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Introduction to Philosophy

Classical and Contemporary Readings

Sixth Edition

John Perry, Michael Bratman, and John Martin Fischer

Publication Date - June 2012

ISBN: 9780199812998

896 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $89.95

"The Rolls Royce of topically organized anthologies . . . at a Camry price"


Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings, Sixth Edition, is the most comprehensive topically organized collection of classical and contemporary philosophy available. The text includes sections on God and evil, knowledge and reality, the philosophy of science, the mind/body problem, freedom of will, consciousness, ethics, political philosophy, existential issues, and philosophical puzzles and paradoxes.

Easy to use for both students and instructors alike, the book incorporates boldfaced key terms (listed after each reading and defined in the glossary); a guide to writing philosophy papers; and a "Logical Toolkit". The sixth edition includes five new readings--by renowned contemporary philosophers Anthony Brueckner, John Martin Fischer, Alan Goldman, Rosalind Hursthouse, and Thomas Nagel--and additional descriptive material on the authors throughout the book.

An updated Instructor's Resource CD includes a test bank of exam questions, sample syllabi, summaries of each reading, and additional pedagogical tools. A Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/perry features the same material included on the CD and also links to a separate site for students, which offers multiple-choice self-quizzes; pedagogical material; and an interactive blog featuring recommended websites, news articles, helpful anecdotes, and interviews.

New to this Edition

  • Before each reading, the book now has more descriptive material on each of the authors featured.
  • Five new articles replace older, less-accessible articles to make the book more student-friendly and enhance the important section on Existential Issues. These articles include:
  • 1. Rosalind Hursthouse, "Right Action"
  • 2. John Martin Fischer, "Responsiveness and Moral Responsibility"
  • 3. Thomas Nagel, "Sexual Perversion"
  • 4. Alan H. Goldman, "Plain Sex"
  • 5. Anthony L. Brueckner and John Martin Fischer, "Why is Death Bad?"

Previous Publication Date(s)

August 2009
September 2006
August 2002


"The editors are a trio of superb philosophers with more than 100 years of teaching experience among them. Their experience shines through in the selection of readings, the introductions, and the study questions. This is the best anthology I have ever seen for an introductory philosophy course."--Alfred R. Mele, Florida State University

"This is a superb introduction to philosophy, the best I know. It combines the best of classic and contemporary texts, organized around philosophical problems in a provocative and lively way."--Martha Nussbaum, University of Chicago

"It would be hard for a student to read the section summaries without being sucked into the philosophical debates. The paradoxes and puzzles at the end of the book are terrific."--Sarah Buss, University of Michigan

"A real gem. It combines the de rigueur historical texts with the cream of the contemporary articles that continue work on all the classic problems of philosophy."--Anthony Brueckner, University of California, Santa Barbara

"An introductory text without peer."--Jules Coleman, Yale Law School

"If you're only going to use one book in an introductory course, it should be this one."--Brian Weatherson, Cornell University

"These are the best chapter introductions I have seen in any introductory collection. The book manages to be interesting and genuinely illuminating (even to me), but remains understandable to the first-year student."--Thomas Bittner, University of British Columbia

"This is a terrific anthology, just the kind I like to teach from. It covers all the Big Questions that turn people on to philosophy, with a selection of classic and contemporary readings that are clear and accessible while also being challenging and provocative."--Susan Wolf, University of North Carolina

"This splendid anthology features exceptionally well-chosen readings on philosophical issues that are both captivating and central to the field. In combination with the impressively crafted chapter introductions, these readings provide just the right material for an intensive, state-of-the-art, beginning course in the area."--Derk Pereboom, Cornell University

Table of Contents

    *=New to this Edition
    Introduction: On the Study of Philosophy
    Logical Toolkit
    Writing Philosophy Papers
    Bertrand Russell, "The Value of Philosophy"
    Plato, "Apology: Defence of Socrates"
    A. Why Believe?
    St. Anselm, "The Ontological Argument"
    St. Thomas Aquinas, "The Existence of God"
    William Paley, "Natural Theology"
    Blaise Pascal, "The Wager"
    Bertrand Russell, "Why I Am Not a Christian"
    B. The Problem of Evil
    David Hume, "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion"
    Gottfried Leibniz, "God, Evil, and the Best of All Possible Worlds"
    John Perry, "Dialogue on Good, Evil, and the Existence of God"
    A. Plato and the Concept of Knowledge
    Plato, "Theaetetus"
    Edmund L. Gettier, "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?"
    B. Descartes and the Problems of Skepticism
    René Descartes, "Meditations on First Philosophy"
    Christopher Grau, "Bad Dreams, Evil Demons, and the Experience Machine: Philosophy and The Matrix"
    Robert Nozick, "Excerpt from Philosophical Explanations"
    C. Hume's Problems and Some Solutions
    David Hume, "Of Scepticism with Regard to the Senses"
    David Hume, "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding"
    W. C. Salmon, "The Problem of Induction"
    A. The Traditional Problem of Mind and Body
    Bertrand Russell, "The Argument from Analogy for Other Minds"
    Gilbert Ryle, "Descartes's Myth"
    David M. Armstrong, "The Nature of Mind"
    Daniel Dennett, "Intentional Systems"
    Paul M. Churchland, "Eliminative Materialism"
    Frank Jackson, "What Mary Didn't Know"
    B. Minds, Brains, and Machines
    A. M. Turing, "Computing Machines and Intelligence"
    John R. Searle, "Minds, Brains, and Programs"
    C. Personal Identity
    John Perry, "A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality"
    Bernard Williams, "The Self and the Future"
    Derek Parfit, "Personal Identity"
    J. David Velleman, "So It Goes"
    Daniel Dennett, "Where Am I?"
    D. Freedom, Determinism, and Responsibility
    Roderick M. Chisholm, "Human Freedom and the Self"
    Peter van Inwagen, "The Powers of Rational Beings: Freedom of the Will"
    David Hume, "Of Liberty and Necessity"
    Harry G. Frankfurt, "Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility"
    * John Martin Fischer, "Responsiveness and Moral Responsibility"
    Harry G. Frankfurt, "Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person"
    Thomas Nagel, "Moral Luck"
    A. Utilitarianism
    Jeremy Bentham, "The Principle of Utility"
    John Stuart Mill, "Utilitarianism"
    E. F. Carritt, "Criticisms of Utilitarianism"
    J. J. C. Smart, "Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism"
    Bernard Williams, "Utilitarianism and Integrity"
    Peter Singer, "Famine, Affluence, and Morality"
    B. Kantian Ethics
    Immanuel Kant, "Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals"
    J. David Velleman, "A Brief Introduction to Kantian Ethics"
    Onora O'Neill, "Kantian Approaches to Some Famine Problems"
    C. Aristotelian Ethics
    Aristotle, "Nicomachean Ethics"
    * Rosalind Hursthouse, "Right Action"
    D. Justice and Equality
    John Rawls, "A Theory of Justice"
    Robert Nozick, "Justice and Entitlement"
    G. A. Cohen, "Where the Action Is: On the Site of Distributive Justice"
    John Stuart Mill, "The Subjection of Women"
    Debra Satz, "Markets in Women's Reproductive Labor"
    Kwame Anthony Appiah, "Racisms"
    E. Challenges to Morality
    1. Morality and Self-Interest
    Plato, "The Republic"
    David Hume, "An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals"
    David Gauthier, "Morality and Advantage"
    2. Subjectivism, Relativism, and Skepticism
    J. L. Mackie, "The Subjectivity of Values"
    Gilbert Harmon, "Ethics and Observation"
    Nicholas L. Sturgeon, "Moral Explanations"
    Susan Wolf, "Moral Saints"
    Thomas Nagel, "The Absurd"
    Albert Camus, "The Myth of Sisyphus"
    Richard Taylor, "The Meaning of Human Existence"
    Susan Wolf, "The Meanings of Lives"
    * Thomas Nagel, "Sexual Perversion"
    * Alan H. Goldman, "Plain Sex"
    Thomas Nagel, "Death"
    * Anthony L. Brueckner and John Martin Fischer, "Why Is Death Bad?"
    A. Zeno's Paradoxes
    Achilles and the Tortoise
    The Racecourse
    The Argument Against Plurality
    B. Metaphysical and Epistemological Puzzles and Paradoxes
    The Paradox of Identity
    The Paradox of the Heap
    The Surprise Examination
    Goodman's New Riddle of Induction
    C. Puzzles of Rational Choice
    The Prisoner's Dilemma
    Newcomb's Problem
    Kavka's Toxin Puzzle
    Quinn's Puzzle of the Self-Torturer
    D. Paradoxes of Logic, Set Theory, and Semantics
    The Paradox of the Liar
    Other Versions of the Liar
    Russell's Paradox
    Grelling's Paradox
    E. Puzzles of Ethics
    The Trolley Problem
    Ducking Harm and Sacrificing Others
    Glossary of Philosophical Terms

Teaching Resources

  • An updated Instructor's Resource CD-R includes a test bank of exam questions, sample syllabi, summaries of each reading, and additional pedagogical tools. 
  • A Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/perry features the same material included on the CD and also links to a separate site for students, which offers multiple-choice self-quizzes; pedagogical material; and an interactive blog featuring recommended websites, news articles, helpful anecdotes, and interviews.

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