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Open Questions

An Introduction to Philosophy

Third Edition

Emmett Barcalow

Publication Date - 18 August 2000

ISBN: 9780195155006

496 pages
6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock


This engaging introduction to the fundamental issues of philosophy will prompt students to think actively about questions such as: Does God exist? Do we have souls? Does human life have meaning? Is there a real difference between right and wrong? and many more. Organized topically, the twelve chapters in the book focus on key philosophical questions and discuss alternative answers (solutions). Author Emmett Barcalow includes readings in every chapter by famous thinkers and well-known philosophers who offer their own answers to these questions--for example, the thoughts of Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, and Mohandas K. Gandhi on the existence of God; Plato's ideas on the body/mind connection; and John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant's theories of right and wrong. As students progress through the text, they'll begin to think critically and decide for themselves which answers seem the most reasonable to them. Definitions and other relevant information are placed in the margins for easy reference, and brain teasers--questions for class discussion and student reflection--are integrated throughout. The text also features insightful discussion and review questions at the end of each chapter and two valuable appendices: one on reading philosophy and the other on writing a philosophy paper.
The third edition adds chapter objectives; information on philosophy's subfields; a section on self-knowledge; new material on reflective equilibrium; expanded coverage of the social justification of morality; a new discussion of equal opportunity; a discussion of Feinberg's analysis of four liberty limiting principles; and more. It also adds readings by Rahula, Sartre, Russell, St. Augustine, Constant, Rousseau, and many others.

Previous Publication Date(s)

October 1992

Table of Contents

    1. Philosophy
    Subfields of Philosophy
    Open and Closed Questions
    What It's Most Reasonable to Believe
    Evaluating Arguments
    Facts and Theories
    Two Principal Philosophical Questions
    2. God and Philosophy
    The Concept of God
    Arguments for God's Existence
    An Argument Against God's Existence: The Argument from Evil
    Experiencing God's Presence
    Charles Darwin, Religious Belief
    Benjamin Franklin, Franklin's Religious Principles from His Autobiography
    Mohandas K. Gandhi, Gandhi's Political Principles
    3. Body and Mind
    Soul as the Explanation of Life
    Physical Explanations of Life
    Mind as the Explanation of Consciousness
    Descartes' Argument for Dualism
    Problems for Descartes
    Identity Theories
    Plato, Phaedo
    4. Personal Immortality and Personal Identity
    Death and Other Happenings
    What Role Do Our Bodies Play in Personal Identity?
    Same Psychological Essence
    How the Self Depends on the Body
    Identifying and Reidentifying People
    Dualism, Personal Identity, and Existence After Death
    Walpola Rahula, The Doctrine of No-Soul: Anatta
    5. Freedom and Determinism
    Causality and Personal Identity
    Causality and Determinism
    Determinism and Human Freedom
    Soft Determinism/Compatibilism
    Reasons and Causes
    Probalistic Causality?
    What Difference Does It Make Whether We Are Free?
    Borderline Cases
    John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
    Robert Blatchford, The Delusion of Free Will
    Jean Paul Sartre, Existentialism
    6. Knowledge, Truth, and Justification
    It's Only a Belief
    Belief and Truth
    Three Requirements for Knowledge
    Self-Knowledge: Beliefs About Our Own Mental States
    Alternatives to Perception
    Basic Justifiers
    Bertrand Russell, On the Value of Scepticism
    7. Knowledge and Skepticism
    Evaluating the Skeptic's Argument
    A Strong and Weak Sense of Know
    Perception, Observation, and Induction
    Observation and Causal Generalizations
    The Virtue of Skepticism
    René Descartes, Meditations on the First Philosophy
    David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
    8. Morality
    Moral Objectivism
    Moral Nonobjectivism
    The Divine Command Theory of Morality
    Nonobjectivist Moral Theories
    Moral Egoism
    Saint Augustine, The Confessions
    Moses Maimonides, Laws Concerning Character Traits
    Buddha, The Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha
    His Holiness the Dalai Lama, The Virtue of Compassion
    Plato, Republic
    9. Moral Justification
    Moral Justification
    Evaluating Nonmoral Reasons (Premises)
    Evaluating Moral Principles
    Reflective Equilibrium
    Moral Belief and Action
    Why Be Moral? The Challenge of Amoralism
    G. J. Warnock, The Object of Morality
    10. Two Theories of Right and Wrong
    Kantian Moral Theory
    John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism
    Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals
    11. Justice and Rights
    Aristotle's Conception of Justice: Treating Equals Equally
    Justice and Relevant Differences
    Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
    Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party
    Susan Moller Okin, Justice, Gender, and the Family
    12. Liberty and Democracy
    Is Democracy the Best Form of Government?
    Benjamin Constant, The Kind of Liberty Offered to Men at the End of the Last Century
    Jean Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract
    A. Reading Philosophy
    B. Writing a Philosophy Paper
    Each chapter begins with Objectives and an Introduction and ends with Questions for Discussion and Review and Suggestions for Further Reading