Great Philosophical Arguments: An Introduction to Philosophy

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 67%)
Est. Return Date: 07/27/2015
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 34%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $37.50
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 59%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (30) from $37.50   
  • New (6) from $52.99   
  • Used (24) from $37.50   


A great deal of the satisfaction of studying philosophy lies in exploring its landmark arguments. Working from this premise, Great Philosophical Arguments: An Introduction to Philosophy focuses on the debates that define and drive the field. Editor Lewis Vaughn presents seventy-eight readings--both classic selections and contemporary works--that are topically organized into six chapters: the existence of God, knowledge and skepticism, mind and body, free will and determinism, ethics, and contemporary ethical debates. The readings are grouped by argument into pro/con dialogues within each chapter. Each of the thirty-four arguments is introduced with a brief outline, which is followed by two to four essays presenting the classic statement of the argument, critiques and defenses of it, and discussions of related debates.


* A substantial introductory chapter and extensive chapter introductions
* Essay questions at the end of each argument section and chapter
* Pedagogical features including boldfaced key terms, biographical text boxes, suggestions for further reading, and a glossary
* An appendix on how to read and write argumentative essays
* An Instructor's Manual and Test Bank on CD featuring chapter summaries, reading summaries, PowerPoint-based lecture outlines, and test questions
* A Companion Website at containing study questions, interactive quizzes, flashcards, and helpful links

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"I very much like the general theme of this book. Organizing things around a set of philosophical arguments is a good approach, since the skills of identifying, stating, and critiquing arguments happen to be exactly the skills that ought to be a primary focus of any introductory course."--Dennis Earl, Coastal Carolina University

"This is an excellent Introduction to Philosophy text. I think that the 'argument' approach as presented in this book is very effective. The approach of first introducing the issue and the arguments, then offering a 'pro/con' set of readings, followed by questions, will encourage students to analyze the readings and to distinguish the respective arguments."--Kevin W. Sweeney, University of Tampa

"The author's style is a real strength of this book. Clear and engaging, and with a real knack for explaining clearly and quickly where the essence of a problem and the crux of an argument are."--Jozef Müller, University of Florida

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195342604
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/11/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 688
  • Sales rank: 168,467
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Lewis Vaughn is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including Philosophy: The Quest for Truth, Eighth Edition (2011), Classics of Philosophy, Third Edition (2010), Contemporary Moral Arguments (2010), The Power of Critical Thinking, Third Edition (2009), Bioethics (2008), and Writing Philosophy (2005), all published by Oxford University Press.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Back to Basics
The Consolations of Philosophy
Box: Socrates
Philosophy and Arguments
Key Terms
Plato: Socrates' Examined Life
Bertrand Russell: The Value of Philosophy
Chapter 1. Essay Questions
Key Terms
1. The Cosmological Argument
Box: Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologica
J.L. Mackie: Critique of Cosmological Arguments
William Lane Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument
Avicenna: On the Nature of God
Argument 1. Essay Questions
2. The Design Argument from Analogy
William Paley: The Watch and the Watchmaker
David Hume: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
Argument 2. Essay Questions
3. The Design Argument from the Best Explanation
Richard Swinburne: The Best Explanation of Apparent Design
Lewis Vaughn: The Failure of Supernatural Hypotheses
Michael J. Behe: Intelligent Design
Philip Kitcher: Living with Darwin
Argument 3, Essay Questions
4. The Ontological Argument
St. Anselm: Anselm's Proof
Immanuel Kant: Of the Impossibility of an Ontological Proof
William L. Rowe: The Problem with the Ontological Argument
René Descartes: On the Ontological Argument
Argument 4. Essay Questions
5. The Argument from Miracles
J. L. Mackie: Miracles and Testimony
David Hume: Of Miracles
Richard Swinburne: Miracles
Argument 5. Essay Questions
6. The Argument from Evil
William L. Rowe: The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism
H. J. McCloskey: God and Evil
Alvin Plantinga: The Free Will Defense
John Hick: The Soul-Making Defense
Argument 6. Essay Questions
Chapter 2. Essay Questions
Suggestions for Further Reading
Key Terms
7. Descartes' Dream and Evil Genius Arguments
René Descartes: Meditations on First Philosophy (Meditation I)
Christopher Grau: Bad Dreams, Evil Demons, and the Experience Machine: Philosophy and The Matrix
Argument 7. Essay Questions
8. Descartes' Argument against Skepticism
René Descartes: Meditations on First Philosophy (Meditation IV)
David Hume: Of Skepticism with Regard to the Senses
Robert Audi: Against Skepticism
Argument 8. Essay Questions
9. Berkeley's Argument against the Existence of Material Objects
George Berkeley: Principles of Human Knowledge
John Locke: An Essay concerning Human Understanding
Bertrand Russell: Berkeley's Idealism
Argument 9. Essay Questions
10. Hume's Argument against Induction
Box: David Hume
David Hume: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
Wesley C. Salmon: The Problem of Induction
Argument 10. Essay Questions
Chapter 3. Essay Questions
Suggestions for Further Reading
Box: René Descartes
Key Terms
11. Descartes' Conceivability Argument for Dualism
René Descartes: Discourse on Method
Paul M. Churchland: Dualism
Buddhist Writings: There Is No Ego
Argument 11. Essay Questions
12. Nagel's Bat Argument against Mind-Body Identity
Thomas Nagel: What Is It Like to Be a Bat?
J. J. C. Smart: Sensations and Brain Processes
Argument 12. Essay Questions
13. Chalmers' Zombie Argument against Materialism
David Chalmers: The Logical Possibility of Zombies
Daniel Dennett: "Epiphenomenal" Qualia?
Argument 13. Essay Questions
14. Block's Chinese Brain Argument against Functionalism
Ned Block: Troubles with Functionalism
Jerry A. Fodor: The Mind-Body Problem
Argument 14. Essay Questions
15. Searle's Chinese Room Argument against Strong AI
John R. Searle: Is the Brain's Mind a Computer Program?
William G. Lycan: Machine Consciousness
Argument 15. Essay Questions
Chapter 4. Essay Questions
Suggestions for Further Reading
Key Terms
16. Argument for Hard Determinism
Baron d'Holbach: Of the System of Man's Free Agency
Richard Taylor: Freedom and Determinism
Jean-Paul Sartre: Absolute Freedom
Argument 16. Essay Questions
17. Indeterminist Argument for Free Will
Box: William James
William James: The Dilemma of Determinism
Robert Kane: Free Will and Modern Science
Argument 17. Essay Questions
18. Argument against Compatibilism
W. T. Stace: The Problem of Free Will
William L. Rowe: Two Concepts of Freedom
Harry G. Frankfurt: Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person
Peter van Inwagen: The Incompatibility of Free Will and Determinism
Argument 18. Essay Questions
19. Argument against Libertarianism
Randolph Clarke: Toward a Credible Agent-Causal Account of Free Will
Galen Strawson: Libertarianism, Action, and Self-Determinism
Timothy O'Connor: Agent Causation
Argument 19. Essay Questions
Chapter 5. Essay Questions
Suggestions for Further Reading
Key Terms
20. Argument for Cultural Relativism
Ruth Benedict: The Case for Moral Relativism
Russ Shafer-Landau: Ethical Relativism
Argument 20. Essay Questions
21. Argument against Ethical Egoism
Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan
Louis P. Pojman: A Critique of Ethical Egoism
Joel Feinberg: Psychological Egoism
Argument 21. Essay Questions
22. Argument against the Divine Command Theory
Plato: Euthyphro
Russ Shafer-Landau: The Divine Command Theory
Argument 22. Essay Questions
23. Argument against Utilitarianism
Box: John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism
E. F. Carritt: Criticisms of Utilitarianism
Argument 23. Essay Questions
24. Argument against Kantian Ethics
Immanuel Kant: Foundations of the Metaphysic of Morals
William K. Frankena: Kant's Theory
Virginia Held: The Ethics of Care
Argument 24. Essay Questions
Chapter 6. Essay Questions
Suggestions for Further Reading
Key Terms
25. John T. Noonan, Jr.: An Almost Absolute Value in History
26. Don Marquis: Why Abortion Is Immoral
27. Mary Anne Warren: On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion
28. Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion
Abortion Essay Questions
Suggestions for Further Reading
29. Leon R. Kass: Why Doctors Must Not Kill
30. Daniel Callahan: When Self-Determination Runs Amok
31. Dan W. Brock: Voluntary Active Euthanasia
32. James Rachels: Active and Passive Euthanasia
Euthanasia Essay Questions
Suggestions for Further Reading
Key Terms
33. Hardin's Argument against Aiding the Poor
Garrett Hardin: Living on a Lifeboat
William W. Murdoch and Allan Oaten: A Critique of Lifeboat Ethics
34. Singer's Argument for Aiding the Poor
Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence, and Morality
Louis P. Pojman: World Hunger and Population
Global Hunger Essay Questions
Suggestions for Further Reading
Appendix: How to Read and Write Argumentative Essays

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)