8th Edition

Core Questions in Philosophy

By Elliott Sober Copyright 2021
    364 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    364 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Writtten in an engaging lecture-style format, this 8th edition of Core Questions in Philosophy shows students how philosophy is best used to evaluate many different kinds of arguments and to construct sound theories. Well-known historical texts are discussed, not as a means to honor the dead or merely to describe 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. Text boxes highlight key concepts, and review questions, discussion questions, and a glossary of terms are also included. 

    Core Questions in Philosophy has served as a premier introductory textbook for three decades, with updates to each new edition.  

    Key updates to this 8th edition include: 

    • A new chapter, "Probability and Bayes' Theorem"
    • A new explanation of the concept of "soundness," as a useful tool in assessing arguments

    • A clearer explanation, in the chapter on evolution, of the crucial biological idea that the similarities of different species provide evidence of their common ancestry
    • A new discussion of evolutionary altruism in the chapter on psychological egoism 
    • A presentation of two interesting arguments from historically important Islamic and Confusian philosophers
    • Improved clarity and updated material from philosophy and empirical research, throughout  

    Revisions to the online list of recommended resources include: 

    • Additional recommendations of supplementary readings, with the inclusion of more work from female philosophers 
    • New recommended videos and podcasts, all organized by their relevance to each chapter in the book 



    Part I: Introduction

    1. What Is Philosophy?

    2. Deductive Arguments

    3. Inductive and Abductive Arguments

    Part II: 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

    Part III: 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

    19. Probability and Bayes’s Theorem

    Part IV: Philosophy of Mind

    20. Dualism and the Mind/Body Problem

    21. Logical Behaviorism

    22. Methodological Behaviorism

    23. The Mind/Brain Identity Theory

    24. Functionalism

    25. Freedom, Determinism, and Causality

    26. A Menu of Positions on Free Will

    27. Compatibilism

    28. Psychological Egoism

    Part V: Ethics

    29. Ethics—Normative and Meta

    30. The Is/Ought Gap and the Naturalistic Fallacy

    31. Observation and Explanation in Ethics

    32. Conventionalist Theories

    33. Utilitarianism

    34. Kant’s Moral Theory

    35. Aristotle on the Good Life



    Elliott Sober is Hans Reichenbach Professor and William F. Vilas Research Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His most recent book is The Design Argument (2018). 

    Praise for the previous edition:

    "A really excellent introduction to philosophy does the following: meets the student at their level, then takes them up a notch, and approaches traditional topics in unique and interesting ways. This book does those things."
    Fred Adams, University of Delaware