Words of Wisdom: Intro to Philosophy
Jody Ondich, Lake Superior College, Duluth, Minnesota
Copyright Year: 2018
Publisher: Jody Ondich
Conditions of Use
The scope of this textbook is definitely broad enough for a typical Intro to Philosophy class. It may not be as comprehensive as the average anthology textbook, but those books include way more content than could possibly be covered in a semester.... read more
The scope of this textbook is definitely broad enough for a typical Intro to Philosophy class. It may not be as comprehensive as the average anthology textbook, but those books include way more content than could possibly be covered in a semester. This book contains an appropriate amount of material from a wide enough variety of sources and time periods for it to work as a stand-alone textbook for an Intro course. There is no index or glossary, but the Table of Contents is thorough and intuitive, and throughout the text, dictionary definitions are occasionally included for key terms.
Much of this textbook consists of excerpts of primary readings drawn from reputable translations and sources. The content written by the textbook author is also accurate and objective, grounded in good sources and documentation.
By many respects, the content is relevant and up-to-date, but there are two aspects of this category that are worth noting for instructors considering this text. One is that there are a considerable amount of links embedded in the text, linking to youtube videos and other websites. This supplementary content fills out the content of many sections in ways that would leave them a bit thin if the links went dead, or if students had only the pdf without internet access. It’s very useful to have all of these videos and other resources collected together and integrated into this book, but it will also be a big project to maintain and update all of the links. Another point is that many of the classic texts excerpted here make use of public domain translations that are a bit outdated. These may be classic translations in some respects, and in some cases, they may be the best available openly licensed translations, but with many of the texts, there are more recent CC-licensed translations that may be more approachable to the typical student.
The content written by the textbook author is clear and accessible. Some of the excerpts make use of translations that are not necessarily as accessible to students as other alternatives that could have been used (see my comment on “relevance”).
The content sections throughout the book are organized consistently, the framework of the book is clear and consistent throughout, and key terms are used consistently (both internally and with respect to the field in general).
This textbook appears to have been designed natively for the web, and the individual pages/subsections are nice-sized reading sections. The larger sections are arranged chronologically, and they would be easy to assign in different orders, or used a la carte as modules for other courses (for example, the section on Medieval Materials could be used as a reading packet for a course on Medieval Philosophy alongside other texts). Navigation through the modules is easy and intuitive with the web and epub versions.
This text is very well organized, and the Table of Contents makes it very easy to find sections and topics.
This text appears to be primarily designed for the web, and the interface on the web version is quite good. The design is simple and consistent. The epub and pdf versions appear to be ported from the web version, which works pretty well in the epub version, but it is a bit unwieldy in the pdf version, with occasional breaks across the page of images and graphics. The printable pdf ends up being 513 pages, which is about 4 or 5 times as long as it would need to be if it were reformatted with printing in mind.
I didn’t notice any grammatical errors. The majority of content is excerpted from primary sources, but the content written by the textbook is also well-written.
This text does a good job of including a diverse selection of readings from and information about philosophers of various races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. The Introduction includes a statement of the intention to include perspectives that have not traditionally been represented as part of the canon of Western Philosophy, and this is accomplished in a way that seems natural and intuitive.
Table of Contents
- Front Matter
- I. Classics
- II. Medieval Materials
- III. Spiritual Philosophy and Tales from the World
- IV. Early Modern Wisdom 1500-1750
- V. Late Modern Wisdom 1750-1950 CE
- VI. Modern Wisdom
- VII. Links to Additional Great Resources
- Back Matter
About the Book
Words of Wisdom can come from anyone. In this text we discuss topics ranging from "Are Humans good by nature?" to "Is there a God?" to "Do I have the right to my own opinion?" Philosophy is the study of wisdom, and can emerge in our conversations in social media, in school, around the family dinner table, and even in the car. The text uses materials that are 2,500 years old, and materials that were in the news this year. Wise people come in all shapes and types, and from every culture on earth. We have poetry and folktales, sacred writings and letters. Dialogues and interviews, news columns, Ted Talks, You Tube recordings and even comedy are all a part of the content in this text.You will be most successful reading this on line. The formatting in the downloadable versions is not wonderful. There is work being done by the software, but in the meantime, you will want to use it by clicking here on "read book:".
About the Contributors
Jody Ondich, Lake Superior College, Duluth, Minnesota