Higher Education

On Human Nature: An Introduction to Philosophy, 1st Edition

  • Thomas F. Wall Emmanuel College
  • ISBN-10: 0534624782  |  ISBN-13: 9780534624781
  • 489 Pages
  • © 2005 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $139.50



This new introductory text-reader on theories of human nature features astutely edited primary source selections and the acclaimed, authoritative voice of Thomas F. Wall--author of two other successful Wadsworth titles, THINKING CRITICALLY ABOUT PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS and THINKING CRITICALLY ABOUT MORAL PROBLEMS. ON HUMAN NATURE grows out of instructors' long held desire for a single volume that provides students of this subject with both readings and engaging commentary. Organized in a historical format that draws from Ancient Asian sources; many classical, medieval, and modern thinkers; and all the way up to contemporary minds such as Dennett and the Churchlands, this book provides students with a comprehensive and accessible introduction to age-old debate that is as crucial now in our technological and scientific age as it has ever been.

Table of Contents

The Nature of Philosophy.
The Subject Matter of Philosophy. The Method of Philosophy. The Divisions of Philosophy. Historical Periods of Philosophy. The Value of Philosophy.
The Question of Human Nature.
A Commonsense Question. A Scientific Question. A Philosophical Question. Evaluating Philosophical Theories. Reasoned Judgments. Universality. Consistency. Simplicity. Descriptive and Normative Theories.
The Structure of this Text.
1. Ancient Asian Philosophers.
Siddhartha Gautama, The Buddha. The Hindu Concept of Self (excerpt from THE UPANISHADS). The Buddhist Concept of Non-Self (excerpt from Thich Nhat Hanh, ZEN KEYS). Buddhist Ethics (selections from THE DHAMMAPADA). Sermons of the Buddha. Confucius. The Wisdom of Taoism (from Lao-Tzu, TAO TE CHING). Teachings of Confucius (selections from THE ANALECTS). On Human Nature (from Mencius, THE BOOK OF MENCIUS).
2. Ancient Greek Philosophers 1: Plato.
The Cave (from THE REPUBLIC). The Divided Line (from THE REPUBLIC). The Individual and the State (from THE REPUBLIC). The Immortality of the Soul (from THE PHAEDO).
3. Ancient Greek Philosophers 2: Aristotle.
The Mind (from DE ANIMA). The Soul (from DE ANIMA). The Good (from NICOMACHEAN ETHICS). Moral Virtue (from NICOMACHEAN ETHICS). Contemplation (from NICOMACHEAN ETHICS).
4. Medieval Theologians: Augustine and Aquinas.
Augustine. Free Will (from Augustine, ON FREE CHOICE OF THE WILL). The Nature of Time (from Augustine, CONFESSIONS). Aquinas. The Existence of God (from SUMMA THEOLOGICA). The Active Intellect (from SUMMA THEOLOGICA). Free Will (from SUMMA THEOLOGICA). The Natural Law (from SUMMA THEOLOGICA). The Nature of The Soul (from SUMMA THEOLOGICA).
5. The Ghost in the Machine: Descartes.
The Nature of the Mind (from THE MEDITATIONS).
6. Science and Religion: Immanuel Kant.
7. The Social Self: Karl Marx.
The Human Condition (from Marx, PHILOSOPHICAL AND ECONOMIC MANUSCRIPTS OF 1844). The Inevitability of Communism (from THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO).
8. Existentialism: Jean-Paul Sartre.
The Authentic Life (from BEING AND NOTHINGNESS). The Look (from BEING AND NOTHINGNESS). The Causes of Gender Inequality (from Simone de Beauvoir, THE SECOND SEX).
9. Psychoanalysis: Sigmund Freud.
The Structure and Function of the Mind (from Freud, AN OUTLINE OF PSYCHOANALYSIS).
10. Standard Equipment 1: Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology.
The Origin of Man (Darwin, THE DESCENT OF MAN). The Biological Basis of Human Nature (from E.O. Wilson, ON HUMAN NATURE). Principles of Evolutionary Psychology (from Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY: A PRIMER). The Biological Basis of Gender Differences (from Helena Cronin, "Getting Human Nature Right").
11. Standard Equipment 2: Cognitive Science.
In Defense of Eliminative Materialism (from Paul Churchland, MATTER AND CONSCIOUSNESS). The Illusion of Self (from Daniel Dennett, "Why Everyone is a Novelist"). The Chinese Room (from John Searle, "Minds, Brains, and Programs"). Life after Death (from Patricia Churchland, BRAIN-WISE). Nature and Nurture (from Mary Midgley and Judith Hughes, WOMEN'S CHOICES).


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Meet the Author

Author Bio

Thomas F. Wall

Thomas F. Wall is a Professor of Philosophy at Emmanuel College, where he received the Faculty Excellence Award in 2001. He is the author of numerous books, including MEDICAL ETHICS: THE BASIC MORAL PROBLEMS, THINKING CRITICALLY ABOUT PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS, and THINKING CRITICALLY ABOUT MORAL PROBLEMS. He currently teaches courses in Ethics, Human Nature, and the Philosophy of Mind.