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The Quest For Truth

Ninth Edition

Edited by Louis P. Pojman and Lewis Vaughn

Publication Date - September 2013

ISBN: 9780199981083

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

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $89.95

This best-selling anthology presents ninety-one 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 provides an excellent selection of ninety-one classical and contemporary readings--on nineteen key problems in philosophy--carefully organized so that they present pro/con dialogues that allow students to compare and contrast the philosophers' positions. Each of the readings 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. In addition, each major section opens with a substantial introduction and ends with a short bibliography.

New to this Edition

  • 10 new readings, including: William L. Rowe: The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism (#15); G. E. Moore: Proof of an External World (#28); J. J. C. Smart: Sensations and Brain Processes (#40); Joel Feinberg: Psychological Egoism (#60); Alison M. Jaggar: Feminist Ethics (#64); Annette C. Baier: The Need for More than Justice (#65); Robert Nozick: Against Liberalism (#73); Francis J. Beckwith: Arguments from Bodily Rights (#82); Sam Schulman: Gay Marriage-and Marriage (#88); Jonathan Rauch: For Better or Worse? (#89). All additional material selected based on reviewer suggestions to include more readings by female and feminist authors, selections on same-sex marriage, and articles regarded as classics.
  • A new section in Part IX: Contemporary Moral Problems, entitled "Should Society Permit Same-Sex Marriage?" A hotly debated topic.
  • A completely revised section introduction for Part V: Freedom of the Will and Determinism, to update and clarify the terminology and concepts used in the contemporary free will debate.
  • Revised and updated ancillaries.

About the Author(s)

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.

Lewis Vaughn is the author or coauthor of several books including Philosophy Here and Now, The Moral Life, Fifth Edition, and The Power of Critical Thinking, Fourth Edition, all published in 2013 by Oxford University Press.

Previous Publication Date(s)

December 2010
May 2008
August 2005


"Philosophy: The Quest for Truth is phenomenal. I would recommend it to any professor or instructor teaching an introductory class in philosophy."--Joshua Rollins, University of Oklahoma

"I am especially impressed with the variety of resources designed to facilitate students' interaction with and understanding of the material."--Jason Miller, Florida State University

"The writing style is great. Clear, concise, and informative. I love it."--Thad Botham, Arizona State University

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
    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
    Excursus: A Little Bit of Logic
    Deductive and Inductive Reasoning
    Inference to the Best Explanation
    Identifying Arguments
    Some Applications
    Fallacies of Reasoning
    Exercises in Critical Reasoning
    Study and Discussion Questions
    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. Antony Flew, R.M. Hare, and Basil Mitchell: A Debate on the Rationality of Religious Belief
    20. Alvin Plantinga: Religious Belief Without Evidence
    21. Søren Kierkegaard: Faith and Truth
    22. Michael Martin: Holy Spirit Epistemology
    23. Bertrand Russell: Can Religion Cure Our Troubles?
    III.A. What Can We Know? Classical Theories of Knowledge
    24. René Descartes: Cartesian Doubt and the Search for Foundational Knowledge
    25. John Locke: The Empiricist Theory of Knowledge
    26. George Berkeley: An Idealist Theory of Knowledge
    27. David Hume: The Origin of Our Ideas
    * 28. G.E. Moore: Proof of an External World
    III.B. Truth, Rationality, and Cognitive Relativism
    29. Bertrand Russell: The Correspondence Theory of Truth
    30. William James: The Pragmatic Theory of Truth
    31. Richard Rorty: Dismantling Truth: Solidarity versus Objectivity
    32. Daniel Dennett: Postmodernism and Truth
    33. Harvey Siegel: Relativism
    III.C. 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. René Descartes: 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. Buddhist Scripture: Questions to King Milinda
    49. Baron d'Holbach: We Are Completely Determined
    50. William James: The Dilemma of Determinism
    51. Peter van Inwagen: The Powers of Rational Beings: Freedom of the Will
    52. Roderick M. Chisholm: Human Freedom and the Self
    Pro et Contra
    53. W.T. Stace: Compatibilism
    54. Harry Frankfurt: Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person
    55. David Hume: Liberty and Necessity
    VI.A. Are There Any Moral Absolutes or Is Morality Completely Relative?
    56. Ruth Benedict: Morality Is Relative
    57. James Rachels: Morality Is Not Relative
    VI.B. Ethics and Egoism: Why Should We Be Moral?
    58. Plato: Why Should I Be Moral?: Gyges' Ring and Socrates' Dilemma
    59. Louis P. Pojman: Egoism and Altruism: A Critique of Ayn Rand
    60. Joel Feinberg: Psychological Egoism
    VI.C. Which Is the Correct Ethical Theory?
    61. Immanuel Kant: The Moral Law
    62. John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism
    63. Aristotle: The Ethics of Virtue
    * 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. Robert Paul Wolff: In Defense of Anarchism
    69. Thomas Hobbes: The Absolutist Answer: The Justification of the State Is the Security It Affords
    70. John Locke: The Democratic Answer: The Justification of the State Is Its Promotion of Security and Natural Human Rights
    71. John Stuart Mill: A Classical Liberal Answer: Government Must Promote Freedom
    72. John Rawls: The Contemporary Liberal Answer
    * 73. Robert Nozick: Against Liberalism
    74. Epicurus: Moderate Hedonism
    75. Epictetus: Stoicism: Enchiridion
    76. Albert Camus: Life Is Absurd
    77. Julian Baggini: Living Life Forwards
    78. Louis P. Pojman: Religion Gives Meaning to Life
    79. Thomas Nagel: The Absurd
    80. Bertrand Russell: Reflections on Suffering
    IX.A. Is Abortion Morally Permissible?
    81. Don Marquis: Why Abortion Is Immoral
    * 82. Francis J. Beckwith: Arguments from Bodily Rights
    83. Mary Anne Warren: On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion
    84. Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion
    Pro et Contra
    85. Jane English: The Moderate Position: Beyond the Personhood Argument
    IX.B. Is the Death Penalty Morally Permissible?
    86. Burton Leiser: The Death Penalty Is Permissible
    87. Hugo Adam Bedau: No, the Death Penalty Is Not Morally Permissible
    *IX.C. Should Society Permit Same-Sex Marriage?
    * 88. Sam Schulman: Gay Marriage--and Marriage
    * 89. Jonathan Rauch: For Better or Worse?
    IX.D. Do We Have Obligations to the Poor and Hungry?
    90. Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence and Morality
    91. Garrett Hardin: Living on a Lifeboat
    Appendix: How to Read and Write a Philosophy Paper