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The Quest for Truth

Twelfth Edition

Louis Pojman and Lewis Vaughn

Publication Date - January 2023

ISBN: 9780197612811

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

In Stock

The best-selling anthology presents ninety-nine 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, Twelfth Edition, provides a wide-ranging selection of classical and contemporary readings on key
topics in philosophy. The text aims to provide students with a grand tour of the discipline, exposing
them to some of the best work in philosophy of religion, epistemology, philosophy of mind, personal
metaphysics, ethics, political philosophy, the meaning of life, and contemporary moral issues. The
readings on each topic are arranged into pro/con dialogues, making it easy for students to compare and
contrast different philosophical positions.

New to this Edition

  • Seven new readings from Louise Antony, Lewis Vaughn, John Messerly, Sigal R. Ben-Porat, Erwin Chemerinsky & Howard Gillman, Stephen M. Gardiner, and John Broome each with headnotes, study questions, and discussion questions
  • Two new sections in Part IX: "Free Speech and Hate Speech" and "The Ethics of Climate Change."
  • Revised Part VIII: What Is the Meaning of Life?
  • Added Key Terms in chapters and the Glossary


  • 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 Oxford Learning Link (OLL) companion site 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 videos with quizzes, essay questions, interactive reading 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.

Table of Contents

    Time Line
    I. What Is Philosophy?
    The Good of Philosophy
    Philosophical Terrain
    Thinking Philosophically
    Reasons and Arguments
    Fallacious Reasoning
    Identifying Arguments
    Obstacles to Critical Reasoning
    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
    Key Terms
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    II. Philosophy of Religion
    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?
    Key Terms
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    III. Knowledge
    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
    34. Louise Antony: Embodiment and Epistemology
    III.D. Induction
    35. David Hume: Skeptical Doubts Concerning the Operations of the Understanding
    36. Wesley C. Salmon: The Problem of Induction
    Key Terms
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    IV. Philosophy of Mind: The Mind-Body Problem
    IV.A. What Am I? A Mind or a Body?
    37. René Descartes: Substance Dualism
    38. Gilbert Ryle: Exorcising Descartes' "Ghost in the Machine"
    39. J. P. Moreland: A Contemporary Defense of Dualism
    40. Paul Churchland: On Functionalism and Materialism
    41. J. J. C. Smart: Sensations and Brain Processes
    42. Thomas Nagel: What Is It Like to Be a Bat?
    43. Jerry A. Fodor: The Mind-Body Problem
    44. David Chalmers: Property Dualism
    45. John Searle: Minds, Brains, and Computers
    46. Ned Block: Troubles with Functionalism
    IV.B. Who Am I? Do We Have Personal Identity?
    47. John Locke: Our Psychological Properties Define the Self
    48. David Hume: We Have No Substantial Self with Which We Are Identical
    Key Terms
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    V. Freedom of the Will and Determinism
    49. Baron d'Holbach: We Are Completely Determined
    50. William James: The Dilemma of Determinism
    51. Roderick M. Chisholm: Human Freedom and the Self
    Pro et Contra
    52. Harry Frankfurt: Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person
    53. David Hume: Liberty and Necessity
    54. W. T. Stace: Compatibilism
    Key Terms
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    VI. Ethics
    VI.A. Are There Objective Moral Truths or Is Morality Relative?
    55. Ruth Benedict: Morality Is Relative
    56. James Rachels: Morality Is Not Relative
    VI.B. Ethics and Egoism: Why Should We Be Moral?
    57. Plato: Why Should I Be Moral? Gyges' Ring and Socrates' Dilemma
    58. Louis P. Pojman: Egoism and Altruism: A Critique of Ayn Rand
    59. Joel Feinberg: Psychological Egoism
    VI.C. Which Is the Correct Ethical Theory?
    60. Immanuel Kant: The Moral Law
    61. John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism
    62. Russ Shafer-Landau: Consequentialism: Its Difficulties
    63. Aristotle: The Ethics of Virtue 520
    64. Virginia Held: The Ethics of Care
    65. Alison M. Jaggar: Feminist Ethics
    66. Annette C. Baier: The Need for More Than Justice
    67. Lewis Vaughn: Morality Based on Prima Facie Principles
    68. Jean-Paul Sartre: Existentialist Ethics
    69. James Rachels: The Divine Command Theory
    70. Thomas Nagel: Moral Luck
    71. Susan Wolf: Moral Saints
    Key Terms
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    VII. Political Philosophy and Justice
    VII.A. What Is the Most Just Form of Government?
    72. Robert Paul Wolff: In Defense of Anarchism
    73. Thomas Hobbes: The Absolutist Answer: The Justification of the State Is the Security It Affords
    74. John Locke: The Democratic Answer: The Justification of the State Is Its Promotion of Security and Natural Human Rights
    75. John Stuart Mill: A Classical Liberal Answer: Government Must Promote Freedom
    76. John Rawls: The Contemporary Liberal Answer
    77. Robert Nozick: Against Liberalism
    VII.B. What Is Social Justice?
    78. Martin Luther King Jr.: Nonviolence and Racial Justice
    79. Susan Moller Okin: Justice, Gender, and the Family
    80. Mary Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Women
    Key Terms
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    VIII. What Is the Meaning of Life?
    81. Epicurus: Moderate Hedonism
    82. Epictetus: Stoicism: Enchiridion
    83. Albert Camus: Life Is Absurd
    84. Julian Baggini: Living Life Forwards
    85. John Messerly: The Ascent of Meaning
    86. Thomas Nagel: The Absurd
    87. Richard Taylor: The Meaning of Life
    88. Susan Wolf: Meaning in Life
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    IX. Contemporary Moral Problems
    IX.A. Is Abortion Morally Permissible?
    89. Don Marquis: Why Abortion Is Immoral
    90. Francis J. Beckwith: Arguments from Bodily Rights
    91. Mary Anne Warren: On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion
    92. Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion
    Pro et Contra
    93. Jane English: The Moderate Position: Beyond the Personhood Argument
    IX.B. Free Speech and Hate Speech
    94. Sigal R. Ben-Porath: Free Speech on Campus
    95. Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman: Hate Speech
    IX.C. Who Is a Racist?
    96. Lawrence Blum: "Racism": Its Core Meaning
    97. Kwame Anthony Appiah: Racisms
    IX.D. The Ethics of Climate Change
    98. Stephen M. Gardiner: A Perfect Moral Storm: Climate Change
    99. John Broome: The Public and Private Morality of Climate Change
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    The Truth about Philosophy Majors
    How to Read and Write Philosophy Papers