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Western Philosophy


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Table of Contents

Preface xv

Acknowledgements xxi

Guidance for Readers and Format of the Volume xxviii

Introductory Essay: How to Read a Philosophical Text and How to Write about It xxxi

Part I Knowledge and Certainty 1

1 Innate Knowledge Plato, Meno 3

2 Knowledge versus Opinion Plato, Republic 12

3 Demonstrative Knowledge and Its Starting points Aristotle, Posterior Analytics 19

4 New Foundations for Knowledge René Descartes, Meditations 22

5 The Senses as the Basis of Knowledge John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding 28

6 Innate Knowledge Defended Gottfried Leibniz, New Essays on Human Understanding 34

7 Scepticism versus Human Nature David Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding 39

8 Experience and Understanding Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason 44

9 From Sense-certainty to Self-consciousness Georg Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit 48

10 Beliefs Judged by Their Practical Effects William James, What Pragmatism Means 54

11 Against Scepticism G. E. Moore, A Defence of Common Sense 61

12 Does Empirical Knowledge Have a Foundation? Wilfrid Sellars, The Myth of the Given 68

Part II Being and Reality 74

1 The Allegory of the Cave Plato, Republic 76

2 Individual Substance Aristotle, Categories 83

3 Supreme Being and Created Things René Descartes, Principles of Philosophy 87

4 Qualities and Ideas John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding 94

5 Substance, Life and Activity Gottfried Leibniz, New System 99

6 Nothing Outside the Mind George Berkeley, Principles of Human Knowledge 105

George Berkeley, Principles of Human Knowledge 105

7 The Limits of Metaphysical Speculation David Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding 111

8 Metaphysics, Old and New Immanuel Kant, Prolegomena 117

9 Reality as Flux Alfred Whitehead, Process and Reality, and Science and the Modern World 125


10 Being and Involvement Martin Heidegger, Being and Time 131

11 The End of Metaphysics? Rudolf Carnap, The Elimination of Metaphysics 138

12 The Problem of Ontology W. V. O. Quine, On What There Is 144

Part III Language and Meaning 150

1 The Meanings of Words Plato, Cratylus 152

2 Language and Its Acquisition Augustine, Confessions 160

3 Thought, Language and Its Components William of Ockham, Writings on Logic 162

4 Language, Reason and Animal Utterance René Descartes, Discourse on the Method 166

5 Abstract General Ideas John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding 169

6 Particular Ideas and General Meaning George Berkeley, Principles of Human Knowledge 173

7 Denotation versus Connotation John Stuart Mill, A System of Logic 178

8 Names and Their Meaning Gottlob Frege, Sense and Reference 183

9 Definite and Indefinite Descriptions Bertrand Russell, Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy 188

10 Meaning and Use Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Blue and Brown Books 194

11 Non-descriptive Uses of Language J. L. Austin, Performative Utterances 202

12 How the Reference of Terms is Fixed Saul Kripke, Naming and Necessity 207

Part IV Mind and Body 214

1 The Immortal Soul Plato, Phaedo 216

2 Soul and Body, Form and Matter Aristotle, De Anima 223

3 The Human Soul Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 228

4 The Non-material Mind or Soul and Its Relation to the Body René Descartes, Discourse and Meditations 236

5 The Identity of Mind and Body Benedict Spinoza, Ethics 242

6 Mind–Body Correlations Nicolas Malebranche, Dialogues on Metaphysics 246

7 Body and Mind as Manifestations of Will Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Idea 252

8 The Problem of Other Minds John Stuart Mill, An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy 257

9 The Hallmarks of Mental Phenomena Franz Brentano, Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint 263

10 The Myth of the ‘Ghost in the Machine’ Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind 270

11 Mental States as Functional States Hilary Putnam, Psychological Predicates 275

12 The Subjective Dimension of Consciousness Thomas Nagel, What is it Like to be a Bat? 283

Part V The Self and Freedom 290

(a) The Self

1 The Self and Consciousness John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding 292

2 The Self as Primitive Concept Joseph Butler, Of Personal Identity 298

3 The Self as Bundle David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature 303

4 The Partly Hidden Self Sigmund Freud, Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis 309

5 Liberation from the Self Derek Parfit, Reasons and Persons 315

6 Selfhood and Narrative Understanding Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self 322

(b) Freedom

7 Human Freedom and Divine Providence Augustine, The City of God 328

8 Freedom to Do What We Want Thomas Hobbes, Liberty, Necessity and Chance 333

9 Free Will as the Power of Rational Agency Thomas Reid, Essays on the Active Powers of Man 339

10 Absolute Determinism Pierre-Simon de Laplace, Philosophical Essay on Probability 346

11 Condemned to Be Free Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness 349

12 Freedom, Responsibility and the Ability to Do Otherwise Harry G. Frankfurt, Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility 355

Part VI God and Religion 363

1 God Cannot Be Thought Not to Exist Anselm of Canterbury, Proslogion 365

2 The Five Proofs of God Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 368

3 God as Source of My Idea of the Infinite René Descartes, Meditations 372

4 God’s Existence Derived from His Nature or Essence René Descartes, Meditations 378

5 The Wager Blaise Pascal, Pensées 382

6 The Problem of Evil Gottfried Leibniz, Theodicy 386

7 The Argument from Design David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion 392

8 Against Miracles David Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding 398

9 Faith and Subjectivity Søren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript 405

10 Reason, Passion and the Religious Hypothesis William James, The Will to Believe 412

11 The Meaning of Religious Language John Wisdom, Gods 418

12 Many Paths to the Same Ultimate Reality? John Hick, Problems of Religious Pluralism 425

Part VII Science and Method 432

1 Four Types of Explanation Aristotle, Physics 434

2 Experimental Methods and True Causes Francis Bacon, Novum Organum 437

3 Mathematical Science and the Control of Nature René Descartes, Discourse on the Method 444

4 The Limits of Scientific Explanation George Berkeley, On Motion 450

5 The Problem of Induction David Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding 456

6 The Relation Between Cause and Effect David Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding 462

7 Causality and our Experience of Events Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason 468

8 The Uniformity of Nature John Stuart Mill, System of Logic 473

9 Science and Falsifiability Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations 479

10 How Explaining Works Carl G. Hempel, Explanation in Science and History 486

11 Scientific Realism Versus Instrumentalism Grover Maxwell, The Ontological Status of Theoretical Entities 496

12 Change and Crisis in Science Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions 503

Part VIII Morality and the Good Life 510

1 Morality and Happiness Plato, Republic 512

2 Ethical Virtue Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 518

3 Morality and Natural Law Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 522

4 Virtue, Reason and the Passions Benedict Spinoza, Ethics 528

5 Human Feeling as the Source of Ethics David Hume, Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals 533

6 Duty and Reason as the Ultimate Principle Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals 540

7 Happiness as the Foundation of Morality John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism 546

8 Utility and Common-sense Morality Henry Sidgwick, Methods of Ethics 552

9 Against Conventional Morality Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil 559

10 Duty and Intuition W. D. Ross, The Right and the Good 565

11 Ethics as Rooted in History and Culture Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue 571

12 Could Ethics Be Objective? Bernard Williams, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy 577

Part IX Problems in Ethics 583

1 Inequality, Freedom and Slavery Aristotle, Politics 585

2 War and Justice Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 590

3 Taking One’s Own Life David Hume, On Suicide 593

4 Gender, Liberty and Equality Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women 599

5 Partiality and Favouritism William Godwin, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice 604

6 The Status of Non-human Animals Immanuel Kant, Lectures on Ethics 608

7 The Purpose of Punishment Jeremy Bentham, Principles of Morals and Legislation 611

8 Our Relationship to the Environment Aldo Leopold, The Land Ethic 618

9 Abortion and Rights Judith Jarvis Thomson, A Defense of Abortion, and Patrick Lee & Robert P. George, The Wrong of Abortion 624

10 The Relief of Global Suffering Peter Singer, Famine, Affluence and Morality 632

11 Medical Ethics and the Termination of Life James Rachels, Active and Passive Euthanasia 638

12 Cloning, Sexual Reproduction and Genetic Engineering Leon R. Kass, The Wisdom of Repugnance 644

Part X Authority and the State 654

1 Our Obligation to Respect the Laws of the State Plato, Crito 656

2 The Just Ruler Thomas Aquinas, On Princely Government 661

3 Power and Control Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince 665

4 Sovereignty and Security Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan 672

5 Consent and Political Obligation John Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government 678

6 Against Contractarianism David Hume, Of the Original Contract 684

7 Society and the Individual Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract 690

8 The Unified State – From Individual Desire to Rational Self-determination Georg Hegel, The Philosophy of Right 697

9 Property, Labour and Alienation Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology 703

10 The Limits of Majority Rule John Stuart Mill, On Liberty 710

11 Rational Choice and Fairness John Rawls, A Theory of Justice 716

12 The Minimal State Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State and Utopia 723

Part XI Beauty and Art 731

1 Art and Imitation Plato, Republic 733

2 The Nature and Function of Dramatic Art Aristotle, Poetics 739

3 The Idea of Beauty Francis Hutcheson, Inquiry Concerning Beauty, Order, Harmony, Design 745

4 Aesthetic Appreciation David Hume, Of the Standard of Taste 750

5 The Concept of the Beautiful Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgement 757

6 The Metaphysics of Beauty Arthur Schopenhauer, On Aesthetics 763

7 The Two Faces of Art Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy 769

8 The Value of Art Leo Tolstoy, What Is Art? 776

9 Imagination and Art Jean-Paul Sartre, The Psychology of Imagination 781

10 What Is Aesthetics? Ludwig Wittgenstein, Lectures on Aesthetics 788

11 The Meaning of a Literary Work W. K. Wimsatt Jr. and M. C. Beardsley, The Intentional Fallacy 793

12 The Basis of Judgements of Taste Frank Sibley, Aesthetic Concepts 801

Part XII Human Life and Its Meaning 808

1 How to Accept Reality and Avoid Fear Lucretius, On the Nature of the Universe 810

2 Life Guided by Stoic Philosophy Seneca, Moral Letters 814

3 Meaning through Service to Others Augustine, Confessions 818

4 Contentment with the Human Lot Michel de Montaigne, On Experience 821

5 The Human Condition, Wretched yet Redeemable Blaise Pascal, Pensées 826

6 Human Life as a Meaningless Struggle Arthur Schopenhauer, On the Vanity of Existence 831

7 The Death of God and the Ascendancy of the Will Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra 836

8 Idealism in a Godless Universe Bertrand Russell, A Free Man’s Worship 841

9 Futility and Defiance Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus 848

10 Involvement versus Detachment Thomas Nagel, The Absurd 851

11 Religious Belief as Necessary for Meaning William Lane Craig, The Absurdity of Life without God 861

12 Seeing Our Lives as Part of the Process Robert Nozick, Philosophy’s Life 868

Background Reading and Reference 873

Notes on the Philosophers 879

Index 898

About the Author

JOHN COTTINGHAM is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Reading, and an Honorary Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford University. He is the author of numerous books including Descartes, The Rationalists, On the Meaning of Life, and In Search of the Soul. He is co-translator of The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, and has published numerous articles on the history of philosophy, moral philosophy, and the philosophy of religion. Professor Cottingham is former Chairman of the British Society for the History of Philosophy and President of the British Society for the Philosophy of Religion, and was for many years editor of Ratio, the international journal of analytic philosophy.

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