Higher Education

The Path of Philosophy: Truth, Wonder, and Distress, 1st Edition

  • John Marmysz College of Marin in Kentfield, CA
  • ISBN-10: 0495509329  |  ISBN-13: 9780495509325
  • 464 Pages
  • © 2012 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $59.25
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The Path of Philosophy introduces college students to the study of philosophy through a compelling narrative in which the world's most important philosophers appear as characters. Framed by the concept of Wondrous Distress, the text traces the history of western philosophy from its beginnings in ancient Greece to contemporary developments in the modern world. Threads running through the text demonstrate how philosophy is unique and distinct from religion and science, while at the same time showing how all three disciplines are interrelated. Exceptionally well written, and unusual in its cohesiveness, the text leaves readers with a vivid picture of philosophy as a unique and important field of study.

Features and Benefits

  • Sidebars provide contemporary links to the concepts introduced in the text helping students make connections between the ideas they are reading about and people, events, and cultural elements that are familiar to them.
  • Brief primary source selections are woven into the narrative to provide a window into philosophical writing or to act as a point of entry into longer selections chosen by the instructor.
  • Original black and white drawings illustrate the text and give it the feel of a contemporary graphic novel.

Table of Contents

Analytic and Continental Styles of Philosophizing. The Love of Wisdom. Religion, Science and Philosophy. What is Philosophy? Philosophy as Wondrous Distress.
Mythic Thinking. Presocratic Thinking. The Milesian School: Thales and Anaximander Heraclitus. Parmenides and the Eleatic School. The Atomist School: Democritus and Leucippus. From Mere Wonder to Wondrous Distress.
The Difficulty of Perspective. Plato’s Socrates. The Influence of Anaxagoras. The Socratic Method. The Trial of Socrates. Xenophon’s Socrates. Aristophanes’ Socrates. The Wondrous. Distress of Socrates.
Plato’s Divergence from Socrates. The Divided Line. The Myth of the Cave. Plato’s Perfect Republic. Plato and Art. Wonder and Distress in Platonic Thinking.
Aristotle’s Break with Plato. Aristotle and the Nature of Change. The Four Causes
Aristotle’s Logic. The First Mover. Rationality, Emotion and the Golden Mean. Aristotle’s Philosophy of Art. Aristotle and Wondrous Distress.
The Decline of Greek Power and Hellenistic Negativity. Cynicism. Stoicism. Epicureanism. Skepticism. Suicide and Hellenistic Philosophy. Wonder and Distress in Hellenistic Philosophy.
The Patriarch Abraham and the Covenant with God. Jesus. Muhammad. St. Augustine. The Question of Evil. Islamic Contributions to Early Medieval Thought. Al-Kindi and. NeoPlatonism. Al-Farabi. Avicenna. Averroes. Christian A Priori and A Posteriori Arguments for God’s Existence. St. Anselm. The Ontological Argument. Criticisms of the Ontological Argument. St. Thomas Aquinas. The Five Arguments for God’s Existence. Criticisms of Aquinas’ Five Arguments. Wondrous Distress in Medieval Thought.
The Conflict Between Science and Religion in the Early Modern Period. Modern Developments in Astronomy. The Geocentric Model of the Universe. The Heliocentric Model. René Descartes. Meditations on First Philosophy. Meditation I. Meditation II. Meditation III. Meditation IV. Meditation V. Meditation VI. Descartes and Wondrous Distress.
8. HUME.
The Mind/Body Problem. "Solutions" to the Mind/Body Problem. Thomas Hobbes and Materialism. George Berkeley and Idealism. Arnold Geulincx, Nicholas Malebranche and Occasionalism. Gottfried Leibniz, Baruch Spinoza and Monism. David Hume and the Rejection of Cartesian Metaphysics. John Locke. The Good Natured Hume. The Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Impressions, Simple Ideas and Complex Ideas. Relations of Ideas and Matters of Fact. Cause and Effect. The Ideas of God and the Self. An Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals. Utility. Hume and Wondrous Distress.
Totalizers vs. Critics. The Awakening of Kant. The Critique of Pure Reason. The Phenomenal and Noumenal Worlds. The A Priori Intuitions of Time and Space. The Categories of the Understanding. Transcendental Idealism and the Impossibility of Metaphysics. The Regulative Function of Transcendental Ideas. The Critique of Practical Reason. The Good Will. Hypothetical vs. Categorical Imperatives. The Critique of Judgment. Beauty. Sublimity. Kant’s Wondrous Distress.
The Difficulty of Hegel’s Philosophy. Hegel’s Vision of Unity. The Phenomenology of Spirit
Lordship and Bondage. Stoicism, Skepticism and the Unhappy Consciousness. Dialectical Logic. The Abstract Side. The Dialectical Side. The Speculative Side. Absolute Knowing
The Doctrine of Being. God. Hegel’s Influence. Right, Center and Left Hegelianism. Ludwig Feuerbach. Max Stirner. Karl Marx. Wondrous Distress in Hegelian Philosophy.
Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Mill. Sören Kierkegaard: The Knight of Faith. The Sickness Unto Death. Fear and Trembling. Schopenhauer’s Synthesis of Plato, Kant and Hinduism. Piercing the Veil of the Thing-In-Itself. The Will. Anxiety, Suffering and Distress. Friedrich Nietzsche and Positive Nihilism. Will-To-Power. The Superman and the Death of God. Beyond Good and Evil: Nietzsche Contra Utilitarianism. The Greatest Happiness Principle
Wonder and Distress in Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Mill.
The Reaction Against Hegel. William James. Pragmatism. The Tender and the Tough Minded. The Pragmatic Method. The Pragmatic Theory of Truth. Religion. Bertrand Russell
Russell’s Rejection of Hegel. Logical Atomism. Epistemology. Knowledge by Acquaintance and Knowledge by Description. The Role of Philosophy. Ludwig Wittgenstein. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Philosophical Investigations. Wondrous Distress in Anglo-American Philosophy.
Nationalism, Imperialism, Technology and War. Nihilism and the Decline of Civilization. Friedrich Nietzsche. Oswald Spengler. Totalitarianism. The Muselmann. Martin Heidegger
The Question of Being. Dasein. Being-Toward-Death. Inauthenticity and Technological Thinking. Authenticity. Heidegger and Nazism. Jean-Paul Sartre. Being-in-itself and Being-for-itself. Freedom and Bad Faith. Simone DeBeauvoir. The Second Sex. Otherness. Women and Biology. Wondrous Distress in Existentialism.
Conclusion: Philosophy and Wondrous Distress.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"The following features of this textbook are desirable, innovative, and vital to higher learning. The fact that each chapter begins with guiding questions is innovative and coincides with a learning-centered emphasis, viz., critical thinking and evaluative thinking. Also, that the textbook makes connections between philosophy and contemporary events is essential to the ongoing development of higher learning and for the academic survival of the humanities" -- John Wesley Holder III, Pensacola Junior College

— John Wesley Holder III

"I admire the author for approaching philosophy in a new and intriguing way. His prose style is simple, elegant and precise." -- Dr. Charles Fethe, Kean University of New Jersey

— Dr. Charles Fethe

"The discussion of Wondrous Distress in Existentialism is grand." -- Michael McClure, Prince George’s Community College

— Michael McClure

"It is clear that the author has a passion for philosophy and probably for teaching as well." -- John F. Millard, Boston College

— John F. Millard


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.

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Instructor Supplements

Online Instructor's Manual  (ISBN-10: 0495509337 | ISBN-13: 9780495509332)

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.

Instructor's Edition  (ISBN-10: 1111726337 | ISBN-13: 9781111726331)

Meet the Author

Author Bio

John Marmysz

John Marmysz received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the State University of New York at Buffalo. In addition to The Path of Philosophy: Truth, Wonder and Distress, he is the author of The Nihilist's Notebook (Moralinefree Publishing, 1996), Laughing at Nothing: Humor as a Response to Nihilism (SUNY Press, 2003) and he is coeditor (with Scott Lukas) of Fear, Cultural Anxiety and Transformation: Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films Remade (Lexington Books, 2009). Marmysz has written articles and reviews for various journals including Film and Philosophy, Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, Film-Philosophy, The Journal of Popular Culture and The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. He is the recipient of a SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creativity and has served as an NEH fellow. He currently teaches philosophy at the College of Marin in Kentfield, CA.