Problems from Philosophy

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-03-21
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
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"This [text] is an introduction to some of the main problems of philosophythe existence of God, the nature of the mind, human freedom, the limits of knowledge, and the truth about ethics. The chapters may be read independently of one another, but when read in order, they tell a more or less continuous story. We begin with some reflections on the life of Socrates and then go on to the existence of God, which is the most basic philosophical question, because our answer to it affects everything else. This leads naturally to a discussion of death and the soul, and then to more modern ideas about the nature of persons. The later chapters are about whether we can have objective knowledge in either science or ethics." -from the PrefaceProblems 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. This second edition has 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

Preface Chapter 1: The Legacy of Socrates 1.1. Why Was Socrates Condemned? 1.2. Why Did Socrates Believe He Had to Die? Chapter 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 Chapter 3: The Problem of Evil 3.1. Why Do Good People Suffer? 3.2. God and Evil 3.3. Free Will and Moral Character Chapter 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 Chapter 5: The Problem of Personal Identity 5.1. The Problem 5.2. Personhood at a Moment 5.3. Personhood over Time 5.4. Bodily Continuity 5.5. Memory Chapter 6: Body and Mind 6.1. Descartes and Elizabeth 6.2. Materialist Theories of the Mind 6.3. Doubts About Materialist Theories Chapter 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 Chapter 8: The Case Against Free Will 8.1. Are People Responsible for What They Do? 8.2. Determinism 8.3. Psychology 8.4. Genes and Behavior Chapter 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 Chapter 10: Our Knowledge of the World Around Us 10.1. Vats and Demons 10.2. Idealism 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 10.7. The Natural Theory Chapter 11: Ethics and Objectivity 11.1. Thrasymachus's Challenge 11.2. Is Ethics Just Social Conventions? 11.3. Ethics and Science 11.4. The Importance of Human Interests Chapter 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 Chapter 13: The Meaning of Life 13.1. The Problem of the Point of View 13.2. Happiness 13.3. Death 13.4. Religion and the Indifferent Universe 13.5. The Meaning of Particular Lives Appendix: How to Evaluate Arguments Notes on Sources Index

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