Laurence D. Houlgate
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About Laurence D. Houlgate
Laurence (Larry) Houlgate is an emeritus professor of philosophy and former department chair at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. A California native, he received his B.A. at Cal State Los Angeles and an M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy at UCLA. Before joining the Cal Poly faculty, he held teaching positions at Cal State Fullerton; University of California, Santa Barbara; Reed College (Oregon); and George Mason University (Virginia).
His teaching and research specialties in philosophy include Philosophy of Law, Social Ethics, and the History of Philosophy.
Now in retirement after a 51-year teaching career, Larry is currently writing guide books for beginning philosophy students on the classics of philosophy. At this writing (2022), eight study guides have been published.
Larry recently published the 2nd edition of Understanding Philosophy, a study guide for beginning students on philosophical methodology.
Another book project in the works is about the long history of belief in the existence of a life after death, and the futility of past attempts to provide philosophic, scientific or any rational proof to ground this belief.
He enjoys retirement, especially spending quality time with his wife (of 51 years), research and writing, going to the movies, beach walks, early morning swims, and occasionally competing in U.S. Masters and Senior Games swim meets..
Contact address: email@example.com
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Titles By Laurence D. Houlgate
Understanding John Stuart Mill focuses on both content and philosophical method in the sections on Mill's famous Utilitarianism and in his later but equally famous On Liberty. Each chapter breaks down the arguments of the philosopher into understandable parts, showing how the philosopher reaches his conclusions and how he defends against possible objections. Each chapter concludes with a set of questions for thought and discussion. Some of the questions are on topics that provide an excellent starting point for term papers. References to other books about the philosopher or the topic can be found at the end of the chapter, in footnotes, textboxes or at the end of the book.
Other books in the Smart Student's Guide series are: Understanding Plato: The Socratic Dialogues and the Republic; and Understanding John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism and On Liberty.
Understanding Jean-Jacques Rousseau by Professor Laurence Houlgate is a study guide or companion for "smart" philosophy and political science students who want to get a better understanding of Rousseau's The Social Contract than they can get from study guides that provide only outlines and flashcards. This book assumes that students want to learn how to think critically about the ideas and theories presented by Rousseau. It does this by breaking down each chapter into segments with running commentaries by the author. The commentaries clarify Rousseau's most difficult passages while giving students lessons in critical thinking and philosophical method. Each chapter segment is followed by questions for thought and discussion. These questions not only help students prepare for examinations but also provide topics for term papers.
Part I of the book has a preface and a short biography of Rousseau. Part II is the main part of the book, providing a step-by-step interpretation and commentary for each chapter in the Social Contract. Part III compares and contrasts Rousseau's ideas and theories with those of Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan) and John Locke (Second Treatise of Government).