Philosophical Dilemmas A Pro and Con Introduction to the Major Questions

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-12-26
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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For Students with Little or no Background in the subject, the pursuit of philosophical knowledge can be a difficult and confusing enterprise. In order to formulate their own personal worldviews, students need to know how and where to begin, what choices they have, and why anyone would adopt one basic belief over another.

Author Biography

Phil Washburn is Master Teacher in the General Studies Program at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at New York University.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Third Editionp. xvi
Prefacep. xvii
Historical Parallelsp. xx
Introductionp. 1
God, Immortality, and Faithp. 15
Does God Exist?p. 16
Yes: Causal Theist. "In the Beginning"p. 16
Critical Questionsp. 18
Yes: Design Theist. "Design or Chance?"p. 19
Critical Questionsp. 22
No: Atheist. "The Retreat of the Gods"p. 22
Critical Questionsp. 25
Methods and Techniques: Argumentsp. 25
Understanding the Dilemmap. 26
Is God Like Human Beings?p. 29
No: Abstractionist. "God Is Love"p. 30
Critical Questionsp. 34
Yes: Personalist. "The Projection Theory"p. 34
Critical Questionsp. 37
Methods and Techniques: Meanings of Wordsp. 38
Understanding the Dilemmap. 39
Can God Allow Innocent Suffering?p. 41
No: Contradictor. "There Is No God"p. 42
Critical Questionsp. 45
Yes: Reconciler. "Character and Contentment"p. 45
Critical Questionsp. 48
Methods and Techniques: Consistent Beliefsp. 48
Understanding the Dilemmap. 49
Is the Soul Immortal?p. 52
No: Mortalist. "Immortality"p. 53
Critical Questionsp. 55
Yes: Survivor. "For and Against an Afterlife"p. 55
Critical Questionsp. 58
Methods and Techniques: Facts and Conceptsp. 58
Understanding the Dilemmap. 60
Is Faith an Answer?p. 62
Yes: Believer. "Accepting Limits"p. 63
Critical Questionsp. 67
No: Questioner. "Faith and Its Consequences"p. 67
Critical Questionsp. 70
Methods and Techniques: Consequencesp. 71
Understanding the Dilemmap. 73
Is Believing in God Necessary for a Meaningful Life?p. 75
Yes: Meaning Theist. "The Meaning of Life Is the Submission to God"p. 76
Critical Questionsp. 80
No: Existentialist. "The Myth of Ultimate Meaning"p. 81
Critical Questionsp. 85
Methods and Techniques: Objectivityp. 85
Understanding the Dilemmap. 88
Current Controversy
Is Buddhism Philosophy?p. 92
Yes: Buddhist. "The Philosophy of Buddhism"p. 93
Critical Questionsp. 97
No: Specialist. "The Difference Between Religion and Philosophy"p. 97
Critical Questionsp. 101
Methods and Techniques: Definitionsp. 101
Understanding the Dilemmap. 103
Connections: Transcendentalist or Naturalist?p. 107
Liberty, Equality, and Justicep. 113
Is Society Based on a Contract?p. 114
Yes: Contractor. "The Social Contract"p. 115
Critical Questionsp. 117
No: Organicist. "The Social Organism"p. 117
Critical Questionsp. 121
Methods and Techniques: Modelsp. 121
Understanding the Dilemmap. 124
Is Liberty the Highest Social Value?p. 127
Yes: Libertarian. "Liberty, the Supreme Social Value"p. 128
Critical Questionsp. 132
No: Paternalist. "Empty Phrases"p. 133
Critical Questionsp. 136
Methods and Techniques: Goalsp. 136
Understanding the Dilemmap. 137
Is Equality the Highest Social Value?p. 141
Yes: Egalitarian. "Society and Property"p. 141
Critical Questionsp. 145
No: Elitist. "What Elitists Believe"p. 145
Critical Questionsp. 149
Methods and Techniques: Means and Endsp. 149
Understanding the Dilemmap. 150
Is Capitalism Just?p. 153
Yes: Capitalist. "Capitalism, Democracy, and Justice"p. 154
Critical Questionsp. 158
No: Socialist. "Capitalist Society"p. 158
Critical Questionsp. 162
Methods and Techniques: Thinking and Emotionp. 163
Understanding the Dilemmap. 164
Should we Establish a World Government?p. 168
Yes: Internationalist. "Choosing a Peaceful Future"p. 169
Critical Questionsp. 173
No: Localist. "The Politics of World Government"p. 173
Critical Questionsp. 177
Methods and Techniques: Comparingp. 177
Understanding the Dilemmap. 179
Current Controversy
Is Race Essential to Identity?p. 182
Yes: Essentialist. "The Meaning of Being Black"p. 183
Critical Questionsp. 187
No: Nonessentialist. "Race and Identity"p. 187
Critical Questionsp. 192
Methods and Techniques: Identityp. 193
Understanding the Dilemmap. 194
Connections: Individualist or Relationist?p. 198
Happiness, Obligations, and Valuesp. 205
Is Pleasure the Only Value?p. 206
Yes: Hedonist. "Hedonism"p. 207
Critical Questionsp. 209
No: Pluralist. "A World of Values"p. 210
Critical Questionsp. 215
Methods and Techniques: Facts and Valuesp. 215
Understanding the Dilemmap. 217
Can We Understand Happiness?p. 221
Yes: Definer. "Happiness"p. 222
Critical Questionsp. 224
No: Skeptic. "The Elusive Dream"p. 225
Critical Questionsp. 227
Methods and Techniques: Essential Propertiesp. 227
Understanding the Dilemmap. 229
Is Morality Relative?p. 231
Yes: Relativist. "Moral Relativism"p. 232
Critical Questionsp. 236
No: Absolutist. "Right for You, Wrong for Me?"p. 236
Critical Questionsp. 240
Methods and Techniques: Ad Hominemp. 240
Understanding the Dilemmap. 242
Is Happiness the Standard of Morality?p. 244
Yes: Utilitarian. "Utilitarianism"p. 245
Critical Questionsp. 250
No: Formalist. "The Principle of Morality"p. 251
Critical Questionsp. 255
Methods and Techniques: Moral Theoriesp. 256
Understanding the Dilemmap. 257
Is Society the Source of Values?p. 260
Yes: Functionalist. "An Objective Basis for Morality"p. 261
Critical Questionsp. 263
No: Moral Theist. "The Current Crisis and Its Solution"p. 263
Critical Questionsp. 266
Methods and Techniques: Necessary Conditionsp. 266
Understanding the Dilemmap. 267
Current Controversy
Should Doctors Ever End People's Lives?p. 270
No: Protector. "Having Reasons for Moral Decisions"p. 271
Critical Questionsp. 276
Yes: Euthanizer. "The Complex Issue of Euthanasia"p. 276
Critical Questionsp. 280
Methods and Techniques: Justificationp. 281
Understanding the Dilemmap. 283
Connections: Humanist or Objectivist?p. 287
Free Will, Mind, and Human Naturep. 293
Are We Free?p. 294
No: Hard Determinist. "One World, Not Two"p. 294
Critical Questionsp. 297
Yes: Metaphysical Libertarian. "Free Will and Common Sense"p. 297
Critical Questionsp. 299
Yes: Soft Determinist. "Verbal Disputes, Facts, and Free Will"p. 300
Critical Questionsp. 303
Methods and Techniques: Introspectionp. 303
Understanding the Dilemmap. 305
Are We Responsible for Our Actions?p. 308
No: Excuser. "Rejecting Responsibility"p. 309
Critical Questionsp. 311
Yes: Judge. "No Excuse"p. 312
Critical Questionsp. 315
Methods and Techniques: Infinite Regressp. 315
Understanding the Dilemmap. 317
Is the Mind Nothing But the Brain?p. 320
Yes: Materialist. "Body and Soul"p. 321
Critical Questionsp. 323
No: Dualist. "The Inner Life"p. 324
Critical Questionsp. 326
Methods and Techniques: Possible and Impossiblep. 327
Understanding the Dilemmap. 328
Can Computers Think?p. 331
Yes: Mechanist. "Can Computers Think?"p. 332
Critical Questionsp. 335
No: Mentalist. "People vs. Machines"p. 336
Critical Questionsp. 339
Methods and Techniques: Analogiesp. 339
Understanding the Dilemmap. 340
Are We Always Selfish?p. 343
Yes: Psychological Egoist. "No Free Lunch"p. 344
Critical Questionsp. 346
No: Psychological Altruist. "Is Love Selfish?"p. 347
Critical Questionsp. 349
Methods and Techniques: Generalizationsp. 349
Understanding the Dilemmap. 351
Does Personal Identity Depend on Memory?p. 354
Yes: Lockean. "The Binding Thread of Memory"p. 355
Critical Questionsp. 359
No: Sartrean. "The Essential Self"p. 359
Critical Questionsp. 364
Methods and Techniques: False Dilemmap. 365
Understanding the Dilemmap. 368
Current Controversy
Are the Differences Between Men and Women Philosophically Significant?p. 372
No: Unifier. "Men, Women, and People"p. 373
Critical Questionsp. 377
Yes: Complementer. "Who's Afraid of Difference?"p. 377
Critical Questionsp. 382
Methods and Techniques: Classificationp. 383
Understanding the Dilemmap. 385
Connections: Reductionist or Spiritualist?p. 389
Knowledge, Science, and Truthp. 397
Can We Know About the External World?p. 398
No: Internalist. "Knowledge of the External World"p. 399
Critical Questionsp. 401
Yes: Perceiver. "The Limits of Ignorance"p. 402
Critical Questionsp. 405
Methods and Techniques: Philosophy and Imaginationp. 405
Understanding the Dilemmap. 406
Does Science Give Us Real Knowledge?p. 409
Yes: Positivist. "Science as Knowledge"p. 410
Critical Questionsp. 413
No: Romantic. "What Kind of Understanding?"p. 414
Critical Questionsp. 416
Methods and Techniques: Making Assumptionsp. 416
Understanding the Dilemmap. 418
Is Experience the Source of All Knowledge?p. 421
Yes: Empiricist. "The Source of Knowledge"p. 422
Critical Questionsp. 425
No: Rationalist. "The Strange Case of the Mathematician"p. 426
Critical Questionsp. 429
Methods and Techniques: Analysisp. 430
Understanding the Dilemmap. 431
Is Certainty the Standard of Knowledge?p. 434
Yes: Foundationalist. "Certainty"p. 435
Critical Questionsp. 440
No: Pragmatist. "The Test of Knowledge"p. 440
Critical Questionsp. 444
Methods and Techniques: Observationp. 444
Understanding the Dilemmap. 446
Current Controversy
Does Truth Exist?p. 449
Yes: Representationalist. "True Beliefs and False Beliefs"p. 451
Critical Questionsp. 454
No: Postmodernist. "Ten Theses on Language"p. 454
Critical Questionsp. 458
Methods and Techniques: Proving a Negativep. 458
Understanding the Dilemmap. 459
Connections: Intuitionist or Externalist?p. 463
How to Write an Essayp. 469
Glossary of Contrasting Positionsp. 485
Indexp. 491
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