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Introduction to Philosophy

Classical and Contemporary Readings

Eighth Edition

Edited by John Perry, Michael Bratman, and John Martin Fischer

Publication Date - June 2018

ISBN: 9780190698720

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

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $104.99

The #1 book for Introductory Philosophy: The most widely used, trusted, and comprehensive topically organized collection of classical and contemporary readings available


Introduce your students to philosophy with the most widely used, trusted, and comprehensive topically organized collection of classical and contemporary readings available.

Easy to use for both students and instructors, Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings incorporates boldfaced key terms (listed after each reading and defined in the glossary), a "Logical Toolkit," a guide to writing philosophy papers, and study questions after each reading selection. The eighth edition features nine new selections that broaden the book's scope to include work by non-Western philosophers and contemporary women philosophers.

New to this Edition

  • Historical selections by Zhuangzi and Mozi and a contemporary discussion of Zhuangzi by Amy Olberding broaden the contents to include non-Western philosophers
  • Five new pieces by contemporary women philosophers--Patricia Churchland, Marya Schechtman, Agnieszka Jaworska, Amy Olberding, and Jenann Ismael--highlight important work by women in philosophy
  • Plato's Allegory of the Cave adds to the discussion of knowledge and reality


  • A balanced and comprehensive collection of historical and contemporary works provides instructors with unparalleled flexibility and allows students to compare the major issues in philosophy over time
  • A "Logical Toolkit" lists and explains common terminology used in philosophical reasoning in Part I
  • A "Guide to Writing Philosophy Papers" walks students through the process of composing a sound paper in Part II
  • Substantive Part Introductions offer an insightful roadmap of the philosophical issues addressed in the readings
  • Study Questions following each selection help students focus on and review key points from their reading
  • A unique Part VII on Puzzles and Paradoxes offers intriguing mind-teasers
  • An extensive glossary clearly defines all key terms, which are boldfaced throughout the text and listed at the ends of readings
  • The Ancillary Resource Center (ARC) offers extensive instructor support with an expanded Test Bank, PowerPoint lecture outlines, and an Instructor's Manual featuring brief summaries of all the readings in the book, sample syllabi, and additional study questions
  • A free and open-access Companion Website provides students with easy access to study resources including flashcards, self-quizzes, and discussion questions

About the Author(s)

John Perry is Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Stanford University and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of California, Riverside.

Michael Bratman is U.G. and Abbie Birch Durfee Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University.

John Martin Fischer is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Riverside, and University Professor in the University of California system.


"Introduction to Philosophy provides instructors with unparalleled latitude in designing their courses. It includes important readings by female philosophers, something that is sadly lacking in most other introductory texts."--Aleksandar Pjevalica, The University of Texas at El Paso

"This is the best text on the market for teaching an Introduction to Philosophy course. I like that one could teach a course that emphasized the history of philosophy, or, alternatively, a course that is organized around a taxonomy of philosophical problems. Few good texts are flexible in this way."--Jeremy Kirby, Albion College

"Introduction to Philosophy has all of the benefits of larger texts without the unnecessary weight or cost. It tells a story of philosophy that focuses on contemporary debates while also describing their historical roots. I can see the enthusiasm that the authors have for making the material relevant to today's students."--Stephen Russell Orr, Solano Community College

Table of Contents

    *=New to this Edition
    Logical Toolkit
    Writing Philosophy Papers
    1. Bertrand Russell, "The Value of Philosophy"
    2. Plato, "Apology: Defence of Socrates"
    A. Why Believe?
    3. Saint Anselm, "The Ontological Argument"
    4. Saint Thomas Aquinas, "The Existence of God"
    5. William Paley, "Natural Theology"
    6. Blaise Pascal, "The Wager"
    B. The Problem of Evil
    7. David Hume, "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion"
    8. Gottfried Leibniz, "God, Evil, and the Best of All Possible Worlds"
    * 9. William L. Rowe, "The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism"
    10. John Perry, "Dialogue on Good, Evil, and the Existence of God"
    11. Marilyn McCord Adams, "Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God"
    12. Stewart Sutherland, "Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God"
    13. Eleonore Stump, "The Mirror of Evil"
    14. Louise Antony, "For the Love of Reason"
    A. Plato, Descartes, and the Problems of Skepticism
    * 15. Plato, "Plato's Allegory of the Cave"
    16. René Descartes, "Meditations on First Philosophy"
    * 17. Zhuangzi, "Excerpts from Zhuangzi"
    18. Christopher Grau, "Bad Dreams, Evil Demons, and the Experience Machine: Philosophy and The Matrix"
    B. Hume's Problems and Some Solutions
    19. David Hume, "Of Scepticism with Regard to the Senses"
    20. David Hume, "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding"
    21. W. C. Salmon, "The Problem of Induction"
    A. The Traditional Problem of Mind and Body
    22. Bertrand Russell, "The Argument from Analogy for Other Minds"
    23. Gilbert Ryle, "Descartes's Myth"
    24. David M. Armstrong, "The Nature of Mind"
    25. Paul M. Churchland, "Eliminative Materialism"
    26. Frank Jackson, "What Mary Didn't Know"
    * 27. Patricia Churchland, "Neurophilosophy"
    B. Minds, Brains, and Machines
    28. A. M. Turing, "Computing Machinery and Intelligence"
    29. John R. Searle, "Minds, Brains, and Programs"
    C. Personal Identity
    30. John Perry, "A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality"
    31. Bernard Williams, "The Self and the Future"
    32. Derek Parfit, "Personal Identity"
    33. J. David Velleman, "So It Goes"
    34. Daniel Dennett, "Where Am I?"
    * 35. Marya Schechtman, "Personhood and Personal Identity"
    * 36. Agnieszka Jaworska, "Rejecting the Margins of Agency: Alzheimer's Patients and the Capacity to Value"
    D. Freedom, Determinism, and Responsibility
    37. Roderick M. Chisholm, "Human Freedom and the Self"
    38. David Hume, "Of Liberty and Necessity"
    39. Harry G. Frankfurt, "Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility"
    40. John Martin Fischer, "Responsiveness and Moral Responsibility"
    41. Harry G. Frankfurt, "Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person"
    42. Gary Watson," Free Agency"
    43. Susan Wolf, "Sanity and the Metaphysics of Responsibility"
    A. Utilitarianism
    44. Jeremy Bentham, "The Principle of Utility"
    45. John Stuart Mill, "Utilitarianism"
    46. E. F. Carritt, "Criticisms of Utilitarianism"
    47. J. J. C. Smart, "Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism"
    48. Bernard Williams, "Utilitarianism and Integrity"
    * 49. Mozi, "Excerpts from Mozi"
    50. Peter Singer, "Famine, Affluence, and Morality"
    B. Kantian Ethics
    51. Immanuel Kant, "Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals"
    52. Onora O'Neill, "Kantian Approaches to Some Famine Problems"
    C. Aristotelian Ethics
    53. Aristotle, "Nicomachean Ethics"
    54. Rosalind Hursthouse, "Right Action"
    D. Justice and Equality
    55. John Rawls, "A Theory of Justice"
    56. Robert Nozick, "Justice and Entitlement"
    57. G. A. Cohen, "Where the Action Is: On the Site of Distributive Justice"
    58. John Stuart Mill, "The Subjection of Women"
    59. Annette C. Baier, "The Need for More Than Justice"
    E. Contemporary Moral Problems
    60. Judith Jarvis Thomson, "A Defense of Abortion"
    61. Rosalind Hursthouse, "Thomson's Arguments"
    62. Debra Satz, "Markets in Women's Reproductive Labor"
    63. Kwame Anthony Appiah, "Racisms"
    64. Linda Martin Alcoff, "Racism and Visible Race"
    65. Albert Camus, "The Myth of Sisyphus"
    66. Thomas Nagel, "The Absurd"
    67. Richard Taylor, "The Meaning of Human Existence"
    68. Susan Wolf, "The Meanings of Lives"
    69. Thomas Nagel, "Death"
    70. Anthony L. Brueckner and John Martin Fischer, "Why Is Death Bad?"
    * 71. Amy Olberding, "Sorrow and the Sage: Grief in the Zhuangzi"
    * 72. Jenann Ismael, "The Ethical Importance of Death"
    73. Dan Moller, "Love and Death"
    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

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