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Offering a balance of theory and applications through a mix of text and readings, Consider Philosophy begins with chapters covering philosophical theory, each of which is followed by related, classical readings.

Featuring selections from the world’s most influential philosophers, this combination of primary texts and explanatory pedagogy presents the material in a clear, accessible way that does not sacrifice rigor. Making connections among different philosophical theories throughout, the text helps students to engage the subject matter and apply theories to important contemporary philosophical issues.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205012053
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 11/16/2010
  • Pages: 504
  • Product dimensions: 7.56 (w) x 9.92 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Bruce N. Waller is Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Youngstown State University. He received his Ph.D. in 1979 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His other works include Consider Ethics: Theory, Readings, and Contemporary Issues, Critical Thinking: Consider the Verdict, You Decide! Current Debates in Criminal Justice, You Decide! Current Debates in Contemporary Moral Problems, You Decide! Current Debates in Introductory Philosophy, You Decide! Current Debates in Ethics, and Coffee and Philosophy: A Conversational Introduction to Philosophy with Readings.
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Thinking Critically and Cordially About Philosophy

Irrelevant Reason Fallacy

Ad Hominem Arguments

Strawman Fallacy

Appeal to Authority



Further Reading

Chapter Two: Philosophical Questions About Religion

Conceptions of God

Arguments for Existence of God

The Cosmological Argument

The Ontological Argument

The Argument from Design

The Intuitive Argument

Pascal’s Wager

The Problem of Evil

Ockham’s Razor

Do Science and Religion Occupy Different Spheres?


From Genesis and Exodus

Spinoza, from A Theologico-Political Treatise

Aristotle, from The Metaphysics

Leibniz, from Theodicy

Stephen Gould, “Non-Overlapping Magisteria”

Richard Dawkins, “You Can’t Have it Both Ways: Irreconcilable Differences?”

Questions for Thought


Further Reading

Chapter Three: What Can We Know?


The Copernican Revolution



Descartes and Reason

Descartes’ Method of Doubt

I Think, Therefore I Exist

The Lasting Influence of Descartes


Descartes, Meditations, 1 and 2

Wittgenstein, from On Certainty

Questions for Thought


Further Reading

Chapter Four: Rationalism, Empiricism, Kant


God said, Let Newton Be


John Locke

David Hume

Immanuel Kant


David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, sections 2 and 12

Immanuel Kant, from Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics

Questions for Thought


Further Reading

Chapter Five: Contemporary Epistemology

Permanence and Change





William James, from Pragmatism

Bertrand Russell, “Transatlantic Truth”

John Dewey, from Reconstruction in Philosophy

Questions for Thought


Further Reading

Chapter Six: What Is the Mind?

Mechanism and the Mind

Descartes and Mind-Body Dualism

Advantages of Mind-Body Dualism

Problems for Mind-Body Dualism and Interactionism

Pre-Established Harmony




Dual-Aspect Theory





Descartes, Meditations, 6

Daniel Dennett, “Where Am I?”

Thomas Nagel, “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?”

Questions for Thought


Additional Reading

Chapter Seven: Personal Identity

Practical Implications of Personal Identity

Physical Identity

Souls and Personal Identity

Memory and Identity

Science Fiction and Personal Identity Problems

Beyond Personal Identity

Strains on Our Ordinary Concept of Personal Identity

Identity and the One

The Narrative Account of Personal Identity


John Locke, from Essay Concerning Human Understanding

David Hume, from A Treatise of Human Nature

Derek Parfit, from Reasons and Persons

Alasdair MacIntyre, from After Virtue

Questions for Thought


Further Reading

Chapter Eight: Fatalism, Determinism, Free Will


Fatalism and Determinism


Resistance to Determinism

Does Determinism Make God the Source of Evil?


Lorenzo de Valla, “Dialogue on Free Will”

Desiderius Erasmus, from A Disquisition upon Free Will

Martin Luther, from Bondage of the Will

David Hume, “Of Liberty and Necessity”

Questions for Reflection

Further Reading

Chapter 9: Is Free Will Compatible With Determinism?

Does Determinism Destroy Creativity?

Does Determinism Destroy Free Will?

Hard Determinism

Soft Determinism (Compatibilism)

Hume’s Compatibilism

Hierarchical Compatibilism

Challenges to Hierarchical Compatibilism

Rationalist Compatibilism


William James, from Pragmatism

Harry G. Frankfurt, “Freedom of Will and the Concept of a Person”

Susan Wolf, “Asymmetrical Freedom”

Questions for Reflection

Further Reading

Chapter 10: Are We Morally Responsible?

Libertarian Free Will

What About Moral Responsibility?

Should We Hold People Morally Responsible?

Strong Feelings and Moral Responsibility


Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, “Oration on the Dignity of Man”

C. A. Campbell, from On Selfhood and Godhood

Thomas Nagel, “Moral Luck”

Daniel Dennett, from Elbow Room

Bruce N. Waller, “Uneven Starts and Just Deserts”

Questions for Reflection

Additional Resources

Chapter 11: Ethics: Reason and Emotion

Kant vs. Hume

Utilitarian Ethics

Criticisms of Utilitarianism


David Hume, from A Treatise of Human Nature

Immanuel Kant, from Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, and The Critique of Practical Reason

Jonathan Bennett, “The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn”

John Stuart Mill, from Utilitarianism

Questions for Reflection

Additional Reading

Chapter 12: Ethical Theories

Divine Command Theory of Ethics



Social Contract Ethics

Care Ethics


James Rachels, “God and Human Attitudes”

George N. Schlesinger, from New Perspectives on Old-Time Religion

Elvin Hatch, “The Good Side of Relativism”

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

Jean Hampton,“Two Faces of Contractarian Thought”

Annette Baier,“What Do Women Want in a Moral Theory?”

Questions for Reflection

Additional Resources

Chapter 13: Are There Objective Ethical Truths?


Virtue Theory

Ethical Nonobjectivism

The Argument from Diversity

The Argument from Queerness

Contemporary Moral Realism


W. D. Ross, from The Right and the Good

Aristotle, from Nicomachean Ethics

J. L. Mackie, from Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong

Michael Smith, “Realism”

Richard Rorty, from Philosophy and Social Hope

Questions for Reflection

Additional Resources

Chapter 14: Political Philosophy

Justification of Government

Social Contract

Liberal and Conservative

Positive and Negative Liberty

Obeying or Disobeying the Law


Jean-Jacques Rousseau, from “The Origin of Inequality”

Henry David Thoreau, from “Resistance to Civil Government”

John Stuart Mill, from On Liberty

Questions for Reflection

Additional Resources

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