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Exploring Philosophy

An Introductory Anthology

Fourth Edition

Edited by Steven M. Cahn

Publication Date - October 2011

ISBN: 9780199797271

720 pages
6-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

Retail Price to Students: $64.95

The most accessible set of classic and contemporary readings in introduction to philosophy, now greatly expanded and at an affordable price


Extensively revised and expanded in this fourth edition, Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology is a uniquely accessible and engaging introduction to philosophy. Steven M. Cahn brings together exceptionally clear recent essays by noted philosophers and supplements them with influential historical sources. Most importantly, the articles have been carefully edited to make them understandable to every reader. The topics are drawn from across the major fields of philosophy and include knowledge and skepticism, mind and body, freedom and determinism, the existence of God, identity and immortality, ethical reasoning, abortion, euthanasia, world hunger, democracy, social justice, art, and life and death. The readings are enhanced by concise introductions, study questions, explanatory notes, and suggestions for further reading.


* More than fifty new readings greatly expand the book's coverage and its flexibility for course use

* More than half of the new readings are "Historical Sources," which introduce students to philosophical classics and help them understand the contemporary selections

* Four new sections--Identity and Immortality, Social Justice, Art, and Life and Death--extend the anthology's range into areas that today's students find especially compelling

* Study Questions after each reading help students test their comprehension and encourage class discussion

New to this Edition

  • · Expanded to include 50 new introductory readings which enhance the breadth of coverage and topical flexibility of the book
  • · A substantial amount of new Historical Sources in every Part, so that students have access to classic readings from philosophical inquiry over the centuries
  • · Four new Parts on Identity and Immortality, Life and Death, Social Justice, and Art
  • · A set of Study Questions at the end of each reading for further inquiry and discussion about each selection
  • · An Instructor's Manual and Test Bank on CD and Companion Website. The Instructors Manual features PowerPoint lecture outlines, reading summaries, a glossary, and a Test Bank of objective and essay questions. All of the material from the Instructor's Manual is included on the companion website, along with student resources such as self-test questions with answers, suggested readings, and helpful web links.

About the Author(s)

Steven M. Cahn is Professor of Philosophy at The City University of New York Graduate Center.

Previous Publication Date(s)

October 2011
January 2009
August 2004


"Exploring Philosophy is a wonderful achievement and a significant contribution to philosophical pedagogy. Cahn's choice of articles is superb and clearly reflects the choice of someone with years of experience engaging students in philosophy. The book contains a balanced mix of authors, an even-handed treatment of the issues, rigorous yet accessible articles that are appropriately introduced by the editor, and is far more affordable than most college texts."--Laurence Carlin, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Table of Contents

    *=New to this edition
    What is Philosophy?, Monroe C. Beardsley and Elizabeth Lane Beardsley
    Historical Source
    Defence of Socrates, Plato
    The Scope of Logic, Wesley C. Salmon
    Improving Your Thinking, Stephen F. Barker
    Fixing Belief, Morris R. Cohen and Ernest Nagel
    Scientific Inquiry, Carl G. Hempel
    What Is Knowledge?, A. J. Ayer
    Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?, Edmund L. Gettier
    * Conditions for Knowledge, Robert Nozick
    Appearance and Reality, Bertrand Russell
    What Can I Know?, D. Z. Phillips
    The Problem of Induction, Bertrand Russell
    * Induction Without a Problem, P. F. Strawson
    Historical Sources
    Meditations on First Philosophy, René Descartes
    * An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke
    * A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, George Berkeley
    An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, David Hume
    * Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant
    4. MIND
    The Ghost in the Machine, Gilbert Ryle
    The Mind as a Function of the Body, Richard Taylor
    What Is It Like to Be a Bat?, Thomas Nagel
    * Knowing What It's Like, David Lewis
    Computing Machinery and Intelligence, Alan Turing
    Do Computers Think?, John Searle
    Historical Source
    Meditations on First Philosophy, René Descartes
    5. FREE WILL
    Free Will, Thomas Nagel
    * Free Will and Determinism, W. T. Stace
    Free Will or Determinism?, Steven M. Cahn
    The Principle of Alternative Possibilities, Harry Frankfurt
    * The Capacities of Agents, Neil Levy
    Historical Sources
    An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, David Hume
    * The Dilemma of Determinism, William James
    6. GOD
    * Does God Exist?, Ernest Nagel
    Why God Allows Evil, Richard Swinburne
    Theology and Falsification, Antony Flew and Basil Mitchell
    Pascal's Wager, Simon Blackburn
    * Faith and Reason, Michael Scriven
    The Hiddenness of God, Robert McKim
    Historical Sources
    * Euthyphro, Plato
    * The Ontological Argument, Anselm and Gaunilo
    * Meditations on First Philosophy, René Descartes
    * Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant
    Summa Theologiae, Thomas Aquinas
    * Natural Theology, William Paley
    * Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, David Hume
    * The Wager, Blaise Pascal
    * The Ethics of Belief, W. K. Clifford
    * The Will to Believe, William James
    * Religion Without God, Steven M. Cahn
    * A Case of Identity, Brian Smart
    * The Problem of Personal Identity, John Perry
    * Resurrection, John H. Hick
    * Heaven and Hell, Steven M. Cahn
    * Life After Death, Terence Penelhum
    * Do We Need Immortality?, Grace M. Jantzen
    Historical Sources
    * An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke
    * A Treatise of Human Nature, David Hume
    * Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, Thomas Reid
    The Challenge of Cultural Relativism, James Rachels
    How Not to Answer Moral Questions, Tom Regan
    * Kant's Ethics, Onora O'Neill
    * Assessing Utilitarianism, Louis P. Pojman
    A Supreme Moral Principle?, Steven M. Cahn
    Virtue Ethics, Bernard Mayo
    The Ethics of Care, Virginia Held
    Happiness and Morality, Christine Vitrano
    Historical Sources
    Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle
    Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant
    Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill
    * Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Nietzsche
    * Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre
    A Defense of Abortion, Judith Jarvis Thomson
    Why Abortion Is Immoral, Don Marquis
    Active and Passive Euthanasia, James Rachels
    Active and Passive Euthanasia: A Reply to Rachels, Thomas D. Sullivan
    Famine, Affluence, and Morality, Peter Singer
    World Hunger and Moral Obligation: The Case Against Singer, John Arthur
    10. SOCIETY
    Democracy, John Dewey
    What Is a Liberal Education?, Sidney Hook
    Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Political Action: The Problem of Dirty Hands, Michael Walzer
    Historical Sources
    Crito, Plato
    On Liberty, John Stuart Mill
    * A Theory of Justice, John Rawls
    * Distributive Justice, Robert Nozick
    * The Idea of Justice, Amartya Sen
    * Non-Contractual Society: A Feminist View, Virginia Held
    Historical Sources
    * The Republic, Plato
    * Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes
    * Second Treatise of Government, John Locke
    * Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, Karl Marx
    * 12. ART
    * The Role of Theory in Aesthetics, Morris Weitz
    * Interpreting Poetry, Charles L. Stevenson
    * Fearing Fictions, Kendall Walton
    Historical Sources
    * The Republic, Plato
    * Poetics, Aristotle
    * 13. LIFE AND DEATH
    The Meaning of Life, Richard Taylor
    * Meaning in Life, Susan Wolf
    * Meaningless Lives?, Steven M. Cahn
    * Death, Thomas Nagel
    Historical Sources
    Phaedo, Plato
    * Writings, Epicurus
    * The Handbook, Epictetus
    The Value of Philosophy, Bertrand Russell
    * The Republic, Plato
    Suggestions for Further Reading

Teaching Resources


Offered for the first time with this edition:

* An Instructor's Manual features PowerPoint-based lecture outlines, reading summaries, a glossary, and a Test Bank of objective and essay questions

* A Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/cahn contains all the material from the Instructor's Manual along with student resources including self-test questions, suggested readings, and helpful links

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