Core Questions in Philosophy: A Text with Readings, 7th Edition (Paperback) book cover

Core Questions in Philosophy

A Text with Readings, 7th Edition

By Elliott Sober


360 pages | 24 B/W Illus.

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Writing in an engaging lecture-style format, Elliott Sober shows students how philosophy is best used to evaluate many different kinds of arguments and to construct sound theories. Well known historical texts are included, not as a means to honor the dead or merely to discuss what various philosophers have thought, but to engage with, criticize, and even improve ideas from the past. In addition - because philosophy cannot function apart from its engagement with the wider society - traditional and contemporary philosophical problems are brought into dialogue with the physical, biological, and social sciences.

Core Questions in Philosophy has served as a premier introductory textbook for more than two decades, with updates to each new edition. New improvements to this 7th Edition includes a new Routledge eResource featuring:

  • Updated Supplementary Readings, with the inclusion of more work from women philosophers
  • New videos and podcasts, organized by their relevance to each chapter in the book.

Table of Contents


Part 1: Introduction

1. What Is Philosophy?

2. Deductive Arguments

3. Inductive and Abductive Arguments

Suggestions for Further Reading

Part 2: Philosophy of Religion

4. Aquinas’s First Four Ways

5. The Design Argument

6. Evolution and Creationism

7. Can Science Explain Everything?

8. The Ontological Argument

9. Is the Existence of God Testable?

10. Pascal and Irrationality

11. The Argument from Evil

Suggestions for Further Reading


Five Ways to Prove That God Exists Thomas Aquinas

The Design Argument William Paley

Critique of the Design Argument David Hume

The Ontological Argument Anselm

The Meaninglessness of Religious Discourse A.J. Ayer

Belief in God—What Do You Have to Lose? Blaise Pascal

The Will to Believe William James

Part 3: Theory of Knowledge

12. What Is Knowledge? 

13. Descartes’ Foundationalism

14. The Reliability Theory of Knowledge

15. Justified Belief and Hume’s Problem of Induction

16. Can Hume’s Skepticism Be Refuted?

17. Beyond Foundationalism

18. Locke on the Existence of External Objects

Suggestions for Further Reading


The Theaetetus—Knowledge Is Something More than True Belief Plato

Meditations on First Philosophy René Descartes

Induction Cannot Be Rationally Justified David Hume

Essay Concerning Human Understanding John Locke

Part 4: Philosophy of Mind

19. Dualism and the Mind/Body Problem

20. Logical Behaviorism

21. Methodological Behaviorism

22. The Mind/Brain Identity Theory

23. Functionalism

24. Freedom, Determinism, and Causality

25. A Menu of Positions on Free Will

26. Compatibilism

27. Psychological Egoism

Suggestions for Further Reading


Meditation VI René Descartes

Other Minds Are Known by Analogy from One’s Own Case Bertrand Russell

Has the Self "Free Will"? C.A. Campbell

Determinism Shows that Free Will Is an Illusion Baron d’Holbach

Of Liberty and Necessity David Hume

What Motivates People to Act Justly? Plato

Part 5: Ethics

28. Ethics—Normative and Meta

29. The Is/Ought Gap and the Naturalistic Fallacy

30. Observation and Explanation in Ethics

31. Conventionalist Theories

32. Utilitarianism

33. Kant’s Moral Theory

34. Aristotle on the Good Life

Suggestions for Further Reading


The Euthyphro - A Critique of the Divine Command Theory Plato

Existentialism Jean-Paul Sartre

Defense of Utilitarianism John Stuart Mill

Ethics Founded on Reason Immanuel Kant

Morality and Human Nature Aristotle

Famine, Affluence, and Morality Peter Singer.



About the Author

Elliott Sober is a professor of philosophy at University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA. He is the author of Ockham’s Razors: A User’s Manual (2015).

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