Life Examined: Foundational Themes in Ethical and Socio-Political Thought
  • Publication Date: August 16, 2019
  • ISBN: 9781554813841 / 1554813840
  • 656 pages; 7¾" x 9¼"
Exam Copy

Availability: Canada & the US

Life Examined: Foundational Themes in Ethical and Socio-Political Thought

  • Publication Date: August 16, 2019
  • ISBN: 9781554813841 / 1554813840
  • 656 pages; 7¾" x 9¼"

Life Examined is an anthology of carefully edited readings designed to serve as an introduction to many of the fundamental concepts of ethical and socio-political thought. It includes primary sources from a variety of traditions, with selections that range chronologically from ancient times through to the present day. These readings have been thoughtfully selected, edited, and contextualized to provide students with opportunities to sharpen their capacities for critical and theoretical reflection. The book begins with three key texts that frame the historical discourse. Subsequent chapters are organized around ethical themes and theoretical questions that have animated debates throughout the ages, including the nature of practical rationality, scientific reasoning, wisdom, the law, equality, power, violence, and identity.

Comments

Life Examined comprises an astoundingly wide range of material, appropriate not only for a variety of introductory philosophy courses but also for intermediate and more advanced courses in everything from ethics and economics to political theory and social criticism. The admirably diverse and well balanced selection includes readings by authors from Siddhartha Gautama to Naomi Klein, representing various disciplines and eras, numerous countries and continents, different cultures and languages, and widely differing value systems and moral perspectives. This is an ideal textbook, and a resource that readers will want to return to for years to come.” — Jeff Mitscherling, University of Guelph

“This anthology will help students to escape the horizons of their own settled ways of life by presenting them with a diversity of historical, cultural, political, and philosophical perspectives. The selections are drawn from Western and Eastern philosophical traditions as well as indigenous and radical voices deeply critical of the canon and the values it champions. At the same time, the selections are not fashionably eclectic but chosen with clear philosophical purpose, concisely explained in the overview essays by the editors which begin each chapter. The text should stand out in a very crowded field.” — Jeff Noonan, University of Windsor

Acknowledgements
Introduction

UNIT I: SELF-EXAMINATION, INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE

Chapter 1: Ethical Crises, Self-examination, and Citizenship

  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.2 Plato (427–347 BCE)
    • 1.2.1 Apology of Socrates, Defense Speech (17a–35d)
    • 1.2.2 Apology of Socrates, Sentencing Speech (35e–38b)
    • 1.2.3 Apology of Socrates, Departing Speech (38c–42a)
    • 1.2.4 Crito
  • 1.3 Immanuel Kant (1724–1804)
    • “What Is Enlightenment?”
  • 1.4 Naomi Klein (1970–)
    • from This Changes Everything
  • 1.5 Review Questions
  • 1.6 Further Reading

UNIT II: RATIONALITY, KNOWLEDGE, AND NORMATIVE INQUIRY

Chapter 2: Critical Judgement, Scientific Reasoning, and Modes of Argumentation

  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Plato (427–347 BCE)
    • from Meno (81e–86b)
  • 2.3 Aristotle (384–322 BCE)
    • 2.3.1 from Metaphysics
    • 2.3.2 from Physics
    • 2.3.3 from Posterior Analytics
  • 2.4 Francis Bacon (1561–1626)
    • from Novum Organum (The New Organon)
  • 2.5 Galileo Galilei (1564–1642)
    • 2.5.1 from The Assayer
    • 2.5.2 from “Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina”
  • 2.6 Isaac Newton (1643–1727)
    • from Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy)
  • 2.7 Charles Darwin (1809–1882)
    • from The Origin of Species
  • 2.8 Svante Arrhenius (1859–1927)
    • from “On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground”
  • 2.9 Albert Einstein (1879–1955)
    • from The Meaning of Relativity
  • 2.10 Karl Popper (1904–1994)
    • from “The Logic and Evolution of Scientific Theory”
  • 2.11 Thomas Kuhn (1922–1996)
    • from The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
  • 2.12 Review Questions
  • 2.13 Further Reading

Chapter 3: Wisdom, Enlightenment, and the Uncertainty of Human Life

  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Siddhartha Gautama (563–483 BCE, Buddhism)
    • 3.2.1 “First Sermon at Benares”
    • 3.2.2 “The Synopsis of Truth”
    • 3.2.3 “The Fool”
    • 3.2.4 “The Wise Man”
    • 3.2.5 “The Path”
  • 3.3 Confucius (551–478 BCE)
    • from The Analects
  • 3.4 Solomon (tenth century BCE)
    • from Proverbs
  • 3.5 Aristotle (384–322 BCE)
    • from Nicomachean Ethics, Books I and VI
  • 3.6 Cleanthes (331–232 BCE, Stoicism)
    • “Hymn to Zeus”
  • 3.7 Epicurus (341–271 BCE)
    • “Letter to Menoeceus”
  • 3.8 Sextus Empiricus (160–210, Skepticism)
    • from Against the Ethicists
  • 3.9 St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
    • x3.9.1 from Summa Theologiae
    • 3.9.2 from Summa Contra Gentiles
  • 3.10 Zar’a Yaqob (1599–1692)
    • from Treatise of Zar’a Yaqob
  • 3.11 David Hume (1711–1776)
    • from A Treatise of Human Nature
  • 3.12 Edmund Burke (1729–1797)
    • from Reflections on the Revolution in France
  • 3.13 Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)
    • from Joyful Wisdom
  • 3.14 Albert Camus (1913–1960)
    • from The Myth of Sisyphus
  • 3.15 Review Questions
  • 3.16 Further Reading

Chapter 4: Laws, Rules, and Duties

  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Confucius (551–478 BCE)
    • from The Analects
  • 4.3 Herodotus (490–425 BCE)
    • from The History of Herodotus, Book 3.38
  • 4.4 Skepticism
    • 4.4.1 Sextus Empiricus (160–210 CE), from Outlines of Pyrrhonism
    • 4.4.2 Diogenes Laertius (3rd century CE), from “Life of Pyrrho”
    • 4.4.3 Philo Judaeus (30 BCE–45 CE), from On Drunkenness
  • 4.5 St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
    • from Summa Theologiae
  • 4.6 Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679)
    • from Leviathan
  • 4.7 Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (1689–1755)
    • from The Spirit of the Laws
  • 4.8 Immanuel Kant (1724–1804)
    • from Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals
  • 4.9 Edmund Burke (1729–1797)
    • from Reflections on the Revolution in France
  • 4.10 Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)
    • 4.10.1 from Human, All Too Human
    • 4.10.2 from The Antichrist
    • 4.10.3 from Beyond Good and Evil (from Ch. 9: What Is Noble?)
    • 4.10.4 from Joyful Wisdom
  • 4.11 From Nuremberg Laws (1935, German Legislation)
  • 4.12 From UN Declaration of Human Rights (1948, United Nations Proclamation)
  • 4.13 Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968)
    • from “Letter from the Birmingham City Jail”
  • 4.14 Review Questions
  • 4.15 Further Reading

Chapter 5: Property, Equality, and Economics

  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Aristotle (384–322 BCE)
    • from Politics I
  • 5.3 John Locke (1632–1704)
    • from Second Treatise on Government
  • 5.4 Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778)
    • from A Discourse upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality among Mankind
  • 5.5 Adam Smith (1723–1790)
    • from The Wealth of Nations
  • 5.6 Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859)
    • from Democracy in America
  • 5.7 Karl Marx (1818–1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820–1893)
    • 5.7.1 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto
    • 5.7.2 Karl Marx, Kapital: A Critique of Political Economy
  • 5.8 David Harvey (1935–)
    • from A Brief History of Neoliberalism
  • 5.9 Review Questions
  • 5.10 Further Reading

UNIT III: POWER, VIOLENCE, AND POLITICAL ETHICS

Chapter 6: Propaganda and Power

  • 6.1 Introduction
  • 6.2 Confucius (551–478 BCE)
    • from The Analects
  • 6.3 Plato (427–347 BCE)
    • 6.3.1 from Gorgias
    • 6.3.2 from Phaedrus
  • 6.4 Aristotle (384–322 BCE)
    • from Rhetoric
  • 6.5 Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527)
    • from The Prince
  • 6.6 John Stuart Mill (1806–1873)
    • from On Liberty
  • 6.7 Michel Foucault (1926–1984)
    • from Discipline and Punish
  • 6.8 Edward S. Herman (1925–2017) and Noam Chomsky (1928–)
    • from Manufacturing Consent
  • 6.9 Gerald Taiaiake Alfred (1964–)
    • from Peace, Power, Righteousness
  • 6.10 Review Questions
  • 6.11 Further Reading

Chapter 7: Violence and Civility

  • 7.1 Introduction
  • 7.2 Thucydides (c. 460–c. 400 BCE)
    • from The Peloponnesian War (Melian and Mitylenian Dialogues)
  • 7.3 St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
    • Summa Theologiae, Question 40. War: Is Some Kind of War Lawful?
  • 7.4 Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)
    • from On the Genealogy of Morals
  • 7.5 Sigmund Freud (1856–1939)
    • from Civilization and Its Discontents
  • 7.6 Heinrich Himmler (1900–1945)
    • from A Speech at Posen, October 1943
  • 7.7 Hannah Arendt (1906–1975)
    • from Eichmann in Jerusalem
  • 7.8 Frantz Fanon (1925–1961)
    • from Wretched of the Earth, “Concerning Violence”
  • 7.9 Philip Zimbardo (1933–)
    • from The Lucifer Effect
  • 7.10 Review Questions
  • 7.11 Further Reading

Chapter 8: Political Identity and Human Nature

  • 8.1 Introduction
  • 8.2 Stoicism
    • 8.2.1 Epictetus (55–135 CE), from Discourses 2
    • 8.2.2 Hierocles (2nd century CE), Fragments Quoted by Stobaeus
  • 8.3 Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797)
    • from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects
  • 8.4 Toussaint L’Ouverture (1743–1803)
    • 8.4.1 Jean-Bertrand Aristide, “Introduction,” The Haitian Revolution: Toussaint L’Ouverture
    • 8.4.2 Letters (3, 9, 13, 20)
  • 8.5 Sojourner Truth (1797–1883)
    • Speech to the 1851 Women’s Convention
  • 8.6 John Stuart Mill (1806–1873)
    • from On Liberty
  • 8.7 Edward Said (1935–2003)
    • from Orientalism, Ch. 1: “Knowing the Oriental”
  • 8.8 bell hooks (1952–)
    • from Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center
  • 8.9 Glen Coulthard (1974–)
    • from Red Skin, White Masks
  • 8.10 Murray Bookchin (1921–2006)
    • from Post-Scarcity Anarchism
  • 8.11 Nelson Mandela (1918–2013)
    • from South African Trial Transcripts (1962), “Black Man in a White Man’s Court”
  • 8.12 Review Questions
  • 8.13 Further Reading
  • Appendix: Timeline of Authors and Figures
  • Permissions Acknowledgements
  • Nick Garside, Jonathan Lavery, and Charles Wells teach at Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford.

    • — An ambitious and broad anthology of historical and contemporary writings on ethics, politics, society, and science.
    • — Thematically organized, this book covers an important range of intellectual and cultural themes, from “Critical Judgement, Scientific Reasoning, and Modes of Argumentation” to “Propaganda and Power”
    • — 80 readings are included, representing a variety of traditions, backgrounds, and time periods: authors include Plato, Confucius, Darwin, Fanon, Arendt, hooks, and many others.
    • — Introductions to each section and reading are provided, as are review questions and suggestions for further reading.