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Covering important philosophical issues aimed at today's students, paired articles "talk to each other," thus setting up a clear "pro-con" format. Each pair of readings features an introduction with a list of "Points to Ponder" which focuses students on the issues they’ll encounter as they read. The chapters conclude with “The Continuing Debate,” which includes "What is New” and "Where to Find More," to encourage further study and discussion.
Table of Contents
Debate 1: The Existence of God
There Are Good Reasons to Believe That God Exists, William Lane Craig, Does God Exist? The Craig-Flew Debate (Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate, 2003), pp. 19-24.
There Are No Good Reasons to Believe in the Existence of God, Antony Flew, Does God Exist? The Craig-Flew Debate (Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate, 2003), pp. 24-27.
Debate 2: Is Skepticism a Serious Threat to Our Claims of Knowledge?
Skepticism Poses a Serious Threat to Knowledge, Jonathan Vogel, “Are There Counterexamples to the Closure Principle?” from Michael D. Roth and Glenn Ross, Doubting: Contemporary Perspectives on Skepticism (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990): 13-27.
The Skeptical Threat Can Be Answered, Richard Foley, “Skepticism and Rationality,” from Michael D. Roth and Glenn Ross, Doubting: Contemporary Perspectives on Skepticism (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990): 69-81.
Debate 3: Internalism vs. Externalism: Can We Know Through Internal Examination Whether Our Beliefs Are Justified?
The Justification for our Beliefs Requires Going Outside Our Internal States and Observations: Alvin Goldman, “Internalism Exposed,” The Journal of Philosophy, volume 96, number 6 (June1999): 271-293.
The Justification for Our Beliefs Can Be Exclusively Internal, Earl Conee and Richard Feldman, “Internalism Defended,” American Philosophical Quarterly, Volume 38, Number 1 (January 2001): 1-18.
Debate 4: Is it Possible to Give a Purely Naturalistic Account of Knowledge?
A Purely Naturalistic Account of Knowledge is Impossible, Richard B. Brandom, “Insights and Blindspots of Reliabilism,” The Monist, volume 81, number 3 (1998): 371-392.
Knowledge Can Be Explained as a Natural Phenomenom, Hilary Kornblith, “Knowledge in Humans and Other Animals, Philosophical Perspectives, volume 13 (1999).
Debate 5: Coherence Vs. Foundationalism
The Coherence of Our Beliefs Provides Sufficient Justification, Catherine Z. Elgin, “Non-foundationalist Epistemology: Holism, Coherence, and Tenability,” from Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, edited by Matthias Steup and Ernest Sosa (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005): 156-167.
The Justification of Our Beliefs Requires a Foundation, James van Cleve, “Why Coherence is not Enough: A Defense of Moderate Contextualism,” from Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, edited by Matthias Steup and Ernest Sosa (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005): 168-180.
Debate 6: Can Contextualism Deal With Skepticism?
Contextualism Can Resolve the Paradox of Skepticism, Stewart Cohen, “Contextualism, Skepticism, and the Structure of Reasons,” Philosophical Perspectives, volume 13: Epistemology, 1999; pages 57-69.
Contextualism is Not the Solution to Skepticism, Anthony Brueckner “The Elusive Virtues of Contextualism,” Philosophical Studies, Volume 118; pages 401-405.
Debate 7: Can Pragmatists Offer an Adequate Standard for Truth?
Pragmatists Cannot Offer an Adequate Standard for Truth, Jürgen Habermas, “Richard Rorty’s Pragmatic Turn,” “Richard Rorty’s Pragmatic Turn,” Robert B. Brandom, editor, Rorty and His Critics (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000): 31-55.
Pragmatists Can Offer an Adequate Standard for Truth, Richard Rorty, “Response to Jürgen Habermas,” Robert B. Brandom, editor, Rorty and His Critics (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000): 56-64.
Debate 8: Can Mental Phenomena Be Reduced to the Physical Brain?
Mental Phenomena Are Irreducible to Anything Else, John R. Searle, “Reductionism and the Irreducibility of Consciousness,” from John R. Searle, The Rediscovery of the Mind (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1992).
Mental Phenomena Are Reducible to Physical Brain Activities, Paul M. Churchland, “Betty Crocker’s Theory of Consciousness: A Review of John Searle’s The Rediscovery of the Mind,” London Review of Books (1994).
Debate 9: The Nature of Consciousness
Conscious Experience Poses Special Challenges, David J. Chalmers, “Facing up to the Problem of Consciousness,” Journal of Consciousness Studies, Volume 2 (1995).
Consciousness Will Not Require Special Categories of Explanation, Valerie Gray Hardcastle, “The Why of Consciousness: A Non-Issue for Materialists,” Journal of Consciousness Studies, Volume 3 (1996).
Debate 10: What is the Significance of Personal Identity?
Personal Identity is Not So Important, Derek Parfit, from Reasons and Persons (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984)
Personal Identity is Essential, Christine M. Korsgaard, “Personal Identity and the Unity of Agency: A Kantian Response to Parfit,” Philosophy & Public Affairs, volume 18, no. 2 (Spring 1989): 101-132.
Debate 11: Can Reason Guide Us to Objective Ethical Truths?
Reason Cannot Discover Ethical Truths, Bernard Williams, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1985).
Reason Can Discover Ethical Truths, Thomas Nagel, The Last Word (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).
Debate 12: Is Ethics Based on a Social Contract?
Social Contract Theory Offers the Best Grounds for Ethics, David Gauthier, “Why Contractarianism?” from Peter Vallentyne, Editor, Contractarianism and Rational Choice: Essays on David Gauthier’s Morals By Agreement (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pages 15-30.
Social Contract Theory is an Inadequate Account of Ethics, Jean Hampton, “Two Faces of Contractarian Thought,” from Peter Vallentyne, Editor, Contractarianism and Rational Choice: Essays on David Gauthier’s Morals By Agreement (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pages 31-55.
Debate 13: Do Women Have a Distinctive Ethical Perspective?
Women Have a Distinctive Ethical Perspective, Annette Baier, “What Do Women Want in a Moral Theory?” Noûs, volume 19 (March 1985): 53-63. Reprinted in Annette Baier, Moral Prejudices: Essays on Ethics (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1994).
Gender Does not Ultimately Distinguish Different Moral Perspectives, Marilyn Friedman, “Beyond Caring: The De-Moralization of Gender,” from M. Hanen and K. Nielsen, eds., Science, Morality, and Feminist Theory (Calgary: Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 1987).
Debate 14: Is Partiality Toward Fellow Citizens Morally Justified?
Partiality Toward Fellow Citizens Should be Very Limited, Jeff McMahan, “The Limits of National Partiality,” in The Morality of Nationalism, edited by Robert McKim and Jeff McMahan (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997): 1107-138.
Significant Partiality Toward Fellow Citizens is Justified, Thomas Hurka,“The Justification of National Partiality,” in The Morality of Nationalism, edited by Robert McKim and Jeff McMahan (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997): 139-157.
Debate 15: What is Required for Free Will?
Genuine Free Will Requires NonDeterminism, Robert Kane, “Free Will and Responsibility: Ancient Dispute, New Themes,” The Journal of Ethics, Volume 4, 2000: 315-322.
Free Will is Compatible with Determinism, John Martin Fischer, “Responsibility, History and Manipulation,” The Journal of Ethics, Volume 4, 2000: 385-391.
Debate 16: What Is the Significance of Recent Psychological Researchfor Free Will and Responsibility?
Research in Situationist Psychology Poses a Serious Threat to Traditional Accounts of Freedom and Responsibility, John M. Doris, from Lack of Character: Personality and Moral Behavior (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)
The Situationist Challenge to Freedom and Responsibility is Limited, Dana K. Nelkin, “Freedom, Responsibility and the Challenge of Situationism,” Midwest Studies in Philosophy, volume 29, 2005
Debate 17: Is Moral Responsibility Morally Legitimate?
Moral Responsibility is Morally Legitimate, Daniel C. Dennett, Freedom Evolves (New York: Viking, 2003).
Moral Responsibility is Ultimately Unjustified, Saul Smilansky, “Compatibilism: The Argument from Shallowness,” Philosophical Studies, volume 115, 2003: 257-282.