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This fourth edition, a major revision, now enriches the discussion of each philosophical question by adding fifty-four brief essays--two in each chapter--on great philosophers who held conflicting viewpoints on the issues covered. Additionally, the chapters have been rearranged so that these essays and the philosophers discussed appear in approximate chronological order, from Plato and Protagoras to Wittgenstein and Searle. The text is enhanced by numerous pedagogical features including an introduction to each issue, key terms, chapter summaries, study questions after each essay, chronologies, a glossary, and an appendix on how to write an essay.
A Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/washburn contains online sources and self-test questions for students and numerous instructor resources: introductions to the issues; summaries of the topical essays; summary points, PowerPoint-based slides, and test questions for the historical essays; answers to the critical questions that follow each essay; test questions on the topical essays; suggestions for class discussions; and a list of online resources.
Phil Washburn is Master Teacher in the Liberal Studies Program at New York University. He is the author of The Vocabulary of Critical Thinking (2009) and the editor of The Many Faces of Wisdom (2003).
Table of Contents
"Critical Questions" follow each essay, and an "Understanding the Dilemma" section ends each chapter.
1. History: Socrates and Western philosophy
1. HAPPINESS, OBLIGATIONS, AND VALUES
1.1 Is Morality Relative?
2. Protagoras and the Sophists
Yes: Relativist. "Moral Relativism"
No: Absolutist. "Right for You, Wrong for Me?"
1.2 Can We Understand Happiness?
5. The Hellenistic Age and Skepticism
Yes: Definer. "Happiness"
No: Critic. "The Elusive Dream"
1.3 Is Pleasure the Only Value?
7. Marcus Aurelius and Stoicism
Yes: Hedonist. "Hedonism"
No: Pluralist. "A World of Values"
1.4 Is Society the Source of Values?
Yes: Functionalist. "An Objective Basis for Values"
No: Moral Theist. "The Current Crisis and Its Solution"
1.5 Is Happiness the Standard of Value?
10. Kant and the Age of Reason
11. Mill and Happiness
Yes: Utilitarian. "Utilitarianism"
No: Formalist. "The Principle of Morality"
1.6 Are We Always Selfish?
12. Hume and the Moral Sense
Yes: Psychological Egoist. "No Free Lunch"
No: Psychological Altruist. "Is Love Selfish?"
1.7 Current Controversy: Should Doctors Ever End People's Lives?
No: Protector. "Having Reasons for Moral Decisions"
Yes: Euthanizer. "The Complex Issue of Euthanasia"
2. GOD, IMMORTALITY, AND FAITH
2.1 Is the Soul Immortal?
14. Plato and the Immortal Soul
No: Mortalist. "Immortality"
Yes: Survivor. "For and Against an Afterlife"
2.2 Is Faith An Answer?
Yes: Believer. "Accepting Limits"
No: Questioner. Faith and Its Consequences"
2.3 Is It Logically Necessary that God Exists?
Yes: Logical Theist. "Possible and Impossible"
No: Scientist. "It Ain't Necessarily So"
2.4 Is There Evidence that God Exists?
Yes: Causal Theist. "In the Beginning"
Yes: Design Theist. "Design or Chance?"
No: Atheist. "The Retreat of the Gods"
2.5 Can God Allow Innocent Suffering?
No: Contradictor. "There Is No God"
Yes: Reconciler. "Character and Contentment"
2.6 Current Controversy: Is Buddhism Philosophy?
Yes: Buddhist. "The Philosophy of Buddhism"
No: Specialist. "The Difference Between Religion and Philosophy"
3. KNOWLEDGE, SCIENCE, AND TRUTH
3.1 Is Certainty the Standard of Knowledge?
26. Descartes and Certainty
Yes: Foundationalist. "Certainty"
No: Pragmatist. "The Test of Knowledge"
3.2 Is Experience the Source of All Knowledge
27. Locke and Experience
Yes: Empiricist. "The Source of Knowledge"
No: Rationalist. "The Strange Case of the Mathematician"
3.3 Can We Know About the External World?
No: Internalist. "Knowledge of the External World"
Yes: Predictor. "Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made Of"
3.4 Is It Possible that We Know Nothing At All?
31. Hume and Skepticism
32. Kant's Copernican Revolution
Yes: Skeptic. "Past and Future"
No: Perceiver. "The Limits of Ignorance"
3.5 Does Science Give Us Real Knowledge?
Yes: Positivist. "Science as Knowledge"
No: Romantic. "What Kind of Understanding?"
3.6 Current Controversy: Does Truth Exist?
Yes: Representationalist. "True Belief and False Beliefs"
No: Postmodernist. "Ten Theses on Language"
4. LIBERTY, EQUALITY, JUSTICE
4.1 Is Equality the Highest Social Value?
Yes: Egalitarian. "Society and Property"
No: Elitist. "What Elitists Believe"
4.2 Is Society Based On A Contract?
37. Locke and the Social Contract
Yes: Contractor. "The Social Contract"
No: Organicist. "The Social Organism"
4.3 Is Liberty the Highest Social Value?
40. Mill and Liberty
Yes: Libertarian. "Liberty, the Supreme Social Value"
No: Paternalist. "Empty Phrases"
4.4 Is Capitalism Just?
Yes: Capitalist. "Capitalism, Democracy, and Justice"
No: Socialist. "Capitalist Society"
4.5 Do Individuals Have Absolute Human Rights?
Yes: Rights Defender. "The Foundation of Human Rights"
No: Rights Skeptic. "A Confused Idea"
4.6. Current Controversy: Is Race Essential To Identity?
Yes: Essentialist. "The Meaning of Being Black"
No: Nonessentialist. "Race and Identity"
5. FREE WILL, MIND, AND HUMAN NATURE
5.1 Is the Mind Nothing But the Brain?
45. Descartes and Dualism
Yes: Materialist. "Body and Soul"
No: Dualist. "The Inner Life"
5.2 Are We Free?
No: Hard Determinist. "One World, Not Two"
Yes: Metaphysical Libertarian. Free Will and Common Sense"
5.3 Are Scientific Laws Compatible With Free Will?
49. Hume and Free Will
Yes: Soft Determinist. "Verbal Disputes, Facts, and Free Will"
No: Incompatibilist. Caused Actions Are Not Free"
5.4 Are We Responsible For Our Actions?
No: Excuser. "Rejecting Responsibility"
Yes: Judge. "No Excuse"
5.5 Can Computers Think?
Yes: Mechanist. "Can Computers Think?"
No: Mentalist. "People vs. Machines"
5.6 Current Controversy: Are the Differences Between Men and Women Philosophically Significant?
No: Unifier. "Men, Women, and People"
Yes: Complementer. "Who's Afraid of Difference?"
Appendix: How to Write an Essay
Glossary of Contrasting Positions