The Philosopher’s Toolkit

Julian Baggini and Peter S. Fosl, The Philosopher’s Toolkit, A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods, Malden: Blackwell Publishing, Ltd., 2003.Amazon link

In the same vein as Thinking from A to Z, this book is more of a book-long glossary, or a mini encyclopedia of philosophical methodology, schools of metaphysical thought, and basic logical terminology. Good as a reference work, much of it is too advanced and not much use to a person just wanting to pick up the basics of critical thinking. I like it, but then, I’m writing a web site that deals with many aspects of critical thinking, and I need reference works of this sort to help make sure I’m not blowing hot air.

The book is divided into 6 parts: Basic Tools for Arguments, Further Tools for Arguments, Tools for Assessment, Tools for Conceptual Distinctions, Tools for Radical Critique, and Tools at the Limit.

I will probably be introducing in-depth some of the “Tools for Arguments” and “Tools for Assessment” in the future, as portions of these chapters hold great value to both the analysis of arguments, and solutions in problem-solving.

Each section covers common (and some not-so-common) concepts in argumentation, discussions of metaphysics, and even a discussion of the discussion (do we call that the metaphysics of metaphysics?). Each concept in a section has references at the end, and further entries that touch on the concept. At the end of the book as a short section on internet resources for philosophers.

Not a book for everyone. You might want to pick it up if you have an interest in modern philosophy as a general reference work.