Peter Alward’s rigorous introductory text functions as a roadmap for students, laying out the key issues, positions, and arguments of academic philosophy. The book covers central topics in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and political philosophy. An introductory chapter presents the foundations of philosophical discourse and offers a primer on the basics of logic. Those argumentative tools are then employed to address classic philosophical issues such as the relationship between body and mind, skepticism, the possibility of free will, and the existence of God. Later chapters engage issues of morality, justice, and liberty, as well as moral questions concerning abortion and the practice of punishment. Throughout, Alward aims for clarity, providing summaries, diagrams, and reflective questions to assist the student reader.
“I have been searching for a way to introduce students to philosophy that acquaints them with both the style of philosophical reasoning and the kinds of problems that demand philosophical attention. Peter Alward’s text is an enormously successful effort in this direction. Clearly written and well organized, this book promises to develop students’ philosophical sensibilities and to equip them with a foundation that will enable them to profitably explore a variety of philosophical subdisciplines.” — Chris Haufe, Case Western Reserve University
“This introductory textbook is clearly written, well organized, and user-friendly. Another virtue of the book is its coverage of a wider range of issues than is usual. Instructors will appreciate having the option of exposing students to topics such as modality and causation, for example, or truth and fiction, as well as to the standard ones. The chapter on philosophy of religion—which artfully frames the discussion in terms of questions about the nature of gods, rather than in the typical narrow, traditional, monotheistic manner—seems especially likely to disturb students’ dogmatic pre-philosophical slumbers.” — Thomas Adajian, James Madison University
“Professor Alward’s textbook is both comprehensive and lucid, covering a breadth of philosophical topics in a way that will be understandable to students new to the subject. I look forward to using this book in my own teaching.” — Paul Simard Smith, University of Windsor