In the decades since Robert Nozick posed his now famous thought experiment involving the experience machine, philosophers have taken his treatment as conclusive. A review of the literature finds almost no one who has argued that people would choose the experience machine. To find such unanunity among philosophers is unexpected. But the situation is especially surprising because Nozick's conclusion appears mistaken. In support of this view, we offer three different sorts of reasons why persons would be inclined to choose the (...) experience machine. We illustrate these reasons by the use of numerous examples at least as plausible as the experience machine itself. (shrink)
In 1962, the philosopher Richard Taylor used six commonly accepted presuppositions to imply that human beings have no control over the future. David Foster Wallace not only took issue with Taylor's method, which, according to him, scrambled the relations of logic, language, and the physical world, but also noted a semantic trick at the heart of Taylor's argument. -/- Fate, Time, and Language presents Wallace's brilliant critique of Taylor's work. Written long before the publication of his fiction and essays, Wallace's (...) thesis reveals his great skepticism of abstract thinking made to function as a negation of something more genuine and real. He was especially suspicious of certain paradigms of thought-the cerebral aestheticism of modernism, the clever gimmickry of postmodernism-that abandoned "the very old traditional human verities that have to do with spirituality and emotion and community." As Wallace rises to meet the challenge to free will presented by Taylor, we witness the developing perspective of this major novelist, along with his struggle to establish solid logical ground for his convictions. This volume, edited by Steven M. Cahn and Maureen Eckert, reproduces Taylor's original article and other works on fatalism cited by Wallace. James Ryerson's introduction connects Wallace's early philosophical work to the themes and explorations of his later fiction, and Jay Garfield supplies a critical biographical epilogue. (shrink)
Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology, Second Edition, is a remarkably accessible and engaging introduction to philosophy. Steven M. Cahn brings together extraordinarily clear, recent essays by noted philosophers and supplements them with influential historical sources. Most importantly, the articles have been carefully edited to make them understandable to every reader. The topics are drawn from the major fields of philosophy and include knowledge and skepticism, freedom and determinism, mind and body, the existence of God, the problem of evil, cultural relativism, (...) abortion, euthanasia, democracy, capital punishment, affirmative action, and the meaning of life. Exploring Philosophy, Second Edition, contains, in preeminent translations and with explanatory notes, the complete texts of Plato's Meno, Euthyphro, Defence of Socrates, and Crito as well as specially selected materials by Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Hume, Kant, and Mill. The second edition has been expanded to present the material on knowledge and mind in two separate sections; the latter contains an essay on artificial intelligence by John Searle and updated selections on the mind-body problem by Thomas Nagel, Gilbert Ryle, and Richard Taylor. This edition also adds essays by Simon Blackburn, Martin Luther King, Jr., Norman Malcolm, and Robert McKim, and additional excerpts from Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. An introduction to logic and scientific method and guiding commentary by the editor are also provided. Exploring Philosophy, Second Edition, is a landmark collection that enables all readers to appreciate for themselves the importance and fascination of philosophical inquiry. (shrink)
What are the inherent claims that lie at the core of religion? Which of them are defensible by reason, and which are not? Potential answers to these questions and more, from influential philosophers past and present, may be found in this short book edited by Steven M. Cahn. Featuring fifty-two classic and contemporary readings, Exploring Philosophy of Religion: Text and Readings is a topically-organized anthology that presents broad coverage of seven major areas in the philosophy of religion - the concept (...) of God, the existence of God, religious language, miracles and mysticism, belief in God, resurrection and immortality, and religious pluralism - in a clear and accessible format. With guiding introductory material from Professor Cahn, each of the readings has been carefully selected and edited for maximum clarity and comprehensiveness; only the most essential material is included. To further foster understanding, the text also features an appendix consisting of Professor Cahn's monograph, God, Reason, and Religion, which provides a synthesis and interpretation of the crucial issues raised throughout the readings. (shrink)
The most comprehensive collection of its kind, Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues, Third Edition, is organized into three parts, providing instructors with flexibility in designing and teaching a variety of courses in moral philosophy. The first part, Historical Sources, moves from classical thought (Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and Epictetus) through medieval views (Augustine and Aquinas) to modern theories (Hobbes, Butler, Hume, Kant, Bentham, and Mill), culminating with leading nineteenth- and twentieth-century thinkers (Nietzsche, James, Dewey, Camus, and Sartre). The second part, (...) Modern Ethical Theory, includes many of the most important essays of the past century. The discussion of utilitarianism, Kantianism, egoism, and relativism continues in the work of major contemporary philosophers (Foot, Brandt, Williams, Wolf, and Nagel). Landmark selections (Moore, Prichard, Ross, Ayer, Stevenson, Hare, Baier, Anscombe, Gauthier, and Harman) reflect concern with moral language and the justification of morality. The concepts of justice (Rawls) and rights (Feinberg) are explored, as well as recent views on the importance of virtue ethics (Rachels) and an ethic influenced by feminist concerns (Held). In the third part, Contemporary Moral Problems, the readings present the current debates over abortion, euthanasia, famine relief, animal rights, the death penalty, and whether numbers should play a role in making moral decisions. The third edition expands Part II, Modern Ethical Theory, adding essays by Onora O'Neill, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Allan Gibbard, Nicholas L. Sturgeon, and Martha Nussbaum. Part III, Contemporary Moral Problems, features new essays on abortion by Mary Anne Warren, Don Marquis, and Rosalind Hursthouse; an essay on the death penalty by Stephen Nathanson; and a debate between John M. Taurek and Derek Parfit on when and why one should save from harm a greater rather than a lesser number of people. The book concludes with an essay by Judith Jarvis Thomson on the trolley problem. Wherever possible, each reading is printed in its entirety. (shrink)
From Plato's Ion to works by contemporary philosophers, this anthology showcases classic texts to illuminate the development of philosophical thought about art and the aesthetic. This volume is the most comprehensive collection of readings on aesthetics and the philosophy of art currently available.
The Elements of Philosophy: Readings from Past and Present is a comprehensive collection of historical and contemporary readings across the major fields of philosophy. With depth and quality, this introductory anthology offers a selection of readings that is both extensive and expansive; the readings span twenty-five centuries. They are organized topically into five parts: Religion and Belief, Moral and Political Philosophy, Metaphysics and Epistemology, Philosophy of Mind and Language, and Life and Death. The product of the collaboration of three highly (...) respected scholars in their fields - Tamar Szabó Gendler, Susanna Siegel, and Steven M. Cahn - The Elements of Philosophy also includes introductions from the editors, explanatory footnotes, and a glossary. (shrink)
Featuring nine new articles chosen by coeditor Steven M. Cahn, the third edition of E. D. Klemke's The Meaning of Life offers twenty-two insightful selections that explore this fascinating topic. The essays are primarily by philosophers but also include materials from literary figures and religious thinkers. As in previous editions, the readings are organized around three themes. In Part I the articles defend the view that without faith in God, life has no meaning or purpose. In Part II the selections (...) oppose this claim, defending instead a nontheistic, humanistic alternative--that life can have meaning even in the absence of theistic commitment. In Part III the contributors ask whether the question of the meaning of life is itself meaningful. The third edition adds substantial essays by Moritz Schlick, Joel Feinberg, and John Kekes as well as selections from the writings of Louis P. Pojman, Emil L. Fackenheim, Robert Nozick, Susan Wolf, and Steven M. Cahn. The only anthology of its kind, The Meaning of Life: A Reader, Third Edition, is ideal for courses in introduction to philosophy, human nature, and the meaning of life. It also offers general readers an accessible and stimulating introduction to the subject. (shrink)
I suggest that in teaching about God we remind students of the following four essential points: (1) belief in the existence of God is not a necessary condition for religious commitment; (2) belief in the existence of God is not a sufficient condition for religious commitment; (3) the existence of God is not the only supernatural hypothesis that merits serious discussion; and (4) a successful defense of traditional theism requires not only that it be more plausible than atheism or agnosticism (...) but also that it be more plausible than all other supernatural alternatives. (shrink)
Ideal for survey courses in social and political philosophy, this volume is a substantially abridged and slightly altered version of Steven M. Cahn's Classics of Political and Moral Philosophy (OUP, 2001). Offering coverage from antiquity to the present, Political Philosophy: The Essential Texts is a historically organized collection of the most significant works from nearly 2,500 years of political philosophy. It moves from classical thought (Plato, Aristotle) through the medieval period (Aquinas) to modern perspectives (Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Adam (...) Smith, Hamilton and Madison, Kant). The book includes work from major nineteenth-century thinkers (Hegel, Marx and Engels, Mill) and twentieth-century theorists (Rawls, Nozick, Foucault, Habermas, Nussbaum) and also presents a variety of notable documents and addresses, including the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and speeches by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. The readings are substantial or complete texts, not fragments. An especially valuable feature of this volume is that the works of each author are introduced with an engaging essay by a leading contemporary authority. These introductions include Richard Kraut on Plato and Aristotle; Paul J. Weithman on Aquinas; Roger D. Masters on Machiavelli; Jean Hampton on Hobbes; A. John Simmons on Locke; Joshua Cohen on Rousseau and Rawls; Donald W. Livingston on Hume; Charles L. Griswold, Jr., on Adam Smith; Bernard E. Brown on Hamilton and Madison; Paul Guyer on Kant; Steven B. Smith on Hegel; Richard Miller on Marx and Engels; Jeremy Waldron on Mill; Thomas Christiano on Nozick; Thomas A. McCarthy on Foucault and Habermas; and Eva Feder Kittay on Nussbaum. (shrink)
Offering a new approach to teaching the philosophy of religion, this anthology is organized around ten of the most widely read texts in the field. Presented in their entirety, these classics serve as a framework for a variety of accessible contemporary essays that are also included. The book's unique structure gives students the opportunity to study in depth complete historical works while also conveying a sense of how today's philosophers have explored related issues. Editor Steven M. Cahn has annotated each (...) text to clarify all unfamiliar references. He has also provided introductions that contain biographical profiles of the authors and philosophical commentaries on their writings. Ten Essential Texts in the Philosophy of Religion: Classics and Contemporary Issues may be supplemented by Questions about God: Today's Philosophers Ponder the Divine, a provocative collection of recent articles on the nature of God, edited by Steven M. Cahn and David Shatz (OUP, 2002). Ten Essential Texts in the Philosophy of Religion includes the following unabridged classic works: Euthyphro, Plato The Consolation of Philosophy (V), Boethius Proslogion, Anselm; On Behalf of the Fool, Gaunilo; and Reply to Gaunilo, Anselm Summa Theologiae, Thomas Aquinas Of Miracles, David Hume Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, David Hume Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Soren Kierkegaard The Will to Believe, William James The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James Theology and Falsification, Antony Flew, R.M. Hare, and Basil Mitchell. (shrink)
Ten of the most widely read works on philosophy of religion are collected in this volume. Structured around these classic texts, this book includes a number of essays to provide students with a sense of the way philosophers think today about the central issues of philosophy of religion.
Philosophy for the 21st Century, an introductory anthology, is an extraordinarily comprehensive collection of historical and contemporary readings. It covers all major fields, including not only metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and philosophy of religion, but also philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, political philosophy, and philosophy of art. This volume is unique in drawing on the judgments of a new generation of scholars, each of whom has chosen the articles and provided the introduction for one section of the (...) book. These associate editors--Delia Graff, Robin Jeshion, L. A. Paul, Jesse Prinz, Stuart Rachels, Gabriela Sakamoto, David Sosa, and Cynthia A. Stark--are at the forefront of 21st-century philosophy. Their selections include the work of such leading contemporary thinkers as Nancy Cartwright, Saul Kripke, David Lewis, Thomas Nagel, Robert Nozick, Derek Parfit, and Sydney Shoemaker, along with classic works from 2500 years of philosophy. The book has been structured to maximize continuity, and an introductory essay by Simon Blackburn explains the tools of symbolic logic. This groundbreaking volume sets a new standard for introducing students to the importance and fascination of philosophical inquiry. (shrink)
Classics of Political and Moral Philosophy provides in one volume the major writings from nearly 2,500 years of political and moral philosophy. The most comprehensive collection of its kind, it moves from classical thought (Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Cicero) through medieval views (Augustine, Aquinas) to modern perspectives (Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Adam Smith, Kant). It includes major nineteenth-century thinkers (Hegel, Bentham, Mill, Nietzsche) as well as twentieth-century theorists (Rawls, Nozick, Nagel, Foucault, Habermas, Nussbaum). Also included are numerous essays from (...) The Federalist Papers and a variety of notable documents and addresses, among them Pericles' Funeral Oration, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and speeches by Edmund Burke, Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, John Dewey, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The readings are substantial or complete texts, not fragments. An especially valuable feature of this volume is that the works of each author are introduced with a substantive and engaging essay by a leading contemporary authority. These introductions include Richard Kraut on Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and Cicero; Paul J. Weithman on Augustine and Aquinas; Roger D. Masters on Machiavelli; Jean Hampton on Hobbes; Steven B. Smith on Spinoza and Hegel; A. John Simmons on Locke; Joshua Cohen on Rousseau and Rawls; Donald W. Livingston on Hume; Charles L. Griswold, Jr., on Smith; Bernard E. Brown on Hamilton and Madison; Jeremy Waldron on Bentham and Mill; Paul Guyer on Kant; Richard Miller on Marx and Engels; Richard Schacht on Nietzsche; Thomas Christiano on Nozick; John Deigh on Nagel; Thomas A. McCarthy on Foucault and Habermas; and Eva Feder Kittay on Nussbaum. Offering unprecedented breadth of coverage, Classics of Political and Moral Philosophy is an ideal text for courses in social and political philosophy, moral philosophy, or surveys in Western civilization. (shrink)
How is principled divestiture possible, for it passes the guilt of ownership from seller to buyer, thus exchanging one wrong for another? In response to this puzzle I posed (Analysis 47.3), Roger Shiner argues that since the seller does not cause the buyer to act, the seller maintains moral integrity. But your wish to sell your stock is logically equivalent to your wishing someone to buy it. By hypothesis you believe it wrong for anyone to buy it. So your wish (...) to sell is the wish that someone else do wrong. And that desire is immoral. The puzzle thus remains unsolved. (shrink)