Higher Education

Twenty Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy, 7th Edition

  • G. Lee Bowie Mt. Holyoke College
  • Meredith W. Michaels Smith College
  • Robert C. Solomon University of Texas, Austin
  • ISBN-10: 1439043965  |  ISBN-13: 9781439043967
  • 784 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2007, 2004, 2000
  • © 2011 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $153.00
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Animated by philosophy's most persistent and intriguing issues, TWENTY QUESTIONS, has quickly become a best-selling introductory anthology for its balance, flexibility and allure. This comprehensive reader challenges students to reflect on the role of philosophical inquiry in their own lives through an exploration of classical and contemporary approaches to these problems in academic philosophy, literature, and beyond. TWENTY QUESTIONS includes coverage of race, gender, and multicultural issues, and offers a proven and diverse introduction to the rich variety of philosophical reflection, including selections from beyond traditional academic philosophy.

Features and Benefits

  • Focused, well-edited selections introduce students to the philosophical core of each reading.
  • Concise introductions for each reading highlight the author's intellectual context and influence.
  • Introductions to each chapter explore a profound and challenging question that the chapter's readings will address.
  • A diverse selection of readings gives ample coverage of race, gender, and multicultural themes.
  • Readings from fiction and other material beyond academic philosophy demonstrate the breadth and relevance of philosophical inquiry.

Table of Contents

1. What Gives My Life Meaning?
Mary Oliver, The Summer Day. Ilham Dilman, Life and Meaning. Leo Tolstoy, A Confession. Yuval Lurie, The Meaning of Life: A Philosophical Question. John Hick, On Doing Philosophy of Religion. The Dali Lama, Compassion and the Individual. bell hooks: Love as the Practice of Freedom. Albert Camus: The Absurd. Robert C. Solomon, Gratitude: The Idea of Life as a Gift.
2. What Should I Believe About the Existence and Nature of God?
St. Augustine: Faith and Reason. Saint Anselm: The Ontological Argument. Saint Thomas Aquinas: Whether God Exists. William Paley: The Teleological Argument. David Hume: Why Does God Let People Suffer? Immanuel Kant: Proving the Existence of God by Way of Morality. Søren Kierkegaard: The Leap of Faith and the Limits of Reason. William James: The Will To Believe. Friedrich Nietzsche: God is Dead. Friedrich Nietzsche: The Anti-Christ. Sallie McFague, Intimate Creation: God’s Body, Our Home. Bertrand Russell, The Existence and Nature of God. Nica Lalli, Nightmare.
3. Should I Be Afraid of Death?
Sogyal Rinpoche:
The Essential Phowa. Plato: The Death of Socrates. Chuang-Tzu: A Taoist on Death.Epicurus: Death is Nothing to Us. Robert C. Solomon: Death, Fetishism, and Morbid Solipsism. Thomas Nagel: Death. Jeff Malpas: The Strangeness of Death. Luc Sante: The Unknown Soldier.
4. What Does Science Tell Me About the World?
Carl Hempel: The Deductive–Nomological Model of Science. Thomas Kuhn: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Karl Popper: Science: Conjectures and Refutations. Evelyn Fox Keller: Feminism and Science. Richard Feynman: Seeking New Laws of Nature.
5. Which Should I Believe: Evolution, Creation, or Design?
The Bible: Genesis. Charles Darwin: The Descent of Man. Michael Ruse: Is Evolutionary Theory a Secular Religion? William A. Dembski: Science and Design. H. Allen Orr: Darwin vs. Intelligent Design. Michael J. Behe, Response to Critics. Daniel C. Dennett: Show Me the Science.
6. How Is My Mind Connected to My Body?
René Descartes: Mind as Distinct From Body. Gilbert Ryle: The Concept of Mind. William Lycan: Robots and Minds. David Chalmers: The Puzzle of Conscious Experience. John R. Searle: The Problem of Consciousness. Colin McGinn: The Mysterious Flame. Daniel Dennett, Consciousness: How Much is that in Real Money?
7. What Do I Know?
Plato: The Myth of the Cave. René Descartes: Meditations I and II. Mark Rowlands: Keanu’s Cartesian Meditations. Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass. John Locke: Where Our Ideas Come From. George Berkeley: To Be Is to Be Perceived. Bertrand Russell: Appearance and Reality. Lorraine Code: What Can She Know?
8. Does Language Make Me Think the Way I Do?
Jonathan Swift: Getting Rid of Words. Ludwig Wittgenstein: Meaning as Use. Benjamin Whorf: Language, Thought, and Reality. Steven Pinker: The Language Instinct. Lewis Carroll: Humpty Dumpty.
9. Who Am I?
John Perry: The First Night. John Locke: Of Identity and Diversity. David Hume: Of Personal Identity. Meredith Michaels: Persons, Brains, and Bodies. Elizabeth Wolgast: Personal Identity: Many Criteria. Bernard Williams: Identity and Identities.
10. Why Are My Emotions Important to Me?
Aristotle: On Anger. René Descartes: The Passions of the Soul. David Hume: On Pride.
William James: What Is an Emotion? Jean-Paul Sartre: Emotions as Transformations of the World. Robert C. Solomon: What Love Is. Robert C. Solomon: Grief. Judy Foreman: Can Science Tell Us Why We Fall, and Stay, in Love? Owen Flanagan: Destructive Emotions
11. What Should I Think About the Morality of Abortion?
Ani DiFranco: Abortion and Life. Florence Rice: Abortion and Life. Judith Jarvis Thompson: A Defense of Abortion. Anthony Kenny: The Beginning of Individual Human Life. Lynn Rudder Baker: When Does a Person Begin? Susanne Gibson: Essentially Contested Concepts and the Problem of Abortion. Alice Walker: Right to Life: What Can the White Man Say to the Black Woman?
12. What Should I Think About Terrorism and Torture?
Michael Walzer: Terrorism and Just War. Alison Jaggar: What is Terrorism, Why is it Wrong, and Could it Ever be Morally Permissable? Claudia Card: Questions Regarding a War on Terrorism. Charles Krauthammer: The Truth About Torture. Henry Shue: Torture in Dreamland: Disposing of the Ticking Bomb.
13. How Does Racism Affect My Life?
Toi Derricotte: Early Memory: The California Zephyr. Jean-Paul Sartre: Anti-Semite and Jew. Kwame Appiah: Racisms. Tommie Shelby: Is Racism in the "Heart"? Daniel Kelly and Erica Rodder: Racial Cognition and the Ethics of Implicit Bias Sally Haslanger: Future Genders? Future Races? Esmeralda Santiago: Spiks and Gringos.
14. Why Shouldn''t I Be Selfish?
Ntozake Shange: get it and feel good. Plato: The Ring of Gyges. Epicurus: The Pursuit of Pleasure. Thomas Hobbes: People are Selfish. Richard Dawkins: The Selfish Gene. Sharon Begley: Adventures in Good and Evil: The Evolutionary Roots of Morality. James Rachels: Ethical Egoism. Ayn Rand: The Virtue of Selfishness. Peter Singer: Ivan Boesky’s Choice. Tracy Kidder: The Good Doctor. Jim Holt: The Life of the Saint.
15. Does It Matter What Gender I Am?
John Stuart Mill: The Subjection of Women. Simone deBeauvoir: Woman as Other. Naomi Zack: The Right Definition of Women. Larry May: A Progressive Male Standpoint. Camille Paglia: It’s a Jungle Out There. Megan Seely: The "F" word.
16. What Is the Right Thing for Me to Do?
The Bible: The Ten Commandments and The Sermon on the Mount. Confucius: The Analects. The Koran: The Unjust. Aristotle: Happiness and the Good Life. Hume: Morality is an Emotional Response. Immanuel Kant: Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals. John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism. Friedrich Nietzsche: The Natural History of Morals. Simone de Beauvoir: Freedom and Morality. Claudia Card: One Feminist View of Ethics. Bob Kane: Through the Moral Maze.
17. I Like It, but Is It Art?
Leo Tolstoy: What Is Art? Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer: The Culture Industry.
Roger Scruton: Art, Beauty, and Judgment. C.J. Ducasse: What Has Beauty to do with Art? Noël Carroll: Art, Practice, and Narrative. Kathleen Higgins: The Music of our Lives. Mary Deveraux: The Male Gaze.
18. Am I Free to Choose What I Do?
Aristotle: Voluntary and Involuntary Action. Baron d''Holbach: Are We Cogs in the Universe? Friedrich Nietzsche: Twilight of an Error. John Hospers: Meaning and Free Will.Jean-Paul Sartre: Freedom and Responsibility. B.F. Skinner: Freedom and the Control of Men. Patricia Churchland: Do We Have Free Will? Harry Frankfurt: Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility. Bob Kane: The Significance of Free Will: Old Dispute, New Themes.
19. What Do I Justly Deserve?
Plato: Does Might Make Right. Thomas Hobbes: Justice and the Social Contract. John Stuart Mill: A Utilitarian Theory of Justice. John Rawls: Justice as Fairness. Robert Nozick: The Principle of Fairness. David Brooks: Triumph of Hope over Self-Interest. Peter Singer: Rich and Poor. Iris Young: The Myth of Merit. Amartya Sen: Property and Hunger. Malcolm X: Human Rights, Civil Rights. Cheshire Calhoun: Justice, Care, and Gender Bias.
20. How Should I Make (and Spend) Money?
Confucius: On Business. Adam Smith: Benefits of the Profit Motive. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: The Immorality of Capitalism. Milton Friedman: The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits. Brian P. Schaefer, Shareholders and Social Responsibility. Ford Motor Company: The Ford Pinto Memo. William Greider: Crime in the Suites. Jim Hightower: SweatX is Chic. Joanne Ciulla: Honest Work. Peter Singer: The Hidden Costs of Money. Robert C. Solomon: Making Money and the Importance of the Virtues. Charles Handy: What’s a Business For? Joseph Campbell: Follow Your Bliss.

What's New

  • Part I (Religion and the Meaning of Life) has been redesigned to draw students into philosophy by identifying philosophical questions that they undoubtedly worry about, and at the same time to provide them with a basis for understanding what makes a question distinctly philosophical. Includes new material on who or what God might be and on the philosophical implications of death, as well as 15 new selections."
  • Part II (Science, Mind, and Nature) features 6 new readings: William A. Dembski, "Science and Design"; H. Allen Orr, "Darwin vs. Intelligent Design"; Michael J. Behe, "Response to Critics"; David Chalmers, "The Puzzle of Conscious Experience"; John R. Searle, "The Problem of Consciousness"; and Daniel Dennett, "Consciousness: How Much is that in Real Money?"
  • Part III (Thinking and Knowing) features a new selection: Mark Rowlands, "Keanu's Cartesian Meditations," along with a reedited version of Descartes' Meditations I and II.
  • Part IV (The Dilemmas of Personhood) features 17 new readings.
  • Part V (Living a Good Life) features 11 new readings: Sharon Begley, "Adventures in Good and Evil: The Evolutionary Roots of Morality"; Tracy Kidder, "The Good Doctor"; Simone deBeauvoir, "Woman as Other"; Naomi Zack, "The Identity of Women"; Larry May, "A Progressive Male Standpoint"; Camille Paglia, "It’s a Jungle Out There"; Megan Seely, The 'F' word"; Hume, "Morality is an Emotional Response"; Roger Scruton, "Art, Beauty, and Judgment"; C.J. Ducasse, "What Has Beauty to do with Art?"; and Noël Carroll, "Art, Practice, and Narrative."
  • Part VI (Justice and Responsibility) features 5 new readings: Patricia Churchland, "Do We Have Free Will?"; Harry Frankfurt, "Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility"; Brian P. Schaefer, "Shareholders and Social Responsibility"; Peter Singer, "The Hidden Costs of Money"; and Charles Handy, "What’s a Business For?"

Learning Resource Bundles

Choose the textbook packaged with the resources that best meet your course and student needs. Contact your Learning Consultant for more information.

Bundle: Twenty Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy, 7th + Doing Philosophy, 4th

ISBN-10: 1111290601 | ISBN-13: 9781111290603

List Price = $203.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $153.00

This Bundle Includes:

  • Twenty Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy
    List Price = $203.95  | CengageBrain Price = $203.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $153.00
  • Doing Philosophy
    List Price = $71.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $54.00


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

eBank Instructor's Manual  (ISBN-10: 0495809403 | ISBN-13: 9780495809401)

This extensive manual contains many suggestions to help instructors highlight and promote further thought on philosophical issues and a comprehensive Test Bank featuring multiple-choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter.

ExamView® (Windows/Macintosh)  (ISBN-10: 049580942X | ISBN-13: 9780495809425)

Web Site  (ISBN-10: 0495809411 | ISBN-13: 9780495809418)

The companion website for Twenty Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy, 7th provides access to a variety of resources to aid learning, including chapter outlines and reviews, flashcards, glossary, web links, and chapter quizzes.

Instructor's Edition  (ISBN-10: 0495809438 | ISBN-13: 9780495809432)

Student Supplements

Web Site  (ISBN-10: 0495809411 | ISBN-13: 9780495809418)

The companion website for Twenty Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy, 7th provides access to a variety of resources to aid learning, including chapter outlines and reviews, flashcards, glossary, web links, and chapter quizzes.

List Price = $.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $.00

Meet the Author

Author Bio

G. Lee Bowie

G. Lee Bowie received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Stanford University and has taught at University of Michigan, University of Mass, Amherst College, and Hampshire College. Currently he is Professor of Philosophy at Mount Holyoke College.

Meredith W. Michaels

Meredith W. Michaels received a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts. She has taught at Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, and is currently a Lecturer/Research Associate at Smith College.

Robert C. Solomon

Robert C. Solomon (1942-2007) was internationally renowned as a teacher and lecturer in philosophy. He was Quincy Lee Centennial Professor and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and over the course of his career taught at numerous institutions, including Princeton University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Auckland, and the University of California, in addition to the University of Texas. He authored more than 40 books, including Introducing Philosophy, A Short History of Philosophy (with Kathleen Higgins), The Passions, In the Spirit of Hegel, About Love, Above the Bottom Line, Fourth Edition (with Clancy Martin), Ethics and Excellence, The Joy of Philosophy, and True to Our Feelings, and he was co-editor of Twenty Questions, Fifth Edition (with Lee Bowie and Meredith Michaels), and Since Socrates (with Clancy Martin).