This text with readings helps students understand the nature and purpose of philosophical inquiry by explaining what philosophical problems are, how they can be solved, and why searching for solutions is important. By acquainting students with philosophical theories and the thought experiments used to test them, the text fosters active learning and helps students become better thinkers.
Section 1.1 Explaining the Possibility of the Impossible: Philosophical Problems and Theories
The Stakes in Philosophical Inquiry
The Mind-Body Problem
The Problem of Free Will
The Problem of Personal Identity
The Problem of Moral Relativism
The Problem of Evil
The Problem of Skepticism
Necessary and Sufficient Conditions
Socrates and the Socratic Method
Science and the Scientific Method
Logical versus Causal Possibility
Section 1.2 Evidence and Inference: Proving Your Point
Section 1.3 The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments
Case Study: Explaining How Moral Abortions Are Possible
How Are Thought Experiments Possible?
Criticizing Thought Experiments
Conceivability and Possibility
Scientific Thought Experiments
Bertrand Russell, "The Value of Philosophy"
Brand Blanshard, "The Philosophic Enterprise"
Robert Nozick, "Philosophy as an Art Form"
Max Schulman, "Love is a Fallacy"
CHAPTER 2 The Mind-Body Problem
Section 2.1 The Ghost in the Machine: Mind as Soul
I Think, Therefore I Am
The Conceivability Argument
The Divisibility Argument
The Problem of Interaction
The Causal Closure of the Physical
The Problem of Other Minds
Section 2.2 You Are What You Eat: Mind as Body
The Identity Theory
Section 2.3 I, Robot: Mind as Software
The Turing Test
Functionalism and Feeling
Section 2.4 There Ain't No Such Things as Ghosts: Mind as Myth
Section 2.5 The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts: Mind as Quality
The Causal Exclusion Problem
Rene Descartes, "Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation II"
Hugh Elliot, "Modern Science and Materialism"
David Chalmers, "The Puzzle of Concious Experience"
Terry Bisson, "They're Made of Meat"
CHAPTER 3 Free Will and Determinism
Section 3.1 The Luck of the Draw: Freedom as Chance
Section 3.2 The Mother of Invention: Freedom as Necessity
Section 3.3 Control Yourself: Freedom as Self-Determination
The Case for Freedom
Robert Blatchford, "The Delusion of Free Will"
W. T. Stace, "The Problem of Free Will"
Corliss Lamont, "Freedom of Choice and Human Responsibility"
Thomas D. Davis, "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends"
CHAPTER 4 The Problem of Personal Identity
Section 4.1 We Are Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On: Self as Substance
The Soul Theory
Section 4.2 Golden Memories: Self as Psyche
The Memory Theory
Psychological Continuity Theory
Section 4.3 You Can't Step into the Same River Twice: Self as Process
The Brain Theory
Closest Continuer Theories
Identity and What Matters in Survival
Identity and What Matters in Responsibility
Explaining the Self
Moral Agents, Narratives, and Persons
John Locke, "Of Identity and Diversity"
Thomas Reid, "On Mr. Locke's Account of Personal Identity"
Derek Parfit, "Divided Minds and the Nature of Persons"
Ray Kurzweil, "Live Forever"
CHAPTER 5 The Problem of Relativism and Morality
Section 5.1 Don't Question Authority: Might Makes Right
Descriptive vs. Normative Ethics
The Divine Command Theory
Are There Universal Moral Principles?
Section 5.2 The End Justifies the Means: Good Makes Right
Section 5.3 Much Obliged: Duty Makes Right
Kant's Categorical Imperative
Ross's Prima Facie Duties
The Social Contract
The Ethics of Care
Making Ethical Decisions
Section 5.4 Character is Destiny: Virtue Makes Right
The Virtuous Utilitarian
The Virtuous Kantian
The Purpose of Morality
Aristotle on Virtue
MacIntyre on Virtue
W. T. Stace, "Are Ethical Values Relative?"
Jeremy Bentham, "Of the Principle of Utility"
Immanuel Kant, "Good Will, Duty, and the Categorical Imperative"
John Rawls, "The Original Position and Justification"
Alasdair MacIntyre, "The Virtues"
Ursula K. Leguin, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas"
CHAPTER 6 The Problem of Evil and the Existence of God
Section 6.1 The Mysterious Universe: God as Creator
The Traditional Cosmological Argument
The Kalam Cosmological Argument
The Teleological Argument
The Argument from Miracles
The Argument from Religious Experience
The Ontological Argument
Section 6.2 When Bad Things Happen to Good People: God as Troublemaker
The Ontological Defense
The Knowledge Defense
The Free-Will Defense
The Ideal-Humanity Defense
The Soul-Building Defense
The Finite-God Defense
Section 6.3 Faith and Meaning: Believing the Unbelievable
The Leap of Faith
The Argument from Non-Belief
Religion without God
St. Thomas Aquinas, "The Five Ways"
Richard Swinburne, "Natural Theology"
David Hume, "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion"
B.C. Johnson, "God and the Problem of Evil"
Michael Martin, "The Miracle Sleuth"
CHAPTER 7 The Problem of Skepticism and Knowledge
Section 7.1 Things Aren't Always What They Seem: Skepticism about Skepticism
The Empiricist Alternative
The Problem of Induction
The Kantian Synthesis
Section 7.2 Facing Reality: Perception and the External World
Solipsism and the Problem of Other Minds
Section 7.3 What Do You Know? Knowing What Knowledge Is
The Defeasibility Theory
The Causal Theory
The Reliability Theory
The Explanationist Theory
Rene Descartes, "Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditations I and IV"
George Berkeley, "Of the Principles of Human Knowledge"
Bertrand Russell, "The Problem of Induction"
Edmund L. Gettier, "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?"
Thomas D. Davis, "Why Don't You Just Wake Up!"