Introduction to Philosophy

The textbook I currently use for my Introduction to Philosophy classes is the fourth edition of Philosophical Dilemmas, by Phil Washburn, published by Oxford University. It is a topical introduction, with short essays on both sides of a variety of philosophical issues. It is written in a more informal style than many introductory textbooks.

If you are enrolled in my Introduction to Philosophy class, the best place to get the textbook is usually your college bookstore. For older editions, and for other suggested readings, you can use the links below.

General Reading Recommendations

Recommended Reading from Philosophical Dilemmas Textbook

Most of the recommendations below were pulled from the third edition of Washburn's textbook, but I did add a few more. I tried to find links in Amazon which had multiple formats which were all inexpensive. You may be able to find many of these books for less or even for free other places online. Try any library! If you find an inexpensive source for a reading, or think that a different reading would be preferable, please let me know. Note that Mr. Monge will receive a small referral fee from any books bought from Amazon, but the price you pay will not change.

Recommended Reading In Ethics

Cultural Relativism and Moral Objectivism

Pro Objectivism: The Right Thing to Do: Basic Readings in Moral Philosophy, by James Rachels
Mixed: Moral Relativism and Moral Objectivity, by Harman and Thomson
Mixed: The Republic, by Plato
Pro Objectivism: On Law, Cicero
Mixed: How Should I live?, Feezell and Hancock
Pro Relativism: Ethical Relativism, John Ladd ed.
Pro Relativism: "Relativism" by David Wong found in A Companion to Ethics, Peter Singer ed.
Pro Objectivism: Ethical Judgment: The Use of Science in Ethics, Abraham Edel
Pro Objectivism: Absolutism and Relativism in Ethics, Shia Moser

Hedonism and Pluralism

Pro Hedonism: The Philosophy of Epicurus, Dover edition
Pro Hedonism: The Essential Epicurus, O'Connor translation
Pro Pluralism: Realms of Value, by Ralph B. Perry
Pro Pluralism: The Five Great Philosophies of Life, by William De Witt Hyde
Mixed: What is Value?, Risieri Frondizi
General: A Question of Values, Hunter Lewis
Pro Pluralism: Isaiah Berlin, John Gray

Psychological Egoism and Psychological Altruism

Pro Psych Egoism: The System of Nature, Volume One, by Baron D'Holbach
Pro Psych Altruism: Fifteen Sermons Preached at the Rolls Chapel, by Joseph Butler
Pro Psych Altruism: Beyond Self-Interest, by Jane J. Mansbridge
Anti Psych Egoism: The Elements of Moral Philosophy, James Rachels
Mixed: Ethics, Alfred C. Ewing
Anti Psych Egoism: Psychology's Sanction for Selfishness, Michael A Wallach
Mixed: The Brighter Side of Human Nature (esp. ch. 7 and 8), Alfie Kohn

Recommended Reading In Theology

  On an Afterlife

Anti Afterlife: On the Nature of Things, Lucretius
Mixed: Immortality, edited by Paul Edwards
Pro Afterlife: Life After Life, Raymond Moody
Anti Afterlife: Survival and Disembodied Existence, Terence Penelhum
Pro Afterlife: The Self and Immortality, Hywel D. Lewis
Mixed: Immortality, Paul Edwards

  The Cosmological Argument

Mixed: Atheism and Theism, Smart and Haldane
Pro: Is There a God?, Richard Swinburne
Pro: Aquinas, Frederick C. Copleston

  The Teleological Argument

Pro: Paley's Watchmaker, Bill Cooper
Pro: Darwin's Black Box, Michael J. Behe
Pro: Darwin Devolves, Michael J. Behe
Con: The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins

  Atheism and Agnosticism

Pro Atheism: Atheism: The Case Against God, George H. Smith
Pro Agnostic: Why I Am An Agnostic, Robert Green Ingersoll
General: The Philosophy of Religion 4th ed (esp. ch. 3), John Hick
Pro Atheism: The End of Faith, Sam Harris
Mixed: Atheism and Theism, Smart and Haldane
Supplemental: Atheist Delusions, David Bentley Hart

  The Problem of Evil and Theodicy

Pro Theodicy: The Problem of Evil, Peter Van Inwagen
Pro Theodicy: When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Harold Kushner
Pro Theodicy: Philosophy of Religion 4th ed (ch. 4), John Hicks
Mixed: The Brothers Karamozov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Pro Contradictor: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (Part 11), David Hume

Recommended Reading In Theology

On an Afterlife

Anti Afterlife: On the Nature of Things, Lucretius

Recommended Reading In Theology

On an Afterlife

Anti Afterlife: On the Nature of Things, Lucretius

Recommended Reading In Epistemology

  Faith and Evidence

Pro Faith: The Will to Believe, William James
Pro Evidence: How We Believe, Michael Shermer
Mixed: A Philosophy of Faith, Finlay Malcolm and Michael Scott
Mixed: Reason and Religious Belief, Michael Peterson
Pro Evidence: The Philosophy of Religion, John Hicks

  Foundationalism and Pragmatism

Pro Pragmatism: The Quest for Certainty, John Dewey
Pro Foundationalism: Theory of Knowledge, Roderick M. Chisholm
General: Contemporary Theories of Knowledge, Thomas E. Hill

  Rationalism and Empiricism

Pro Empiricism: The Empiricists, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume
General: The British Empiricists, Stephen Priest
Pro Rationalism: Rationalism, John Cottingham
General: Theory of Knowledge, Roderick M. Chisholm (esp. ch. 4)

  Internalist Skepticism and the Perceiver

Pro Perceiver: Reason, Truth and History, Hilary Putnam
Mixed: The Philosophy of Knowledge, Kenneth Gallagher
Pro Perceiver: Knowledge of the External World, Bruce Aune
Pro Internalist: Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, George Berkeley
Pro Perceiver: Sense and Sensibilia, John L. Austin
Mixed: The Philosophy of Knowledge, Kenneth T. Gallagher
General: Reason, Truth, and History, Hilary Putnam

Recommended Reading In Political Philosophy

  Egalitarianism and Elitism

Pro Egalitarianism: Utopia, Saint Thomas More
General: Equality, John Rees
Pro Elitism: Against Equality, William Letwin
Pro Elitism: The Conservative Mind, Russell Kirk
Pro Egalitarianism: Equality, William Ryan

  Libertarianism and Paternalism

Pro Libertarian: On Liberty, John Stuart Mill
General: Libertarianism, Eric Mack
Pro Paternalism: Paternalism, John Kleinig
Pro Paternalism: Reflections on the Revolution in France, Edmund Burke
General: Liberty, Justice, and Morals, Burton M. Leiser
Pro Libertarian: Free to Choose, Milton and Rose Friedman
Pro Libertarian: Law, Liberty, and Morality, H. L. A. Hart

  Capitalism and Socialism

Pro Capitalism: The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith
Mixed: Socialism, John Stuart Mill
Pro Socialism: The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels
Pro Capitalism: Two Cheers for Capitalism, Irving Kristol
Pro Socialism: Socialism, Michael Harrington
Mixed: Capitalism, Paul Bowles
General: Six Theories of Justice, Karen Lebacqz

  Essentialism and Non-Essentialism

Mixed: Three African American Classics, Du Bois, Douglass, Washington
Pro Essentialism: Race Matters, Cornel West
Anti Essentialism: Race and Culture, Thomas Sowell
Mixed: Blackness Visible, Charles W. Mills

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Recommended Reading In Metaphysics/Human Nature

  The Mind-Body Problem

Pro Dualism: Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes
Mixed: Introducing Persons, Peter Carruthers
General: Philosophy of Mind, John Heil
Pro Materialism: Man a Machine, Julien La Mettrie
Mixed: The Mysterious Flame, Colin McGinn
Mixed: A Concise Introduction to Philosophy, William H. Halverson

  Metaphysical Libertarianism and Hard Determinism

Pro Determinism: The Metaphysical System of Hobbes, Thomas Hobbes selections
Pro Meta Libertarianism: Being and Nothingness, John Paul Sartre
Mixed: Do We Still Have Free Will?, Mark Thornton
Pro Meta Libertarianism: Freedom of Choice Affirmed, Corliss Lamont
General: How Free Are You?, Ted Honderich
General: Human Nature Mythology, Kenneth Bock
General: Free Will and Responsibility, Jennifer Trusted


Pro Compatibilism: Freedom Evolves, Daniel C. Dennett

  The Male/Female Distinction

Mixed: Companion to Feminist Philosophy, Jaggar and Young, editors
Pro Complementer: Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, John Gray
Pro Complementer: The Whole Woman, Germaine Greer
Pro Unifier: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft
Pro Complementer: The Dialectic of Sex, Shulamith Firestone