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Voices of Wisdom – 5th Edition


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Kingston – Books 3 – IMG_1128

Author: Gary E. Kessler

Publisher: Thompson/Wadsworth


Since the publication of the first edition of Voices of Wisdom, I am gratified to note that more introductory textbooks now incorporate a multicultural perspective – a perspective that was unique to this introductory reader when it was first published in 1992, At that time the introductory readers that we available treated philosophy as if was an entirely an Angelo-European male phenomenon. Little or no attention was given to Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, African, Native American, Latin American, and feminist philosophy. Voices of Wisdom helped to change that situation, offering, to those who wished it the possibility of assigning significant readings that represent the global nature of philosophizing. This fifth edition continues to offer a multicultural perspective and has benefited from the teaching and learning experiences of the many instructors and students who used the previous editions. Readers have learned that ideas from other cultures are worth careful consideration and that these ideas make important contributions to human understanding.

Philosophy in a Multicultural Perspective

Although I wish to stress the universal nature of philosophizing, I am well aware of the dangers of Anachronism. A text of this sort not only problems associated with anachronism in the historical sense but also what we might term “cultural anachronism.” The writings of ancient philosophers mingle with modern texts, and thinkers from different cultures from different cultures are brought together. The student might get the impression that Plato, Buddha, Nietzsche, Confucius, Descartes, and Aristotle are all contemporaries discussing the same issues with the same concepts in English! There are similarities. But there are also vast differences. Where appropriate, the important similarities and differences are stressed in my introductory remarks.
My selection of issues betrays my own Anglo-European perspective. Whereas many of the topics are fundamental and universal (How should one live? Is knowledge possible? What is Really real?), their importance and centrality differ from tradition to tradition. The mind-body problem, the puzzle of freedom and determinism, the problem of moral skepticism – these problems are not necessarily the central ones that gripped the mind of the Chinese or Indian philosophers, Just as Anglo-European philosophers have not had much to say about Karma, Buddist thinkers have not been overly concerned with proving the existence of God.

Contents by Chapter

Chapter 1. What is a Philosophy?
1.1 A Definition of Philosophy
1.2 What is Rationality?
1.3 Why Study Multicultural Philosophy?
1.4 Does Philosophy Bake Bread?
Bertrand Russell: On the Value of Philosophy
1.5 Reading Philosophy

Chapter 2. How Should One Live?
2.1 Introduction
2.2 The Buddha and the Middle Way
The Buddha: The Four Noble Truths
Walpola Rahula: The Fourth Noble Truth
2.3 Confucius and the Life of Virtue
D.C. Lau: Confucius and Moral Character
2.4 Socrates on Living the Examined Life
Plato: The Apology
2.5 Aristotle on Happiness and the Life of Moderation
Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics
2.6 The Song of God
2.7 Does Life Have Meaning?
Daniel Kolak and Raymond Martin: Meaning
Chapter 3. How Can I Know What Is Right?
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Kant and the Categorical Imperative
Immanuel Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals
3.3 Utilitarianism
John Stuart Mill: What Utilitarianism Is
3.4 Revaluation of Values.
Frederich Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil
On the Genealogy of Morality
3.4 Care versus Rights
Joy Koerger-Mappes: The Ethic of Care vis-à-vis the Ethic of Rights
3.6 Moral Relativism
David Wong: Relativism
Chapter 4. What Makes a Society Just?
4.1 Introduction
4.2 God and Justice
Majid Khadduri: The Islamic Conception of Justice
4.3 Capitalism and Exploitation
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Manifesto of the Communist Party
4.4 The Original Position
John Rawls: A Theory of Justice
4.5 Our Obligation to the State
Plato: Crito
4.6 Civil Disobedience
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Letter from Birmingham Jail
4.7. Sovereignty and Justice: An Indigenist’s Viewpoint
Ward Churchill: Perversion of Justice
Chapter 5 Is Justice for All, Possible?
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Universal Human Rights
Rene’ Trujillo: Human Rights in the Age of Discovery”
United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
5.3 Racism and Feminism
bell hooks: Ain’t I a Woman
5.4 Globalization and Justice
Benjamin R. Barber: Jihad vs McWorld
5.5 Terrorism and Mortality
Bat-Ami Bar On: Why Terrorism Is Morally Problematic
5.6 Justice and the Land
Aldo Leopold: The Land Ethic

Chapter 6 Is Knowledge Possible?
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Sufi Mysticism
Al-Ghazali: Deliverance from Error
6.3 Is Certainty Possible?
Rene’ Descartes: Meditations I and II
6.4 Empiricism and Limited Skepticism
David Hume: An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
6.5 Should We Believe Beyond the Evidence?
William K. Clifford: The Ethics of Belief
William James: The Will to Believe
6.6 Classical Indian Epistemology
D.M. Datta: Knowledge and the Methods of Knowledge
6.7 Afrocentric Feminist Epistemology
Patricia Hill Collins: Toward and Afrocentric Feminist Epistemology
Chapter 7 Does Science Tell Us the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth?
7.1 Introduction
7.2 The Growth of Scientific Knowledge
Karl R Popper: Conjectures and Refutations
7.3 Scientific Revolution
Thomas S. Kuhn: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
7.4 Feminism and Science
Elizabeth Anderson: Knowledge, Human Interests, and Objectivity in Feminist Epistemology
7.5 Japanese Views of Western Science
Thomas P. Kasulis: Sushi, Science, and Spirituality
7.6 Science and Traditional Thought
Kwame Anthony Appiah: Old Gods, New Worlds

Chapter 8 What is Really Real?
8.1 Introduction
8.2 The Dao
Laozi: Dao De Jung
8.3 Platonic Dualism
Plato: The Republic
8.4 Nondualism
Shankara: The Crest-Jewel of Discrimination
8.5 Subjective Idealism
George Berkley: The Principles of Human Knowledge
8.6 Pre-Columbian Cosmologies
Jorge Valadez: Pre-Columbian Philosophical Perspectives
8.7 So What Is Real?
Jorge Luis Borges: The Circular Ruins

Chapter 9 Are We Free or Determined?
9.1 Introduction
9.2 We Are Determined
Laura Waddell Ekstrom: Arguments for Incompatibilism
9.3 We Are Free
Jean-Paul Sarter: Existentialism
9.4 Karma and Freedom
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan: Karma and Freedom
9.5 We Are Both Free and Determined
Raymond M. Smullyan: Is God a Taoist?

Chapter 10 What Am I?
10.1 Introduction
10.2 You Are Your Mind
Rene’ Descartes: Meditation VI
10.3 You Are an Embodied Self
Eve Browning Cole: Body, Mind and Gender
10.4 You Are a Computing Machine
Bruce H. Hinrichs: Computing the Mind
10.5 You Are Not a Machine
John Searle: Can Computers Think?

Chapter 11 Who Am I?
11.1 Introduction
11.2 There Is No Self
The Buddha: False Doctrines about the Soul
11.3 Down with the Ego
Derek Parfit: Divided minds and the Nature of Persons
11.4 Where Am I?
Daniel Dennett: Brainstorms
11.5 Social Identity
Gloria Anzaldua: How to Tame a Wild Tongue
11.6 Gender Identity
Deirdre (Donald) N. McLoskey: Crossing

Chapter 12 Is There a God?
12.1 Introduction
12.2 Arguments for God’s Existence
St. Thomas Aquinas: The Five Ways
William Craig: The Kalam Arguments from Islam
Gunapala Dharmasiri: Problems with the Cosmological Argument
12.3 Hinduism and Science
P. Venugopopala Rao: Science and Dharma
12.4 Creation vs. Evolution
Richard Dawkins: The Blind Watchmaker
12.5 The Mystery of Evil
Louis P. Poajman: The Problem of Evil
12.6 The Gender of God
Mary Daly: Beyond God the Father
12.7 Are All Religions True?
John B. Cobb, Jr.: Beyond Pluralism

Appendix I Glossary

Appendix II Pronunciation Guides

Paperback 570 pages ISBN: 0-534-60570-2

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