First Philosophy: Concise – Second Edition
Fundamental Problems and Readings in Philosophy
  • Publication Date: January 30, 2012
  • ISBN: 9781554810574 / 1554810574
  • 752 pages; 7¾" x 9¼"

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First Philosophy: Concise – Second Edition

Fundamental Problems and Readings in Philosophy

  • Publication Date: January 30, 2012
  • ISBN: 9781554810574 / 1554810574
  • 752 pages; 7¾" x 9¼"

Andrew Bailey’s highly-regarded introductory anthology has been revised and updated in this new concise edition. Mindful of the intrinsic difficulty of the material, the editors provide comprehensive introductions both to each topic and to each individual selection. By presenting a detailed discussion of the historical and intellectual background to each piece, the editors enable readers to approach the material without unnecessary barriers to understanding. Helpful explanatory footnotes are provided throughout, and new sections on philosophical puzzles and paradoxes and philosophical terminology have been added.

A concise edition is also available.

A newer anthology adapted from this one, titled The Broadview Introduction to Philosophy, is also available.


Praise for the first edition:

“I would recommend First Philosophy to anyone teaching an introductory philosophy course.” — Paul Churchland, University of California, San Diego

“This is an extremely well-done philosophy text. … [It] should become a standard in introductory philosophy classes.” — Patricia Blanchette, University of Notre Dame

First Philosophy has a good selection of articles for my purposes, and the accompanying introductory background material is absolutely brilliant.” — Jillian Scott McIntosh, Simon Fraser University

“The introductions are fabulous; students find them very helpful. Overall, First Philosophy is an excellent anthology for first-year students; the text has made my job significantly easier.” — Jennifer M. Phillips, Indiana University, Bloomington

“Bailey’s extensive and informative introductions are excellent and are a great help to both students and instructors. Bailey’s choice of readings along with his wonderful introductions make First Philosophy the best introductory philosophy text I have used.” — Marc Ereshefsky, University of Calgary

“The main difference between other anthologies and First Philosophy is Bailey’s supplementary material, which is excellent. The explicative material is likewise excellent: clear, highly relevant, useful, easily understood. The wonderful supplementary material makes this a very good text indeed.” — Jeff Foss, University of Victoria

First Philosophy combines a great selection of texts with thoughtful, accessible introductory material. It’s a wonderful, perfectly pitched introduction to the discipline for lower division students. It is always my first choice when I’m teaching ‘Intro.’” — Shannon Dea, University of Waterloo

How to Use This Book

Suggestions for Abridgement

Chapter 1: Philosophy

What Is Philosophy?
A Brief Introduction to Arguments
Introductory Tips on Reading and Writing Philosophy

Chapter 2: Philosophy of Religion—Does God Exist?

Introduction to the Question
St. Anselm of Canterbury

  • Proslogion, Preface and Chapters 2–5
    Pro Insipiente (“On Behalf of the Fool”), by Gaunilo of Marmoutiers
    Anselm’s Reply to Gaunilo

St. Thomas Aquinas

  • Summa Theologiae, Part I, Question 2, The Existence of God (In Three Articles)

David Hume

  • from Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

J.L. Mackie

  • “Evil and Omnipotence”

William James

  • “The Will to Believe”

Chapter 3: Epistemology—Is the External World the Way It Appears to Be?

Introduction to the Question
René Descartes

  • Meditations on First Philosophy

John Locke

  • from An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

George Berkeley

  • Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, First Dialogue

David Hume

  • from An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Sections IV and V

Immanuel Kant

  • Critique of Pure Reason, Introduction

Bertrand Russell

  • The Problems of Philosophy, Chapters 1–3

Lorraine Code

  • “Is the Sex of the Knower Epistemologically Significant?”

Chapter 4: Metaphysics

Introduction to the Question: What Is the Place of Mind in the Physical World?

Gilbert Ryle

  • The Concept of Mind, Chapter 1, “Descartes’s Myth”

Hilary Putnam

  • “The Nature of Mental States”

John R. Searle

  • “Minds, Brains and Programs”

Thomas Nagel

  • “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?”

David Chalmers

  • “The Puzzle of Conscious Experience”

Introduction to the Question: Do We Have Free Will?

Paul Rée

  • The Illusion of Free Will, Chapters 1 and 2

C.A. Campbell

  • On Selfhood and Godhood, Lecture IX, “Has the Self Free Will?”

A.J. Ayer

  • “Freedom and Necessity”

Bernard Williams and Thomas Nagel

  • “Moral Luck”

Chapter 5: Ethics—How Ought We to Live Our Lives?

Introduction to the Question


  • Republic, Book II (357a–367e)


  • from The Nicomachean Ethics, Books I, II, and X

Immanuel Kant

  • Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, First and Second Sections

John Stuart Mill

  • Utilitarianism, Chapters 1–4

Friedrich Nietzsche

  • Beyond Good and Evil, §§259–261

Virginia Held

  • “Feminist Transformations of Moral Theory”

Mary Midgley

  • “Is a Dolphin a Person?”

Chapter 6: Social/Political Philosophy—What Is Justice?

Introduction to the Question


  • The Nicomachean Ethics, Book V, Sections 1-5

Thomas Hobbes

  • from Leviathan, Parts I and II

John Stuart Mill

  • from On Liberty

Simone de Beauvoir

  • “Introduction” to The Second Sex

John Rawls

  • Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, Part II: Principles of Justice, §§12-13

Robert Nozick

  • from Anarchy, State, and Utopia

Susan Moller Okin

  • “Justice and Gender”

Appendix 1: Philosophical Puzzles and Paradoxes

Appendix 2: Philosophical Lexicon

Image Credits


Sources for Quotations

Andrew Bailey is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy, University of Guelph.

Robert M. Martin is Professor of Philosophy (retired), Dalhousie University.

First Philosophy offers companion sites and extra content for both instructors and students.

The instructor site features teaching notes on many authors, suggested essay topics, and questions for discussion, as well as multiple-choice review questions on each of the book’s readings, which can be downloaded as Word files or in a digital format that can be uploaded to many Learning Management Systems (Blackboard, Moodle, etc.). An access code to the website is included with all examination copies.

The student companion site has additional readings, interactive self-test quizzes, materials on writing about philosophy, and sample essays. An access code to the website is included with all new copies. If you purchased a used copy or are missing your passcode for this site, please click here to purchase a code online.

Sample Introductions and Readings from First Philosophy (open as PDF):

David Hume, from An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

John Stuart Mill, from Utilitarianism

Simon de Beauvoir, from The Second Sex

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