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Problems from Philosophy is an introduction to philosophy which is organized around the great philosophical problemsthe existence of God, the nature of the mind, human freedom, the limits of knowledge, and the truth about ethics. It begins by reflecting on the life of the first great philosopher, Socrates. Then it takes up the fundamental question of whether God exists. Next comes a discussion of death and the soul, which leads to a chapter about persons. The later chapters of the book are about whether objective knowledge is possible in science and ethics. Each chapter is self-contained and may be read independently of the others. Problems from Philosophyrepresents the final work of author and philosopher James Rachels. In it, he brings the same liveliness and clarity to the introduction of philosophy that he brings to his best-selling ethics text, The Elements of Moral Philosophy. The second and third edition have been revised by Rachels' son Stuart, who carefully has carefully refined his father's work to further strengthen its clarity and accessibility.
Table of Contents
About the Third Edition
1. THE LEGACY OF SOCRATES
1.1 Why Was Socrates Condemned?
1.2 Why Did Socrates Believe He Had to Die?
2. GOD AND THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE
2.1 Is It Reasonable to Believe in God?
2.2 The Argument from Design
2.3 Evolution and Intelligent Design
2.4 The First Cause Argument
2.5 The Idea That God Is a Necessary Being
3. THE PROBLEM OF EVIL
3.1 Why Do Good People Suffer?
3.2 God and Evil
3.3 Free Will and Moral Character
4. DO WE SURVIVE DEATH?
4.1 The Idea of an Immortal Soul
4.2 Is There Any Credible Evidence of an Afterlife?
4.3 Hume’s Argument against Miracles
5. THE PROBLEM OF PERSONAL IDENTITY
5.1 The Problem
5.2 Personhood at a Time
5.3 Personhood over Time
5.4 Bodily Continuity
6. BODY AND MIND
6.1 Descartes and Elizabeth
6.2 Materialist Theories of the Mind
6.3 Doubts about Materialist Theories
7. COULD A MACHINE THINK?
7.1 Brains and Computers
7.2 An Argument That Machines Could Think
7.3 The Turing Test
7.4 Why the Turing Test Fails
8. THE CASE AGAINST FREE WILL
8.1 Are People Responsible for What They Do?
8.4 Genes and Behavior
9. THE DEBATE OVER FREE WILL
9.1 The Determinist Argument
9.2 The Libertarian Response
9.3 The Compatibilist Response
9.4 Ethics and Free Will
10. OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD AROUND US
10.1 Vats and Demons
10.3 What Evidence for These Views Might Be Like
10.4 Descartes’ Theological Response
10.5 Direct vs. Indirect Realism
10.6 Vision and the Brain
11. ETHICS AND OBJECTIVITY
11.1 Thrasymachus’s Challenge
11.2 Is Ethics Just a Matter of Social Conventions?
11.3 Ethics and Science
11.4 The Importance of Human Interests
12. WHY SHOULD WE BE MORAL?
12.1 The Ring of Gyges
12.2 Ethics and Religion
12.3 The Social Contract
12.4 Morality and Benevolence
13. THE MEANING OF LIFE
13.1 The Problem of the Point of View
13.4 Religion and the Indifferent Universe
13.5 The Meaning of Particular Lives Appendix: How to Evaluate Arguments Notes on Sources Index