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Core Questions in Philosophy: A Text with Readings, 6th Edition

By Elliott Sober

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Sep 25, 2012


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Applying philosophy to everyday life.


Core Questions in Philosophy emphasizes the idea that philosophy is a subject de­voted to evaluating arguments and constructing theories.


Presented in an engaging lecture-style format, this text/reader focuses on the basic issues and ideas in philosophy with lectures/discussions, supported by readings from historically important sources. Discussions emphasize the logic of philosophical arguments and how they relate to the content of modern physical and social sciences.


Teaching & Learning Experience

The teaching and learning experience with this program helps to:

  • Improve Critical ThinkingReview questions at the end of each chapter allow students to review what they’ve just learned and think critically about related problems.
  • Engage StudentsFollowing a lecture format, the text portion is written in an engaging conversational tone.
  • Explore TheoryEmphasis on evaluating arguments and constructing theories.
  • Support Instructors – An instructor’s manual, test bank, MyTest Test Bank, and PowerPoint presentation provide more teaching resources.


Table of Contents

Part 1:  Introduction
Chapter 1:    What Is Philosophy?
          Reading: What is Philosophy - Bertrand Russell

Chapter 2:    Deductive Arguments

Chapter 3:    Inductive and Abductive Arguments


Part 2: The Philosophy of Religion
Chapter 4:    Aquinas’s First Four Ways
          Reading:  Five Ways to Prove That God Exists - Saint Thomas Aquinas
Chapter 5:    The Design Argument
          Readings: The Design Argument - William Paley
                        Critique of the Design Argument - David Hume
Chapter 6:    Evolution and Creationism
Chapter 7:    Can Science Explain Everything?
Chapter 8:    The Ontological Argument
          Reading: Debate - Saint Anselm and Gaunilo
Chapter 9:    Is the Existence of God Testable?
          Reading: The Meaninglessness of Religious Discourse - Alfred Jules Ayer
Chapter 10:  Pascal and Irrationality
          Readings: Belief in God – What Do You Have to Lose? - Blaise Pascal
                        The Will to Believe - William James
Chapter 11:  The Argument from Evil


Part 3: Theory of Knowledge
Chapter 12:  What Is Knowledge?
          Reading: The Theaetetus — Knowledge is Something More than True Belief Plato
Chapter 13:  Descartes’ Foundationalism
          Reading: Meditations on First Philosophy, 1-5 - René Descartes
Chapter 14:  The Reliability Theory of Knowledge
Chapter 15:  Justified Belief and Hume’s Problem of Induction
          Reading: Induction Cannot Be Rationally Justified - David Hume
Chapter 16:  Can Hume’s Skepticism Be Refuted?
Chapter 17:   Beyond Foundationalism
Chapter 18:  Locke on the Existence of External Objects
          Readings: The External World Probably Exists - Hans Reichenbach
                        Yada yada - John Locke


Part 4:  Philosophy of Mind
Chapter 19:  Dualism and the Mind/Body Problem
          Reading: Meditations on First Philosophy, 6 - René Descartes
Chapter 20:  Logical Behaviorism
          Reading: Other Minds Are Known by Analogy from One’s Own Case -Bertrand Russell
Chapter 21:  Methodological Behaviorism
Chapter 22:  The Mind/Brain Identity Theory
Chapter 23:  Functionalism
Chapter 24:  Freedom, Determinism, and Causality
Chapter 25:  A Menu of Positions on Free Will
          Readings: Determinism Shows That Free Will Is an Illusion - Baron D’Holbach
                        Of Liberty and Necessity - David Hume
                        Has the Self “Free Will”? - C. A. Campbell
Chapter 26:  Compatibilism
Chapter 27:  Psychological Egoism
          Reading: What Motivates People to Act Justly? - Plato


Part 5: Ethics
Chapter 28:  Ethics–Normative and Meta
Chapter 29:  The Is/Ought Gap and the Naturalistic Fallacy
Chapter 30:  Observation and Explanation in Ethics
Chapter 31:   Conventionalist Theories
          Readings: The Euthyphro — A Critique of the Divine Command Theory- Plato
                        Existentialism - Jean-Paul Sartre
Chapter 32:  Utilitarianism
          Readings: Defense of Utilitarianism - John Stuart Mill
                        Principle of Utility - Jeremy Bentham
                        On Liberty- John Stuart Mill
Chapter 33:  Kant’s Moral Theory
          Reading Ethics Founded on Reason Immanuel Kant
Chapter 34:   Aristotle on the Good Life