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Life's Ultimate Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy Hardcover – July 27, 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Life’s Ultimate Questions is unique among introductory philosophy textbooks. By synthesizing three distinct approaches—topical, historical, and worldview/conceptual systems—it affords students a breadth and depth of perspective previously unavailable in standard introductory texts. Part One, Six Conceptual Systems, explores the philosophies of: Naturalism Plato Aristotle Plotinus Augustine Aquinas Part Two, Important Problems in Philosophy, sheds light on: The Law of Noncontradiction Possible Worlds Epistemology I: Whatever Happened to

Truth? Epistemology II: A Tale of Two Systems Epistemology III: Reformed

Epistemology God I: The Existence of God God II: The Nature of God Metaphysics: Some Questions About

Indeterminism Ethics I: The Downward Path Ethics II: The Upward Path Human Nature: The Mind-Body Problem

and Survival After Death Life’s Ultimate Questions is unique among introductory philosophy textbooks. By synthesizing three distinct approaches—topical, historical, and worldview/conceptual systems—it affords students a breadth and depth of perspective previously unavailable in standard introductory texts. Part One, Six Conceptual Systems, explores the philosophies of: Naturalism Plato Aristotle Plotinus Augustine Aquinas Part Two, Important Problems in Philosophy, sheds light on: The Law of Noncontradiction Possible Worlds Epistemology I: Whatever Happened to

Truth? Epistemology II: A Tale of Two Systems Epistemology III: Reformed

Epistemology God I: The Existence of God God II: The Nature of God Metaphysics: Some Questions About

Indeterminism Ethics I: The Downward Path Ethics II: The Upward Path Human Nature: The Mind-Body Problem

and Survival After Death Life’s Ultimate Questions is unique among introductory philosophy textbooks. By synthesizing three distinct approaches—topical, historical, and worldview/conceptual systems—it affords students a breadth and depth of perspective previously unavailable in standard introductory texts. Part One, Six Conceptual Systems, explores the philosophies of: Naturalism Plato Aristotle Plotinus Augustine Aquinas Part Two, Important Problems in Philosophy, sheds light on: The Law of Noncontradiction Possible Worlds Epistemology I: Whatever Happened to

Truth? Epistemology II: A Tale of Two Systems Epistemology III: Reformed

Epistemology God I: The Existence of God God II: The Nature of God Metaphysics: Some Questions About

Indeterminism Ethics I: The Downward Path Ethics II: The Upward Path Human Nature: The Mind-Body Problem

and Survival After Deat -- Publisher

From the Publisher

Life's Ultimate Questions is a basic textbook on introduction to philosophy that helps the reader understand the notion of a worldview and the role that worldviews play for everyone. It also helps readers achieve self-understanding about their own worldview. The book focuses on six specific views: naturalism, and the views of Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, and Aquinas. Life's Ultimate Questions also deals with such topics as ethics, metaphysics, and possible worlds.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (August 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310223644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310223641
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. S. Bader on December 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is what got me interested in philosophy. Having been required to read various theological books when I was a kid I hadn't really understood them to the fullest extent and had little interest to know much more about them or what the works said. However, this work helped shape my thinking and developed my interest in philosophy. The book is a textbook and reads like a textbook, so it doesn't have a tone that would get one excited. Yet, the formation of the book is very good.

Some intro to philosophy books have a name dropper style i.e. going through a very brief history of philosophy by describing the philosopher with a feather light touch on their philosophy (similar to the book Looking At Philosophy: The Unbearable Heaviness of Philosophy Made Lighter). Or give an intro to a certain concept without really going into how others have done it in the past (like ]]Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics). However, this starts off with a history of ancient philosophy with an acceptable amount of information of several ancient philosophers. He then moves on to some problems of philosophy like relativism and deconstructionism.

Rather than just giving you some general information about philosophy, Nash's goal seems to get you to think like a philosopher. He has in mind to train you analytic skills and be prepared to face some of the proponents of the worldviews that Nash considers (and any Christian should consider) problems of philosophy.

Unlike many philosophy text books, Nash does not separate his worldview from philosophy.
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Ronald Nash has completed a great introductory book on thE subject of philosophy. He begins by discussing world views and then writes about the six conceptual systems: Naturalism, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus,Augustine, ansd Aquinas. He writes about the Law of Non-contradiction and epistemology. The strength of the book are the chapters on God's existence and nature.
The book is very much highly prone to Christian Theism. However, he writes truthfully about the theories and peoples involoved throughout philosophy. Since he is writing a text book, you will not find any overt evangelism taking place here, which is a good thing, since this book is actually menat as a primer for college students.
The book is easy to read and Nash's strength is his ability to make complicated subjects easy to understand.
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If you had to read the translated works of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and others, it would take you months to interpret what you read. This book does it for you by systematically explaining their core ideas and breaks them down in understandable language. It further compares/contrasts the great philosophers so you can see how their ideas are alike or differ; how they expanded on the ideas of their predecessors and moved to their own thought on life's compelling questions.
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Format: Hardcover
Ron Nash is first and foremost a Christian philosopher, and he approaches all subjects from that angle, even an introductory text such as Life's Ultimate Questions. This is all well and good, but it means that this text is really only appropriate for use in Christian colleges and seminaries, which is obviously what Nash has in mind.

With that out of the way, I have to give Nash a lot of praise for his work here. Decades of teaching philosophy have honed his writing and communication skills to a degree where he can make complex concepts sound simple. The structure of the book is interesting as well. In the first half, Nash defines and critiques the conceptual systems of six major philosophers: Democritus (naturalism), Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus (Neoplatonism), Augustine, and Aquinas. The second half deals with specific philosophical topics and problems, and here Nash moves into recent philosophy with discussions of analytic philosophy, postmodernism, and the like. This structure is very effective, as it achieves more of a balance between the history of philosophy approach and the topical approach, while leaning more toward the topical when it comes to philosophical movements and questions that are representative of contemporary philosophers.

Nash sprinkles his discussion of these topics with criticisms from the standpoint of a Christian worldview. Again, this is fine, as all philosophers are working from a specific perspective, but a text that claims to be "An Introduction to Philosophy" probably ought to be a little less partisan. Consider something like Millard Erickson's Systematic Theology.
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Excellent review of basic philosophical questions and an entry level philosophical text. The copy I received, however, was heavily marked up with highlighter marker and pen markings on virtually every page. This physical condition seriously impacted my enjoyment of the book. Nash is a great author (I've read some of his other works) and provides a good introductory survey, but if I had known my copy would have arrived in such a condition I may have purchased from another vendor.
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