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Asking Questions--Seeking Answers

Stephen Stich and Tom Donaldson

Publication Date - 10 August 2018

ISBN: 9780199329960

400 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock

An exceptionally clear, compact, and affordable guide to the fundamental questions--and answers--of Philosophy


Featuring a remarkably clear writing style, Philosophy: Asking Questions--Seeking Answers is a brief and accessible guide designed for students with no prior knowledge of the subject. Written by renowned scholars Stephen Stich and Tom Donaldson, it focuses on the key issues in Western philosophy, presenting balanced coverage of each issue and challenging students to make up their own minds. Each chapter incorporates discussion questions, key terms, a glossary, and suggestions for further readings to help make the material more understandable to novices. Comprehensive enough to be used on its own, Philosophy can also be used as a supplement to any introductory anthology.


  • Comparatively brief chapters provide a compact yet thorough approach to philosophy's biggest issues, including the existence of God and the existence of free will
  • A chapter on the philosophy of mind, "How Is Your Mind Related to Your Body?" (Chapter 10), is largely authored by Stich, a leading authority in the field
  • Comprehensive coverage of ethics spans four chapters (Chapters 12-15) and includes material on metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics
  • An Ancillary Resource Center (ARC) contains a wealth of teaching resources, including an Instructor's Manual; a Computerized Test Bank with multiple-choice, true/false, short-answer, and essay questions; a very complete set of PowerPoint slides refined by Stephen Stich; a glossary of key terms; useful web links; and brief chapter summaries
  • A Companion Website features student resources including self-assessment quizzes, brief chapter summaries, a glossary of key terms, and useful web links

About the Author(s)

Stephen Stich is Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University and an Honorary Professor at the University of Sheffield. Known for his contributions to the philosophy of mind, he is the author of Mindreading (OUP, 2003) and Deconstructing the Mind (OUP, 1996) and many other books.

Tom Donaldson is Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at Simon Fraser University. While receiving his MMathPhil (1st class) in Mathematics and Philosophy at Oxford University, he was awarded the Henry Wilde Prize, the Elizabeth Anscombe Prize, and the Gibbs Prize.


"Philosophy provides a clear, concise, and unintimidating introduction to many of the main areas in mainstream contemporary philosophy. Its examples are vivid and engaging and demonstrate the relevance to everyday life of everything from ethics to epistemology, metaphysics to meaning, and science to the self."--Donovan Wishon, University of Mississippi

"This is a readily accessible text that couches the classic questions of philosophy in contemporary terms without ignoring their historical context. It is ideal for instructors who really want to engage the attention of beginning students."--Phillips Young, Rutgers University and Delaware County Community College

"Philosophy is clear and engaging and right about at the sweet spot for beginning students. I love the glossary and the discussion and comprehension questions."--Will Heusser, Cyprus College

"Philosophy is informative and well written. It is easy to understand and comprehensive enough regarding the points it addresses to make it a good starting place for students." --Stephen H. Daniel, Texas A&M University

"This is a serious and high-quality introduction to philosophy, both theoretical and ethical."-- Joshua Tepley, Saint Anselm College

Table of Contents

    Chapters 3-15 end with a Glossary, Comprehension Questions, Discussion Questions, What to Look at Next, and Notes.
    Chapter 1. What Is Philosophy?
    1. Philosophy Is Everywhere
    2. What Is a Philosophical Question?
    3. The Philosophical Method
    4. Philosophy and Science
    5. Why Bother?
    Discussion Question
    Chapter 2. What Are Arguments, and How Should We Evaluate Them?
    1. Introduction
    2. Premises and Conclusions
    3. Evaluating Arguments
    4. Deductive Validity
    5. Induction and Abduction
    6. Multistep Arguments
    7. Evaluating Multistep Arguments
    8. Some Arguments to Evaluate
    9. Answers to Problems
    What to Look at Next
    Chapter 3. Does God Exist?
    1. Introduction
    2. The First Cause Argument
    3. Some Questions about the First Cause Argument
    4. Leibniz's Cosmological Argument
    5. The Design Argument
    6. Criticisms of the Design Argument
    7. Anselm's Ontological Argument
    8. What, If Anything, Is Wrong with Anselm's Ontological Argument?
    9. A Pragmatic Case for Theism?
    10. Conclusion
    Chapter 4. Why Does God Leave Us to Suffer?
    1. Introduction
    2. Three Logical Puzzles for Theists
    3. Introducing the Problem of Evil
    4. Three Inadequate Responses
    5. Rethinking the Nature of God
    6. Theodicy
    7. Skeptical Theism
    8. Conclusion
    Chapter 5. Can We Be Completely Certain of Anything?
    1. Introduction
    2. Descartes's Project
    3. Certainty Is Hard to Find
    4. Achieving Certainty
    5. Vivid and Clear Perception
    6. Descartes's Theism, and His Solution to the Evil Demon Problem
    7. The Cartesian Circle
    8. Descartes's Legacy
    9. Conclusion
    Chapter 6. Can We Trust Our Senses?
    1. Rationalism and Empiricism
    2. Indirect Realism
    3. Primary and Secondary Qualities
    4. Do Material Objects Really Exist?
    5. Berkeley's Idealism
    6. Direct Realism
    7. Conclusion
    Chapter 7. Will the Sun Rise Tomorrow?
    1. Introduction
    2. Making Predictions
    3. Hume's Problem
    4. The Principle of Uniformity of Nature
    5. Karl Popper
    6. Peter Strawson
    7. Epistemically Basic Beliefs
    8. Beyond Enumerative Induction
    Chapter 8. What Is Knowledge?
    1. Introduction
    2. Three Kinds of Knowledge
    3. Analyzing Propositional Knowledge: The Easy Part--Belief and Truth
    4. Analyzing Propositional Knowledge: The Hard Part--Justification
    5. Foundationalism
    6. Coherentism
    7. Internalism and Externalism
    8. Fallibilism and Skepticism
    9. Gettier Cases--A Challenge to the Justified True Belief Account of Knowledge
    Chapter 9. Do We Have Free Will?
    1. What Is Determinism?
    2. Hard Determinism
    3. Soft Determinism
    4. Libertarianism
    Chapter 10. How Is Your Mind Related to Your Body?
    1. Introduction
    2. Cartesian Dualism
    3. Philosophical Behaviorism
    4. The Mind-Brain Identity Theory
    5. Functionalism
    6. Back to Dualism?
    Chapter 11. Will You Be the Same Person in Ten Years? Could You Survive Death?
    1. The Philosophical Issue and Its Practical Importance
    2. The Soul Theory
    3. Problems for Soul Theory
    4. Memory Theories
    5. Personal Identity and the Brain
    Chapter 12. Are There Objective Truths about Right and Wrong?
    1. Introduction
    2. Objective Truth
    3. The Divine Command Theory
    4. Cultural Relativism
    5. Subjectivism and Expressivism
    6. The Qualified Attitude Theory
    7. Conclusion
    Chapter 13. What Really Matters?
    1. Introduction
    2. Hedonism
    3. Sartre
    4. Susan Wolf on Meaningfulness
    5. Conclusion
    Chapter 14. What Should We Do? (Part I)
    1. Act Consequentialism and Act Utilitarianism
    2. Objections to Act Utilitarianism
    3. Rule Consequentialism and Rule Utilitarianism
    4. Kant's Universalization Test
    5. Kant's Humanity Formula
    6. Comparing Kantianism and Consequentialism
    Chapter 15. What Should We Do? (Part II)
    1. Introduction
    2. Is It Morally Wrong to Go to the Opera While People Are Starving?
    3. Vegetarianism
    4. Is Abortion Morally Wrong?
    Appendix A. Reading and Writing Tips
    Seven Tips on Reading Philosophy
    Eighteen Tips for Writing Philosophy Papers
    Appendix B. The Truth about Philosophy Majors