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The Quest for Truth

Eleventh Edition

Louis P. Pojman and Lewis Vaughn

Publication Date - October 2019

ISBN: 9780190945671

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

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $114.99

This best-selling anthology presents ninety-seven selections, arranged in a pro/con format and enhanced by numerous pedagogical features


Praised for its unique combination of accessibility and comprehensiveness, Philosophy: The Quest for Truth, Eleventh Edition, provides an excellent selection of ninety-seven classical and contemporary readings--on twenty key problems in philosophy--carefully organized so that they present pro/con dialogues that allow students to compare and contrast the philosophers' positions.

New to this Edition

  • Nine new readings-- featuring work from Kwame Anthony Appiah, Laurence Blum, Michael Martin, Igor Primoratz, Russ Shafer-Landau, W.T. Stace, Richard Taylor, and Susan Wolf--enhanced by headnotes, study questions, and discussion questions
  • A new section, "Who Is a Racist?," in Part IX: Contemporary Moral Problems
  • Revised content in Part II: Philosophy of Religion, Part VI: Ethics, and Part VIII: What Is the Meaning of Life?
  • Additional key terms in several chapters


  • Organizes many of the essays to present pro/con dialogues, allowing students to compare and contrast the philosophers' positions
  • Covers a range of major topics so that students are exposed to all the key arguments in the main areas of philosophy
  • Addresses several areas often omitted from other introductory readers: political philosophy, the meaning of life, and contemporary moral problems
  • Each reading is accompanied by study questions, end-of-reading reflective questions, and an individual introduction featuring a biographical sketch of the philosopher
  • A tutorial on logic and argument, a time line, boldfaced key terms, a detailed glossary, and an appendix on reading and writing philosophy papers further enhance the text's pedagogical value
  • Each major section opens with a substantial introduction and ends with a short bibliography
  • An Ancillary Resource Center (ARC) contains an Instructor's Manual with sample syllabi, selection summaries, key terms with definitions, and web links and a Computerized Test Bank with multiple-choice, true/false, and essay questions
  • A Companion Website offers student resources including essay questions, interactive quizzes, flashcards, and additional web links

About the Author(s)

Lewis Vaughn is the author or coauthor of several textbooks, including Bioethics (2019); The Power of Critical Thinking, Sixth Edition (2018); Philosophy Here and Now, Third Edition (2018); Writing Philosophy, Second Edition (2018); and Living Philosophy, Second Edition (2017).

The late Louis P. Pojman was Professor of Philosophy at the United States Military Academy at West Point and the author, editor, or coeditor of more than twenty books.


"Philosophy: The Quest for Truth does a nice job of taking many of the most important texts in the western philosophical canon and condensing them so that even students with no background in the discipline can access them. My students have expressed high praise for the book's arrangement, with its pro and contra style. I cannot speak highly enough of Pojman and Vaughn's writing style. It says everything that needs to be said, but does so in a way that is easy for students to access."--Kayla Bohannon, University of Kentucky

"The book's strengths include coverage of a very nice variety of philosophical topics; an excellent, pro and contra reading arrangement; and introductory material on arguments that is great to have. Pojman and Vaughn's introductions and narrative sections are definitely engaging, direct, informative, and clear, and the level of this material would be good for my students."--Dave Yount, Mesa Community College

"I give it a 10 out of 10. Philosophy: The Quest for Truth is a good book that keeps students' interests in mind."--Keith Hess, College of Southern Nevada

Table of Contents

    Each part opens with an Introduction and ends with Key Terms and Suggestions for Further Reading.
    *=New to this Edition
    Time Line
    The Good of Philosophy
    Philosophical Terrain
    Thinking Philosophically
    Reasons and Arguments
    Fallacious Reasoning
    Identifying Arguments
    Some Applications
    Exercises in Critical Reasoning
    Study and Discussion Questions
    1. Plato: Socratic Wisdom
    2. Plato: The Allegory of the Cave
    3. John Locke: Of Enthusiasm and the Quest for Truth
    4. Bertrand Russell: The Value of Philosophy
    II.A. Is Belief in God Rationally Justified? Arguments for the Existence of God
    The Cosmological Argument
    5. Thomas Aquinas: The Five Ways
    6. William Lane Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument and the Anthropic Principle
    7. Paul Edwards: A Critique of the Cosmological Argument
    The Teleological Argument
    8. William Paley: The Watch and the Watchmaker
    9. David Hume: A Critique of the Teleological Argument
    The Ontological Argument
    Pro et Contra
    10. St. Anselm and Gaunilo: The Ontological Argument
    11. William Rowe: An Analysis of the Ontological Argument
    II.B. Why Is There Evil?
    12. Fyodor Dostoevsky: Why Is There Evil?
    13. B.C. Johnson: Why Doesn't God Intervene to Prevent Evil?
    14. John Hick: There Is a Reason Why God Allows Evil
    15. William L. Rowe: The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism
    II.C. Is Faith Compatible with Reason?
    16. Blaise Pascal: Yes, Faith Is a Logical Bet
    17. W.K. Clifford: The Ethics of Belief
    18. William James: The Will to Believe
    19. Alvin Plantinga: Religious Belief Without Evidence
    * 20. Michael Martin: Faith and Foundationalism
    21. Søren Kierkegaard: Faith and Truth
    22. Bertrand Russell: Can Religion Cure Our Troubles?
    III.A. What Can We Know? Classical Theories of Knowledge
    23. René Descartes: Cartesian Doubt and the Search for Foundational Knowledge
    24. John Locke: The Empiricist Theory of Knowledge
    25. George Berkeley: An Idealist Theory of Knowledge
    26. David Hume: The Origin of Our Ideas
    27. G.E. Moore: Proof of an External World
    III.B. Truth, Rationality, and Cognitive Relativism
    28. Bertrand Russell: The Correspondence Theory of Truth
    29. William James: The Pragmatic Theory of Truth
    30. Richard Rorty: Dismantling Truth: Solidarity versus Objectivity
    31. Daniel Dennett: Postmodernism and Truth
    III.C. Feminist Perspectives on Knowledge
    32. Eve Browning Cole: Philosophy and Feminist Criticism
    33. Alison Ainley: Feminist Philosophy
    III.D. Induction
    34. David Hume: Skeptical Doubts Concerning the Operations of the Understanding
    35. Wesley C. Salmon: The Problem of Induction
    IV.A. What Am I? A Mind or a Body?
    36. RenéDescartes: Substance Dualism
    37. Gilbert Ryle: Exorcising Descartes' "Ghost in the Machine"
    38. J.P. Moreland: A Contemporary Defense of Dualism
    39. Paul Churchland: On Functionalism and Materialism
    40. J.J.C. Smart: Sensations and Brain Processes
    41. Thomas Nagel: What Is It Like to Be a Bat?
    42. Jerry A. Fodor: The Mind-Body Problem
    43. David Chalmers: Property Dualism
    44. John Searle: Minds, Brains, and Computers
    45. Ned Block: Troubles with Functionalism
    IV.B. Who Am I? Do We Have Personal Identity?
    46. John Locke: Our Psychological Properties Define the Self
    47. David Hume: We Have No Substantial Self with Which We Are Identical
    48. Baron d'Holbach: We Are Completely Determined
    49. William James: The Dilemma of Determinism
    50. Roderick M. Chisholm: Human Freedom and the Self
    Pro et Contra
    51. Harry Frankfurt: Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person
    52. David Hume: Liberty and Necessity
    * 53. W.T. Stace: Compatibilism
    VI.A. Are There Objective Moral Truths or Is Morality Relative?
    54. Ruth Benedict: Morality Is Relative
    55. James Rachels: Morality Is Not Relative
    VI.B. Ethics and Egoism: Why Should We Be Moral?
    56. Plato: Why Should I Be Moral?: Gyges' Ring and Socrates' Dilemma
    57. Louis P. Pojman: Egoism and Altruism: A Critique of Ayn Rand
    58. Joel Feinberg: Psychological Egoism
    VI.C. Which Is the Correct Ethical Theory?
    59. Immanuel Kant: The Moral Law
    60. John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism
    * 61. Russ Shafer-Landau: Consequentialism: Its Difficulties
    62. Aristotle: The Ethics of Virtue
    63. Virginia Held: The Ethics of Care
    64. Alison M. Jaggar: Feminist Ethics
    65. Annette C. Baier: The Need for More than Justice
    66. Jean-Paul Sartre: Existentialist Ethics
    67. James Rachels: The Divine Command Theory
    68. Thomas Nagel: Moral Luck
    * 69. Susan Wolf: Moral Saints
    VII.A. What Is the Most Just Form of Government?
    70. Robert Paul Wolff: In Defense of Anarchism
    71. Thomas Hobbes: The Absolutist Answer: The Justification of the State Is the Security It Affords
    72. John Locke: The Democratic Answer: The Justification of the State Is Its Promotion of Security and Natural Human Rights
    73. John Stuart Mill: A Classical Liberal Answer: Government Must Promote Freedom
    74. John Rawls: The Contemporary Liberal Answer
    75. Robert Nozick: Against Liberalism
    VII.B. What Is Social Justice?
    76. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Nonviolence and Racial Justice
    77. Susan Moller Okin: Justice, Gender, and Family
    78. Mary Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Women
    79. Epicurus: Moderate Hedonism
    80. Epictetus: Stoicism: Enchiridion
    81. Albert Camus: Life Is Absurd
    82. Julian Baggini: Living Life Forwards
    83. Louis P. Pojman: Religion Gives Meaning to Life
    84. Thomas Nagel: The Absurd
    * 85. Richard Taylor: The Meaning of Life
    * 86. Susan Wolf: Meaning in Life
    IX.A. Is Abortion Morally Permissible?
    87. Don Marquis: Why Abortion Is Immoral
    88. Francis J. Beckwith: Arguments from Bodily Rights
    89. Mary Anne Warren: On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion
    90. Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion
    Pro et Contra
    91. Jane English: The Moderate Position: Beyond the Personhood Argument
    IX.B. Is the Death Penalty Morally Permissible?
    92. Burton Leiser: The Death Penalty Is Permissible
    * 93. Igor Primoratz: A Life for a Life
    *IX.C. Who Is Racist?
    * 94. Lawrence Blum: "Racism": Its Core Meaning
    * 95. Kwame Anthony Appiah: Racisms
    IX.D. Do We Have Obligations to the Poor and Hungry?
    96. Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence, and Morality
    97. Garrett Hardin: Living on a Lifeboat
    Appendix: The Truth About Philosophy Majors
    Appendix: How to Read and Write a Philosophy Paper