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Great Philosophical Arguments

An Introduction to Philosophy

Edited by Lewis Vaughn

Publication Date - 11 July 2011

ISBN: 9780195342604

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

In Stock

The only introduction to philosophy reader/textbook that shows students how to identify, understand, and critique philosophical arguments--a real critical-thinking approach


A great deal of the satisfaction of studying philosophy lies in exploring its landmark arguments. Working from this premise, Great Philosophical Arguments: An Introduction to Philosophy focuses on the debates that define and drive the field. Editor Lewis Vaughn presents seventy-eight readings--both classic selections and contemporary works--that are topically organized into six chapters: the existence of God, knowledge and skepticism, mind and body, free will and determinism, ethics, and contemporary ethical debates. The readings are grouped by argument into pro/con dialogues within each chapter. Each of the thirty-four arguments is introduced with a brief outline, which is followed by two to four essays presenting the classic statement of the argument, critiques and defenses of it, and discussions of related debates.


* A substantial introductory chapter and extensive chapter introductions
* Essay questions at the end of each argument section and chapter
* Pedagogical features including boldfaced key terms, biographical text boxes, suggestions for further reading, and a glossary
* An appendix on how to read and write argumentative essays
* An Instructor's Manual and Test Bank on CD featuring chapter summaries, reading summaries, PowerPoint-based lecture outlines, and test questions
* A Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/vaughn containing study questions, interactive quizzes, flashcards, and helpful links

About the Author(s)

Lewis Vaughn is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including Philosophy: The Quest for Truth, Eighth Edition (2011), Classics of Philosophy, Third Edition (2010), Contemporary Moral Arguments (2010), The Power of Critical Thinking, Third Edition (2009), Bioethics (2008), and Writing Philosophy (2005), all published by Oxford University Press.


"I very much like the general theme of this book. Organizing things around a set of philosophical arguments is a good approach, since the skills of identifying, stating, and critiquing arguments happen to be exactly the skills that ought to be a primary focus of any introductory course."--Dennis Earl, Coastal Carolina University

"This is an excellent Introduction to Philosophy text. I think that the 'argument' approach as presented in this book is very effective. The approach of first introducing the issue and the arguments, then offering a 'pro/con' set of readings, followed by questions, will encourage students to analyze the readings and to distinguish the respective arguments."--Kevin W. Sweeney, University of Tampa

"The author's style is a real strength of this book. Clear and engaging, and with a real knack for explaining clearly and quickly where the essence of a problem and the crux of an argument are."--Jozef Müller, University of Florida

Table of Contents

    Back to Basics
    The Consolations of Philosophy
    Box: Socrates
    Philosophy and Arguments
    Key Terms
    Plato: Socrates' Examined Life
    Bertrand Russell: The Value of Philosophy
    Chapter 1. Essay Questions
    Key Terms
    1. The Cosmological Argument
    Box: Thomas Aquinas
    Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologica
    J.L. Mackie: Critique of Cosmological Arguments
    William Lane Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument
    Avicenna: On the Nature of God
    Argument 1. Essay Questions
    2. The Design Argument from Analogy
    William Paley: The Watch and the Watchmaker
    David Hume: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
    Argument 2. Essay Questions
    3. The Design Argument from the Best Explanation
    Richard Swinburne: The Best Explanation of Apparent Design
    Lewis Vaughn: The Failure of Supernatural Hypotheses
    Michael J. Behe: Intelligent Design
    Philip Kitcher: Living with Darwin
    Argument 3, Essay Questions
    4. The Ontological Argument
    St. Anselm: Anselm's Proof
    Immanuel Kant: Of the Impossibility of an Ontological Proof
    William L. Rowe: The Problem with the Ontological Argument
    René Descartes: On the Ontological Argument
    Argument 4. Essay Questions
    5. The Argument from Miracles
    J. L. Mackie: Miracles and Testimony
    David Hume: Of Miracles
    Richard Swinburne: Miracles
    Argument 5. Essay Questions
    6. The Argument from Evil
    William L. Rowe: The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism
    H. J. McCloskey: God and Evil
    Alvin Plantinga: The Free Will Defense
    John Hick: The Soul-Making Defense
    Argument 6. Essay Questions
    Chapter 2. Essay Questions
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    Key Terms
    7. Descartes' Dream and Evil Genius Arguments
    René Descartes: Meditations on First Philosophy (Meditation I)
    Christopher Grau: Bad Dreams, Evil Demons, and the Experience Machine: Philosophy and The Matrix
    Argument 7. Essay Questions
    8. Descartes' Argument against Skepticism
    René Descartes: Meditations on First Philosophy (Meditation IV)
    David Hume: Of Skepticism with Regard to the Senses
    Robert Audi: Against Skepticism
    Argument 8. Essay Questions
    9. Berkeley's Argument against the Existence of Material Objects
    George Berkeley: Principles of Human Knowledge
    John Locke: An Essay concerning Human Understanding
    Bertrand Russell: Berkeley's Idealism
    Argument 9. Essay Questions
    10. Hume's Argument against Induction
    Box: David Hume
    David Hume: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
    Wesley C. Salmon: The Problem of Induction
    Argument 10. Essay Questions
    Chapter 3. Essay Questions
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    Box: René Descartes
    Key Terms
    11. Descartes' Conceivability Argument for Dualism
    René Descartes: Discourse on Method
    Paul M. Churchland: Dualism
    Buddhist Writings: There Is No Ego
    Argument 11. Essay Questions
    12. Nagel's Bat Argument against Mind-Body Identity
    Thomas Nagel: What Is It Like to Be a Bat?
    J. J. C. Smart: Sensations and Brain Processes
    Argument 12. Essay Questions
    13. Chalmers' Zombie Argument against Materialism
    David Chalmers: The Logical Possibility of Zombies
    Daniel Dennett: "Epiphenomenal" Qualia?
    Argument 13. Essay Questions
    14. Block's Chinese Brain Argument against Functionalism
    Ned Block: Troubles with Functionalism
    Jerry A. Fodor: The Mind-Body Problem
    Argument 14. Essay Questions
    15. Searle's Chinese Room Argument against Strong AI
    John R. Searle: Is the Brain's Mind a Computer Program?
    William G. Lycan: Machine Consciousness
    Argument 15. Essay Questions
    Chapter 4. Essay Questions
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    Key Terms
    16. Argument for Hard Determinism
    Baron d'Holbach: Of the System of Man's Free Agency
    Richard Taylor: Freedom and Determinism
    Jean-Paul Sartre: Absolute Freedom
    Argument 16. Essay Questions
    17. Indeterminist Argument for Free Will
    Box: William James
    William James: The Dilemma of Determinism
    Robert Kane: Free Will and Modern Science
    Argument 17. Essay Questions
    18. Argument against Compatibilism
    W. T. Stace: The Problem of Free Will
    William L. Rowe: Two Concepts of Freedom
    Harry G. Frankfurt: Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person
    Peter van Inwagen: The Incompatibility of Free Will and Determinism
    Argument 18. Essay Questions
    19. Argument against Libertarianism
    Randolph Clarke: Toward a Credible Agent-Causal Account of Free Will
    Galen Strawson: Libertarianism, Action, and Self-Determinism
    Timothy O'Connor: Agent Causation
    Argument 19. Essay Questions
    Chapter 5. Essay Questions
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    Key Terms
    20. Argument for Cultural Relativism
    Ruth Benedict: The Case for Moral Relativism
    Russ Shafer-Landau: Ethical Relativism
    Argument 20. Essay Questions
    21. Argument against Ethical Egoism
    Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan
    Louis P. Pojman: A Critique of Ethical Egoism
    Joel Feinberg: Psychological Egoism
    Argument 21. Essay Questions
    22. Argument against the Divine Command Theory
    Plato: Euthyphro
    Russ Shafer-Landau: The Divine Command Theory
    Argument 22. Essay Questions
    23. Argument against Utilitarianism
    Box: John Stuart Mill
    John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism
    E. F. Carritt: Criticisms of Utilitarianism
    Argument 23. Essay Questions
    24. Argument against Kantian Ethics
    Immanuel Kant: Foundations of the Metaphysic of Morals
    William K. Frankena: Kant's Theory
    Virginia Held: The Ethics of Care
    Argument 24. Essay Questions
    Chapter 6. Essay Questions
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    Key Terms
    25. John T. Noonan, Jr.: An Almost Absolute Value in History
    26. Don Marquis: Why Abortion Is Immoral
    27. Mary Anne Warren: On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion
    28. Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion
    Abortion Essay Questions
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    29. Leon R. Kass: Why Doctors Must Not Kill
    30. Daniel Callahan: When Self-Determination Runs Amok
    31. Dan W. Brock: Voluntary Active Euthanasia
    32. James Rachels: Active and Passive Euthanasia
    Euthanasia Essay Questions
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    Key Terms
    33. Hardin's Argument against Aiding the Poor
    Garrett Hardin: Living on a Lifeboat
    William W. Murdoch and Allan Oaten: A Critique of Lifeboat Ethics
    34. Singer's Argument for Aiding the Poor
    Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence, and Morality
    Louis P. Pojman: World Hunger and Population
    Global Hunger Essay Questions
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    Appendix: How to Read and Write Argumentative Essays

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