A very short introduction
German philosophy remains the core of modern philosophy. Without Kant, Frege, Wittgenstein, and Husserl there would be no Anglo-American ‘analytical’ style of philosophy. Moreover, without Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, the ‘Continental Philosophy’ of Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze, Badiou, and Zizek, which has had major effects on humanities subjects in recent years, is incomprehensible. Knowledge of German philosophy is, then, an indispensable prerequisite of theoretically informed study in the humanities as a whole. German Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction discusses the idea that German philosophy forms one of the most revealing responses to the problems of ‘modernity’. The rise of the modern natural sciences and the related decline of religion raises a series of questions, which recur throughout German philosophy, concerning the relationships between knowledge and faith, reason and emotion, and scientific, ethical, and artistic ways of seeing the world. There are also many significant philosophers who are generally neglected in most existing English-language treatments of German philosophy, which tend to concentrate on the canonical figures. This Very Short Introduction will include reference to these thinkers and suggests how they can be used to question more familiar German philosophical thought.
We find risks everywhere―from genetically modified crops, medical malpractice, and stem-cell therapy to intimacy, online predators, identity theft, inflation, and robbery. They arise from our own acts and they are imposed on us. In this Very Short Introduction, Baruch Fischhoff and John Kadvany draw on the sciences and humanities to explore and explain the many kinds of risk. Using simple conceptual frameworks from decision theory and behavioural research, they examine the science and practice of creating measures of risk, showing how scientists address risks by combining historical records, scientific theories, probability, and expert judgment. Risk: A Very Short Introduction describes what has been learned by cognitive scientists about how people deal with risks, applying these lessons to diverse examples, and demonstrating how understanding risk can aid choices in everyday life and public policies for health, safety, environment, finance, and many other topics.
Do, or should, dictionaries control language? How do they treat language change, both now and in the past? Which words do dictionaries leave out – and on what grounds? Dictionaries are far more than works which list the words and meanings of a language. In this Very Short Introduction Lynda Mugglestone shows that all dictionaries are partial and all are selective. They are human products, reflecting the dominant social and cultural assumptions of the time in which they were written. Dictionaries exist then not only as works which seek to document language, but also as cultural documents that are connected to the world in which they were produced. Exploring common beliefs about dictionaries, providing glimpses of behind the scenes dictionary makers at work, and confronting the problems of how a word is to be defined, Mugglestone shows that dictionaries are always, and inevitably, more than the crafting of a simple list of words. Concluding with a look at the range of modern dictionaries and transformations, from online dictionaries such as urbandictionary.com or wictionary to txt-spk and slang, she reveals the controversial nature of the debates about communication and language, showing that only in written and spoken English does the language of dictionaries exist in full.
Theology, 2 edition
This Very Short Introduction provides both the believer and non-believer with a balanced survey of the central questions of theology.
David Ford’s approach draws us in to considering the principles underlying religious belief, including the centrality of salvation to most major religions, the concept of God in ancient, modern, and postmodern contexts, the challenge posed to theology by prayer and worship, and the issue of sin and evil. He also probes the nature of experience, knowledge, and wisdom in theology, and discusses what is involved in interpreting theological texts.
Ford’s introduction to theology has already helped tens of thousands of believers and non-believers to understand the central questions of contemporary theology. In this new edition, he includes updates to a number of areas, including theology between faiths, theological responses to science, and the effects of globalization and technology.
Daniel K. Gardner
To understand China, it is essential to understand Confucianism. First formulated in the sixth century BCE, the teachings of Confucius would come to dominate Chinese society, politics, economics, and ethics.
In this Very Short Introduction, Daniel K. Gardner explores the major philosophical ideas of the Confucian tradition, showing their profound impact on state ideology and imperial government, the civil service examination system, domestic life, and social relations over the course of twenty-six centuries. Gardner focuses on two of the Sage’s most crucial philosophical problems-what makes for a good person, and what constitutes good government-and demonstrates the enduring significance of these questions today.
This volume shows the influence of the Sage’s teachings over the course of Chinese history–on state ideology, the civil service examination system, imperial government, the family, and social relations–and the fate of Confucianism in China in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as China developed alongside a modernizing West and Japan. Some Chinese intellectuals attempted to reform the Confucian tradition to address new needs; others argued for jettisoning it altogether in favor of Western ideas and technology; still others condemned it angrily, arguing that Confucius and his legacy were responsible for China’s feudal, ”backward” conditions in the twentieth century and launching campaigns to eradicate its influences. Yet Chinese continue to turn to the teachings of Confucianism for guidance in their daily lives.
In addition to a survey of the philosophy and history of Confucianism, Gardner offers an examination of the resurgence of Confucianism in China today, and explores what such a revival means for the Chinese government and the Chinese people.