Doing Philosophy

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2005-12-15
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


This text helps students understand the nature and purpose of philosophical inquiry by explaining what philosophical problems are, how they can be solved, and why searching for solutions is important. By acquainting students with philosophical theories and the thought experiments used to test them, the text fosters active learning and helps students become better thinkers.

Table of Contents


CHAPTER 1 The Philosophical Enterprise

Section 1.1 Explaining the Possibility of the Impossible: Philosophical Problems and Theories

Philosophical Problems

The Stakes in Philosophical Inquiry

The Mind-Body Problem
The Problem of Free Will
The Problem of Personal Identity
The Problem of Moral Relativism
The Problem of Evil
The Problem of Skepticism

Necessary and Sufficient Conditions

Socrates and the Socratic Method

Science and the Scientific Method

Logical versus Causal Possibility

Section 1.2 Evidence and Inference: Proving Your Point

Deductive Arguments

Inductive Arguments

Informal Fallacies

Section 1.3 The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments

How Are Thought Experiments Possible?

Criticizing Thought Experiments

Conceivability and Possibility

Scientific Thought Experiments


Bertrand Russell, "The Value of Philosophy"
Brand Blanshard, "The Philosophic Enterprise"
Robert Nozick, "Philosophy as an Art Form"

CHAPTER 2 The Mind-Body Problem

Section 2.1 The Ghost in the Machine: Mind as Soul

Descartes's Doubt

I Think, Therefore I Am

The Conceivability Argument

The Divisibility Argument

The Problem of Interaction

The Causal Closure of the Physical

The Problem of Other Minds

Section 2.2 You Are What You Eat: Mind as Body


Logical Positivism

Logical Behaviorism

The Identity Theory

Section 2.3 I, Robot: Mind as Software

Artificial Intelligence

Functionalism and Feeling

The Turing Test


Section 2.4 There Ain't No Such Things as Ghosts: Mind as Myth

Folk Psychology

Subjective Knowledge

Section 2.5 The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts: Mind as Quality

Primitive Intentionality

Mental Dependence

The Causal Exclusion Problem



Rene Descartes, "Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation II"
Richard Taylor, "Materialism vs. Dualism"
David Chalmers, "The Puzzle of Concious Experience"
Terry Bisson, "They're Made of Meat"

CHAPTER 3 Free Will and Determinism

Section 3.1 The Luck of the Draw: Freedom as Chance

Hard Determinism


Section 3.2 The Mother of Invention: Freedom as Necessity

Traditional Compatibilism

Hierarchical Compatibilism

Section 3.3 Control Yourself: Freedom as Self-Determination

The Case for Freedom



Robert Blatchford, "The Delusion of Free Will"
W. T. Stace, "The Problem of Free Will"
Corliss Lamont, "Freedom of Choice and Human Responsibility"
Thomas D. Davis, "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends"

CHAPTER 4 The Problem of Personal Identity

Section 4.1 We Are Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On: Self as Substance


The Soul Theory

Section 4.2 Golden Memories: Self as Psyche

The Memory Theory

The Reduplication Problem

Section 4.3 You Can't Step into the Same River Twice: Self as Process

The Brain Theory

Split Brains

Closest Continuer Theories

Identity and What Matters in Survival

Identity and What Matters in Responsibility

Explaining the Self


John Locke, "Of Identity and Diversity"
Thomas Reid, "On Mr. Locke's Account of Personal Identity"
Derek Parfit, "Divided Minds and the Nature of Persons"
Ray Kurzweil, "Live Forever"

CHAPTER 5 The Problem of Relativism and Morality

Section 5.1 Don't Question Authority: Might Makes Right

Subjective Absolutism

Subjective Relativism


Cultural Relativism

The Divine Command Theory

Are There Universal Moral Principles?

Section 5.2 The End Justifies the Means: Good Makes Right

Ethical Egoism



Section 5.3 Much Obliged: Duty Makes Right

Kant's Categorical Imperative

Ross's Prima Facie Duties

Rawls's Contractarianism

Nozick's Libertarianism

The Social Contract

The Ethics of Care

Making Ethical Decisions

Section 5.4 Character is Destiny: Virtue Makes Right

The Virtuous Utilitarian

The Virtuous Kantian

The Purpose of Morality

Aristotle on Virtue

MacIntyre on Virtue

Virtue Ethics


W. T. Stace, "Are Ethical Values Relative?"
Jeremy Bentham, "Of the Principle of Utility"
Immanuel Kant, "Good Will, Duty, and the Categorical Imperative"
John Rawls, "The Original Position and Justification"
Alasdair MacIntyre, "The Virtues"
Ursula K. Leguin, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas"

CHAPTER 6 The Problem of Evil and the Existence of God

Section 6.1 The Mysterious Universe: God as Creator

The Traditional Cosmological Argument

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

The Teleological Argument

The Argument from Miracles

The Argument from Religious Experience

The Ontological Argument

Pascal's Wager

Section 6.2 When Bad Things Happen to Good People: God as Troublemaker

The Ontological Defense

The Knowledge Defense

The Free-Will Defense

The Ideal-Humanity Defense

The Soul-Building Defense

The Finite-God Defense


St. Thomas Aquinas, "The Five Ways"
Richard Swinburne, "Natural Theology"
David Hume, "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion"
B.C. Johnson, "God and the Problem of Evil"
Michael Martin, "The Miracle Sleuth"

Section 6.3 Faith and Meaning: Believing the Unbelievable

The Leap of Faith



Religion without God

CHAPTER 7 The Problem of Skepticism and Knowledge

Section 7.1 Things Aren't Always What They Seem: Skepticism about Skepticism

Greek Rationalism

Cartesian Doubt

Cartesian Certainty

Reasonable Doubt

The Empiricist Alternative

The Kantian Synthesis

Section 7.2 Facing Reality: Perception and the External World

Direct Realism

Representative Realism


Section 7.3 What Do You Know? Knowing What Knowledge Is

The Defeasibility Theory

The Causal Theory

The Reliability Theory

The Explanationist Theory


Rene Descartes, "Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditations I and IV"
George Berkeley, "Of the Principles of Human Knowledge"
Edmund L. Gettier, "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?"
Thomas D. Davis, "Why Don't You Just Wake Up!"




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