I have read the second and third editions of this book, but not the latest (the fourth), nor have I examined the fourth edition, but I am sure that it respects the fine didactic quality of the prior editions. The author though has decreased the page count since the second edition, which was over 500 pages, to the third, which was 416 pages, to this one, which reads as 282 pages. I thought the second edition was better than the third, because it was more in-depth in its coverage. The author possibly feels that many of the philosophical problems which he addressed with more detail in prior editions do not need the coverage they do in this one.
The author though is a fine writer, and this book is written for the person first taking up philosophy. His informal style effectively relates the issues at hand without getting the beginning reader into too much heavy formalism. All of the issues discussed by the author are of enormous importance for living, especially in the twenty-first century which I see as a testing ground for many of these. Philosophy is making its way to the meeting rooms of industry, due to the need for ethical considerations in medicine and genetic engineering, the role of virtual and simulation environments currently used in industry, and the continuing rapid advances in artificial intelligence, to name just a few. Many, many more new philosophical problems will arise as technology races ahead, and the new minds of the twenty-first century, both natural and artificial, will have their own unique viewpoints on the solutions to these problems.
In the world of philosophy, which I must admit my knowledge of has soley come from John Hospers, the author of this book and a dable or two in Plato and Baccon, good gritty language and a humorouse remark or two can take you a long way. Fortunately John has gone well past these primative tools in authorship to give the reader an objective view on Philosophical analisys. By far my heaviest read in the humanities, this is not a sunday afternoon read. To read a book such as this, it leaves one pondering themselves on the questions most people had never thought to answer. This makes the reader feel the subject is seriouse however far from laboriouse. Johns approach in this sense is remarkable in that the wordage used is as concise as possible however with the daring to use personalstyle in conveying the real message. Philosophy isnt a chore. John makes this evident. There are no deffinate answers. A message I personaly felt throughout the book. There are labels for the definate, there are approaches for the deffinate truth, with obstacles such as ethics, sceptisism, morals, and the ethos of religeon to further inhance the need to ask. To ask and re-ask new questions to open new vistas and mental oppertunities in life. While you may truly fervour your beliefs, it is however ritiouse to still understand why five billion other people may have quite shockingly different ones. An introduction to philosophical analisys is one way to realise this. This simply isn't just a text book for students, but a guide. Written with the gusto of plato. Do not teach philosophy, show someone how to teach themselves.