Problems from Philosophy

ISBN-10: 0073535893
ISBN-13: 9780073535890
Edition: 3rd 2012
Description: Problems from Philosophy is an introduction to philosophy which is organized around the great philosophical problemsthe existence of God, the nature of the mind, human freedom, the limits of knowledge, and the truth about ethics. It begins by  More...
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List Price: $105.33
Edition: 3rd
Copyright Year: 2012
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
Publication Date: 1/18/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 224
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.30" long x 0.40" tall
Weight: 1.276

Problems from Philosophy is an introduction to philosophy which is organized around the great philosophical problemsthe existence of God, the nature of the mind, human freedom, the limits of knowledge, and the truth about ethics. It begins by reflecting on the life of the first great philosopher, Socrates. Then it takes up the fundamental question of whether God exists. Next comes a discussion of death and the soul, which leads to a chapter about persons. The later chapters of the book are about whether objective knowledge is possible in science and ethics. Each chapter is self-contained and may be read independently of the others. Problems from Philosophyrepresents the final work of author and philosopher James Rachels. In it, he brings the same liveliness and clarity to the introduction of philosophy that he brings to his best-selling ethics text, The Elements of Moral Philosophy. The second and third edition have been revised by Rachels' son Stuart, who carefully has carefully refined his father's work to further strengthen its clarity and accessibility.

James Rachels, the distinguished American moral philosopher, was born in Columbus, Georgia, graduating from Mercer University in Macon in 1962. He received his Ph.D. in 1967 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He taught at the University of Richmond, New York University, the University of Miami, Duke University, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he spent the last twenty-six years of his career. 1971 saw the publication of Rachels’ groundbreaking textbook Moral Problems, which ignited the movement in America away from teaching ethical theory towards teaching concrete practical issues. Moral Problems sold 100,000 copies over three editions. In 1975, Rachels wrote “Active and Passive Euthanasia,” arguing that the distinction so important in the law between killing and letting die has no rational basis. Originally appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine, this essay has been reprinted roughly 300 times and is a staple of undergraduate education. The End of Life (1986) was about the morality of killing and the value of life. Created from Animals (1990) argued that a Darwinian world-view has widespread philosophical implications, including drastic implications for our treatment of nonhuman animals. Can Ethics Provide Answers? (1997) was Rachels’ first collection of papers (others are expected posthumously). Rachels’ McGraw-Hill textbook, The Elements of Moral Philosophy, is now in its fourth edition and is easily the best-selling book of its kind.Over his career, Rachels wrote 5 books and 85 essays, edited 7 books and gave about 275 professional lectures. His work has been translated into Dutch, Italian, Japanese, and Serbo-Croatian. James Rachels is widely admired as a stylist, as his prose is remarkably free of jargon and clutter. A major theme in his work is that reason can resolve difficult moral issues. He has given reasons for moral vegetarianism and animal rights, for affirmative action (including quotas), for the humanitarian use of euthanasia, and for the idea that parents owe as much moral consideration to other people’s children as they do to their own.James Rachels died of cancer on September 5th, 2003, in Birmingham, Alabama.

STUART RACHELS is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama. He has revisedseveral of James Rachels’ books, including Problems from Philosophy (second edition, 2009) and The Right Thing to Do (fifth edition, 2010), which is the companion anthology to this book. Stuart won the United States Chess Championship in 1989, at the age of 20, and he is a Bronze Life Master at bridge. His website is

The Legacy of Socrates
Why Was Socrates Condemned?
Why Did Socrates Believe He Had to Die?
God and the Origin of the Universe
Is It Reasonable to Believe in God?
The Argument from Design
Evolution and Intelligent Design
The First Cause Argument
The Idea That God Is a Necessary Being
The Problem of Evil
Why Do Good People Suffer?
God and Evil
Free Will and Moral Character
Do we Survive Death?
The Idea of an Immortal Soul
Is There Any Credible Evidence of an Afterlife?
Hume's Argument against Miracles
The Problem of Personal Identity
The Problem
Personhood at a Time
Personhood over Time
Bodily Continuity
Body and Mind
Descartes and Elizabeth
Materialist Theories of the Mind
Doubts about Materialist Theories
Could a Machine Think?
Brains and Computers
An Argument That Machines Could Think
The Turing Test
Why the Turing Test Fails
The Case Against Free Will
Are People Responsible for What They Do?
Genes and Behavior
The Debate Over Free Will
The Determinist Argument
The Libertarian Response
The Compatibilist Response
Ethics and Free Will
Our Knowledge of the World Around US
Vats and Demons
What Evidence for These Views Might Be Like
Descartes' Theological Response
Direct vs. Indirect Realism
Vision and the Brain
Ethics and Objectivity
Thrasymachus's Challenge
Is Ethics Just a Matter of Social Conventions?
Ethics and Science
The Importance of Human Interests
Why Should we be Moral?
The Ring of Gyges
Ethics and Religion
The Social Contract
Morality and Benevolence
The Meaning of Life
The Problem of the Point of View
Religion and the Indifferent Universe
The Meaning of Particular Lives
Appendix: How to Evaluate Arguments
Notes on Sources Index

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