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Fundamentals of Philosophy 8th Edition by David Stewart, ISBN-13: 978-0205242993



  • Format: PDF
  • Publisher: ‎ Pearson; 8th edition (February 16, 2012)
  • Language: ‎ English
  • 552 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎ 0205242995
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0205242993

Thematically introduces students to the major philosophic thinkers.

Fundamentals of Philosophy offers a broad scope of classic and contemporary selections from the world’s major thinkers via a narrative format that presents difficult issues and readings in a simplified manner for students.

Its readings are grouped around nine major themes/chapters, and are organized as a debate on one central issue. This approach helps students understand the argumentative style of philosophy, and learn how philosophic issues and solutions they encounter can be applied to their everyday life.

  • Fundamentals of Philosophy includes more material than can be covered in a single academic term, so instructors have options for their course.  (ex. p. ix)
  • The readings are grouped around nine major themes/chapters (listed below) and are organized as a debate on one central issue:
    • What is Philosophy? 
    • Thinking About Thinking (Logic)
    • What is Real? (Metaphysics)
    • How Do We Know? (Epistemology)
    • What Ought We to Do? (Ethics)
    • Philosophy of Religion
    • Philosophy of Art (Aesthetics)
    • Social and Political Philosophy
    • Eastern Thought
  • Chapter 3 (Philosophy’s History) gives students an introduction to the history of ideas.  (ex. p. 17)
  • Thomas A. Shipka’s “Are You a Critical Thinker” in Chapter 8 (Strategies for Philosophical Argument)provides students with a discussion of techniques essential to thinking about philosophical concepts.
  • The section on logical and analytical techniques presents students with discussions and readings on necessary and sufficient conditions, inductive arguments, casual reasoning, definition, analysis, and the difference between truth and validity. (ex. p. 46)
  • The section on Eastern thought focuses on philosophical rather than religious issues in Eastern thought. (ex. p. 475)


  • Questions for Discussion within each chapter encourage students to understand philosophy as a living discipline. (ex. p. 55)
  • A Glossary of Terms provides easy access to important terminology. (ex. p. 519)


  • Biographies and pictures of all major philosophers stimulate interest in the issues by situating each philosopher’s position within the context of his/her life. (ex. p. 342)
  • “Recent Developments” in each chapter help students understand the contemporary applications of philosophy. (ex. p. 418)

New to This Edition:

  • Chapter 20 (Moral Skepticism) is new to the 8th edition.
    • The chapter considers philosophers like Friedrich Nietzsche who are skeptical of the core of traditional morality. It also discusses other philosophers like J.L. Mackie who are skeptical of the existence of objective moral facts.  (ex. p. 248)
    • A selection from J.L. Mackie’s “Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong” is included, as is a reconstruction and evaluation of Mackie’s argument from relativity.  (ex. p. 254)
  • Chapter 21 (Morality and Metaphysics) is also new to the 8th edition.
    • The centerpiece of the chapter is an article by Matthew Jordan on whether morality is dependent on the existence of God. (ex. p. 265)
    • The chapter includes analysis of ordinary commitment to the existence of objective moral facts.  (ex. p. 261)
    • The authors consider non-naturalism, intuitionalism, and divine command theory in their discussions. (ex. p. 263)
  • Expanded coverage of traditional issues in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. (ex. p. 74)
  • The discussion of philosophy and pop culture for this edition has been condensed and now focuses on connections made to specific issues within the various chapters. (ex. p. 386)


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