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Read more about Learning from Arguments: An Introduction to Philosophy

Learning from Arguments: An Introduction to Philosophy

(3 reviews)

Daniel Z. Korman, Santa Barbara, CA

Copyright Year: 2022

Publisher: PhilPapers Foundation

Language: English

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Reviewed by Eric Baker, Senior Lecturer/Adjunct Faculty, Metropolitan State University on 6/19/23

Comprehensiveness: Learning from Arguments, as the title suggests (hereafter LfA), focuses on specific types of argument regarding tradition or common subject in philosophy: existence of God and suffering; personal identity; free will; limits of... read more

Reviewed by Joseph Porter, Nancy Schaenen Endowed Visiting Scholar of Ethics, DePauw University on 5/26/23

The textbook focuses fairly in-depth on ten philosophical arguments from a wide range of philosophical subfields, but leaves out many other arguments. I'd describe it as broad but (by design!) not especially comprehensive. read more

Reviewed by Evan Rodriguez, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Idaho State University on 9/12/22

I don't think that a textbook like this SHOULD "cover all areas and ideas of the subject" -- that would bee too tall of an order for an introductory philosophy book. Hence the neutral rating. I believe that the book covers an appropriate range of... read more

Table of Contents

  • Preface for Students
  • Preface for Instructors
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Can God Allow Suffering?
  • Chapter 2: Why You Should Bet on God
  • Chapter 3: What Makes You You
  • Chapter 4: Don't Fear the Reaper
  • Chapter 5: No Freedom
  • Chapter 6: You Know Nothing
  • Chapter 7: Against Prisons and Taxes
  • Chapter 8: The Ethics of Abortion
  • Chapter 9: Eating Animals
  • Chapter 10: What Makes Things Right
  • Appendix A: Logic
  • Appendix B: Writing
  • Appendix C: Theses and Arguments

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About the Book

Learning from Arguments is a novel approach to teaching Introduction to Philosophy. It advances accessible versions of key philosophical arguments, in a form that students can emulate in their own writing, and with the primary aim of cultivating an understanding of the dynamics of philosophical argumentation.

The book contains ten core chapters, covering the problem of evil, Pascal’s wager, personal identity, the irrationality of fearing death, free will and determinism, Cartesian skepticism, the problem of induction, the problem of political authority, the violinist argument, the future-like-ours argument, the ethics of eating meat, utilitarianism (both act and rule), and the trolley problem. Additionally, there is an introductory chapter explaining what arguments are and surveying some common argumentative strategies, an appendix on logic explaining the mechanics and varieties of valid arguments, and an appendix providing detailed advice for writing philosophy papers.

Each of the ten core chapters offers a sustained argument for some controversial thesis, specifically written for an audience of beginners. The aim is to introduce newcomers to the dynamics of philosophical argumentation, using some of the arguments standardly covered in an introductory philosophy course, but without the additional hurdles one encounters when reading the primary sources of the arguments: challenging writing, specialized jargon, and references to unfamiliar books, philosophers, or schools of thought.

About the Contributors


Daniel Z. Korman, University of California Santa Barbara

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