American Philosophy: The Basics introduces the history of American thought from early Calvinists to the New England Transcendentalists and from contract theory to contemporary African American philosophy. The key question it asks is: what it is that makes American Philosophy unique? This lively and compelling book moves through key periods in the development of American thought from the founding fathers to the transcendentalists and pragmatists to contemporary social commentators. Readers are introduced to: Some of the most important thinkers in American history including Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Paine, Charles Sanders Pierce, Thomas Kuhn, Cornel West and many more Developments in five key areas of thought: epistemology, metaphysics, religion and ethics, social philosophy, and political philosophy The contributions of American women, African-Americans and Native Americans. Featuring suggestions for further reading and assuming no prior knowledge of philosophy, this is an ideal first introduction for anyone studying or interested in the history of American thought.