Consider Philosophy

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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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

It is not overloaded and excessive, nor is it superficial and "dumbed down." It contains important primary readings, helpful "questions for thought," and a useful glossary at the end of each chapter.

—Professor Robert Gall, West Liberty State College

Wide-ranging, engaging, clear, comprehensible, geared toward students learning how to think philosophically rather than just understand or recite philosophical arguments.

—Professor Julinna Oxley, Coastal Carolina University

Its got broad topical and historical coverage and it's organized well for semester teaching.

—Professor Sean Stidd, Wayne State University

“The strength of the book is its straightforward writing style that doesn’t complicate things too much for intro students, and the questions for reflection that are at the end of the chapters. These are the kinds of questions my students could write an essay on instead of writing a paper.”

— Julinna Oxley, Coastal Carolina University

“The text seems to strike the right balance in terms of the amount of material covered. It is not overloaded and excessive, nor is it superficial and "dumbed down." It contains important primary readings, helpful "questions for thought," and a useful glossary at the end of each chapter.”

— Robert Gall, West Liberty State College

“The questions at the end of each chapter are great. They are not just questions of what was stated in the chapter, but are straightforward, compelling questions or thought experiments that students at any level could understand and attempt to answer. I also like the quotes in the boxes, which were from a wide variety of sources, including history and culture. These are useful and interesting without distracting from the main line of argument or questions being raised. The writing is also clear and straightforward, without too much complexity.”

— Julinna Oxley, Coastal Carolina University

“The writing style is very clear and straightforward. This is great. The level is appropriate for students and is not so long-winded. (I think they would not complain about Waller’s writing.) Also, the examples used to introduce the topics at the beginning of each chapter are great. He also guides the reader through how to think of the issues, and doesn’t just try to explain things. Focus on determinism. Now that helps the student focus on the topic at hand which may be hard for them to do.”

— Julinna Oxley, Coastal Carolina University

“I very much like the author’s writing style and his introduction to key issues in philosophy. He makes complicated issues interesting and accessible and he locates them within a broader social perspective that includes historical facts, religious pressures, and political conditions. This would be a very welcome addition to my teaching introduction to philosophy.”

— Jennifer Lackey, Northwestern University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205644223
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 10/15/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 504
  • Sales rank: 482,147
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.80 (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

What is Philosophy?

Thinking Critically and Playing Fair

Deductive and Inductive Arguments

Thinking Critically and Cooperatively

Irrelevant Reason Fallacy

Ad Hominem Arguments

Strawman Fallacy

Appeal to Authority


Plato, Apology

Bertrand Russell, The Value of Philosophy


Additional Reading

Chapter Two: Philosophical Questions About Religion

Conceptions of God

Arguments for the 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

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica (The Five Ways)

Leibniz, from Theodicy

Stephen Gould, “Non-Overlapping Magisteria”

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


Additional Reading

Chapter Three: What Can We Know?




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


Additional 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


Additional Reading

Chapter Five: Contemporary Epistemology

Permanence and Change





William James, from Pragmatism

Bertrand Russell, “Transatlantic Truth”

John Dewey, from Reconstruction in Philosophy


Additional 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


Preestablished Harmony




Dual-Aspect Theory





Descartes, Meditations, 6

Daniel Dennett, “Where Am I?”

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


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

Narrative Truth

Our Modular Brain

Narrative Accountability


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


Additional Reading

Chapter Eight: Fatalism, Determinism, Free Will


Fatalism and Determinism


Reactions to Determinism


Lorenzo de Valla, “Dialogue on Free Will

Martin Luther, from Bondage of the Will

David Hume, Enquiry Concerning the Human Understanding


Additional 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”


Additional Reading

Chapter 10: Are We Morally Responsible?

Libertarian Free Will

What About Moral Responsibility?

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”


Additional Reading

Chapter 11: Ethics: Reason and Emotion

Kantian Rationalist Ethics

Utilitarian Ethics

Criticisms of Utilitarianism


David Hume, from A Treatise of Human Nature

Immanuel Kant, from Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals

Jonathan Bennett, “The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn”

John Stuart Mill, from Utilitarianism


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?”


Additional Reading

Chapter 13: Are There Objective Ethical Truths?


Virtue Ethics

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


Additional Reading

Chapter 14: Political Philosophy

Justification of Government

The Social Contract

Obeying or Disobeying the Law

Liberal and Conservative

Positive and Negative Liberty


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

Henry David Thoreau, from “Resistance to Civil Government”

John Stuart Mill, from On Liberty

Eric Mack, "Liberty and Justice"

Hugh LaFollette, "Why Libertarianism Is Mistaken"


Additional Reading

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