
    I think that Craig's book actually manages to find a nice balance between breadth and depth, despite being very short.
    Irfan A. Alvi
    The entertaining part is what really makes this book good because otherwise it could be a little boring.

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    66 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Peter Reeve VINE VOICE on August 19, 2005
    Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
    Introductory philosophical texts tend to adopt one of two possible approaches: Either they give a chronological account of famous thinkers and schools, or they examine a set of topics - ethics, free will, nature of mind, etc. Craig opts for something different and rather interesting. The first three chapters are intended to be read in tandem with the works they summarize, namely Plato's "Crito", Hume's "On Miracles" and the Buddhist "King Milanda's Chariot". How many readers will actually do that is doubtful but it is an interesting idea that introduces the reader to three very different areas of philosophy.

    We then, somewhat more traditionally, have summary introductions to some philosophical themes and 'isms'. Next, Craig presents reviews of a very personal selection of philosophical classics. 'Idiosyncratic' may be a better word than 'personal' as it includes Darwin's "The Origin of Species" which would not normally feature in such a list.

    Finally, we have a description of philosophy as a discipline, asking what purposes and interests it serves.

    There's a lot of good things to say about this little book. It is a well-written, lively and authoritative introduction. Craig references the Hindu tradition as well as the Western and gives plenty of encouragement and advice for further study.
    Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
    Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
    Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
    41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By C. MOZEE-BAUM on February 1, 2006
    Format: Paperback
    This is one of the more entertaining and reader-friendly books on philosophy I've read, and in terms of style it goes down more smoothly than even most other Very Short Introductions.

    However, it's difficult to see the precise value or usefulness of this book. Obviously, you can't give a comprehensive overview of a subject as vast as Philosophy in a 130 page book. Still, the organization of this volume seems somewhat haphazard and meandering.

    Edward Craig is certainly an expert on the subject, and the chapters do explore various facets of philosophy, such as predominant philosophical questions and key philosophers and philosophical texts. But the choice of topics seems a bit too subjective, and the manner in which things are explored lends itself more to entertainment than actual acquisition of knowledge.

    I recommend this to anybody who has an interest in philosophy but knows literally next to nothing about it; for anyone else, the content is a bit too shallow to be really useful, though it's still an entertaining read.
    1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
    Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
    Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
    23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By "writing_static" on June 30, 2003
    Format: Paperback
    A wonderful, lucid, entertaining and informative guide. Craig takes the reader step-by-step through some of the principal works of ancient and modern philosophy, and provides us with an essential guide to the somewhat daunting task of deciphering and understanding a range of compelling thinkers and their works. With an engaging, friendly writing style (and an excellent bibliography to encourage us to continue our journey), this is an indispensable little volume.
    Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
    Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
    Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
    12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Odd Bodd on January 15, 2005
    Format: Paperback
    ...with a very good tour guide. As the title suggests, it is a very short introduction. Prof. Craig gives an excellent introduction to the three big questions "What should I do?" (or how should I live my life?) "How do we know?"(very roughly, how do we draw conclusions? "What am I?" (again, very roughly, what is a person?) After dealing with these Prof. Craig then moves on to several other issues, all of which relate back to these questions.

    Prof. Craig is a delightful guide, full of good humour and, for the most part, a fantastic explainer of very complex ideas; you'll have to read his description of Nietzsche's ideas to see what I mean. His annotated bibliography is definitely one of the best I have come across in this series.

    Why four stars? I'd give him four and a half if I could. The only minor shortcomings of the book were that one or two of the explanations weren't all that clear (but then, it is a very short guide) and I found his treatment of C. S. Lewis bordering on contemptuous.

    Those points aside, a fantastic book.
    Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
    Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
    Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
    6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steve on February 13, 2007
    Format: Paperback
    This little book is a gem. A couple of reviews here are too hard on this a 125 page tour. I came to this book as somewhat of a philosophy novice unlike, it seems, a couple of the disappointed reviewers here, so my perspective may be naïve, but the book did it's job for me and then some. Early on Craig correctly recommends reading slowly, because he packs a lot into the short tour. Apologies to a previous reviewer who found it shallow, keep in mind it's a large task for a small book.

    If you know nothing of philosophy, I'd recommend first, as Craig does also, Thomas Nagel's "What Does It All Mean". My first read was Bertrand Russell's "History of Western Philosophy" which was too much for a beginner, although it did give me a sense of the history of western thought as it was intended. Russell's "The Problems of Philosophy" would have been a better start, but Russell can be a bit technical for the beginner.

    Craig's book is not so much an intro to the problems of philosophy as a whirlwind tour of the major ideas that encompass western (and some eastern) thought, beginning with Plato, jumping to Hume and touching on some of the authors favorites: Descartes, Hegel, Nietzsche, and the impact of Darwin. He discusses some themes and introduces some "isms". He recommends readings along the way, and the end provides a list of other recommended intro and intermediate texts. He wraps it up with a chapter titled, "What's in it for whom": The individual; The priesthood; The working class; Women; Animals.

    Craig did an excellent job piquing my interest in further readings. His enthusiasm for the subject matter is obvious.
    Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
    Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
    Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

    Most Recent Customer Reviews

    What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?