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Fundamentals of Philosophy

  • Published by: PEARSON EDUCATION


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Student Text

Diverse classic and contemporary selections in this accessible reader/text are presented in a narrative format that simplifies difficult issues and readings.

-Readings are grouped around major philosophic themes— logic, ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of religion, philosophy of art, and social and political philosophy.

-The text includes biographies and pictures of all major philosophers plus questions for discussion in each chapter

Features and Benefits

· 50-50 mix of readings and text

Each chapter contains a selection from a major philosopher with ample explanatory text, exposing students to the philosophers themselves, but helping them understand these often difficult texts

· Chapter on the history of philosophy.

Gives students an introduction to the history of ideas.

· Article dealing with critical thinking.

Provides students with a discussion of techniques essential to understanding even elementary philosophical concepts.

· An appealing mix of classic and contemporary works

Includes many selections and authors rarely found in first-course volumes.

Introduces students to all major areas of philosophy and a full range of philosophical questions.

· Accessible writing style and narrative introductions to all readings.

Promotes a better understanding of the issues, concerns, and questions for each particular area of philosophy explored.

· A logical approach

Organizes readings within each section as a debate on one central issue or problem.

Helps students appreciate the argumentative style of philosophy.

· A section on logical and analytical techniques (Often omitted in first-year courses.)

Presents students with discussions/readings on necessary and sufficient conditions, inductive arguments, causal reasoning, definition, analysis, and the difference between truth and validity.

· An entire section on Eastern thought

Focuses on philosophical, rather than religious, issues in Eastern thought (Hindu, Confucian, and Buddhist).

Explains the need to view Oriental philosophies as not merely Eastern versions of Western ideas, and thus helps break down a prejudice that all important thought is Western.

· Section on "Recent Developments" in each of the nine Parts (Epistemology, Ethics, Metaphysics, etc.)

Helps students understand that philosophy, while ancient, is also contemporary and engaged in issues of importance today

- Biographies and pictures of all major philosophers.

Stimulates interest in the issues by situating each philosopher's position within the context of her/his life.

Table of Contents:


1. The Activity of Philosophy.

2. Philosophy and Popular Culture

READING: Stewart, Philosophical Themes in Popular Culture.

3. Philosophy's History.

4. Philosophy and the Examined Life.

READING: Socrates, In Defense of Philosophy.

Recent Developments in Philosophy.


5. The Life of Reason.

6. Argument Forms.

7. Induction and the Philosophy of Science.

8. Strategies for Philosophical Argument.

READING: Thomas A. Shipka, Are You a Critical Thinker?

Recent Developments in Logic.


9. Introduction to Metaphysics.

10. Appearance and Reality

READING: Plato, The Republic

11. Materialism

READING: Epicurus, First Principle of Materialism.

12. Idealism.

READING: George Berkeley, Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous.

13. The Mind-Body Problem and Personal Identity

READING: Alfred C. Lent, Surviving in a Different Body

14. Freedom and Determinism: The Metaphysics of Human Agency

READING: Peter van Inwagen, The Moral Argument for Freedom

Recent Developments in Metaphysics.


15. Introduction to Epistemology.

16. The Quest for Certainty.

READING: René Descartes, Meditations

17. Trust Your Senses.

READING: David Hume, Skeptical Doubts Concerning the Operations of the Understanding.

18. A Compromise.

READING: Immanuel Kant, Two Sources of Knowledge.

19. Knowledge and Human Practices: The Pragmatist Tradition

READINGS: William James: What Pragmatism Means -- Nathaniel Goldberg: Where Does Knowledge Come From? Quine, Davidson, and Traditional Epistemology

Recent Developments in Epistemology


20. Introduction to Ethical Reasoning.

21. The Morality of Self-Realization.

READING: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics.

22. Morality Depends on the Consequences.

READING: John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism.

23. Morality Depends on Motives.

READING: Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals.

Recent Developments in Ethics.


24. Introduction to Philosophy and Religion.

25. Religion and Life's Meaning.

READING: Leo Tolstoy, A Confession.

26. Arguments for God's Existence: A Priori Arguments for God’s Existence.

READING: St. Anselm, Proslogion.

27. Arguments for God's Existence: A Posteriori Arguments for God’s Existence.

READINGS: St. Thomas Aquinas, The Five Ways. William Paley, Natural Theology.

28. The Problem of Evil.

READING: James Petrik, Inscrutable Evil and an Infinite God.

Recent Developments in Philosophy of Religion.


29. Introduction to Philosophy of Art.

30. The Value of Art.

READING: H. Gene Blocker, The Esthetic Attitude.

31. Art as Ideal.

READING: Kenneth Clark, The Naked and the Nude.

32. Esthetics and Ideology.

READING: Jennifer Jeffers, The Politics of Representation: The Role of the Gaze in Pornography.

Recent Developments in Esthetics.


33. Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy.

34. The Liberal, Secular State.

READING: John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration.

35. The Individual and the State.

READING: John Stuart Mill, On Liberty.

36. Human Rights

READING: H. Gene Blocker, Human Rights

37. Individual Happiness and Social Responsibility.

READING: M. Andrew Holowchak, Happiness and Justice in “Liberal” Society: Autonomy as Political Integration.

Recent Developments in Social and Political Philosophy.


38. Philosophy East and West.

39. Confucian Theories of Human Nature.

READINGS: Mencius, The Book of Mencius; Xun Zi, The Nature of Man is Evil; Dong Zhongshu, Man's Nature is Neither Good Nor Evil.

40. Hindu Theories of Monism and Pluralism.

READING: Shankara, Ramanuja, and Madhva commentary on The Vedanta Sutras.

41. Buddhist Theory of Emptiness.

READING: Nagarjuna, Seventy Verses on Emptiness