Philosophy 101 Nesse

Course Readings

St. Anselm On God’s Existence (Proslogion) and Gaunilo’s critique In Behalf of the Fool. (1078) Translated by David Burr, History Department, Virginia Tech.


Five Ways (Quinque viæ)” St. Thomas Aquinas.


The Watchmaker Argument. William Paley (1802). Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity.

Chapters 1 and 3.

In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there: I might possibly answer, that for any thing I know to the contrary, it had lain there for ever: nor would it perhaps be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place; I should hardly think of the answer which I had before given, that for any thing I knew, the watch might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch, as well as for the stone? why is it not as admissible in the second case as in the first? For this reason, and for no other, viz., that when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive (what we could not discover in the stone) that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose . . . This mechanism being observed . . . the inference, we think, is inevitable, that the watch must have had a maker; that there must have existed, at some time, and at some place of other, an artificer or artificers, who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer; who comprehended its construction, and designed its use.


Rebellion (Part II, Book V, Chapter 4)”. Dostoevsky (1880). The Brothers Karamazov. Translated by Constance Garnet.


Evil and Omnipotence” Mind, New Series, Vol. 64, No. 254. (Apr., 1955), pp. 200-212. By J. L. Mackie University of Sydney.


Of the System of Man’s Free Agency“. Baron d’Holbach (1770).  System of Nature. Chapter 11. Translated by Samuel Wikinson.


How Physics and Neuroscience Dictate Your ‘Free’ Will“.  Christof Koch (May 1, 2012). Scientific American Mind.

The Myth of Sisyphus: And Other Essays“. Albert Camus (1942, French). Translated by Justin O’Brien (1955). Core myth.


Famine, Affluence, and Morality“. Peter Singer (1972).  Philosophy and Public Affairs, vol. 1, no. 1 (Spring 1972), pp. 229-243.


Why Abortion is Immoral”. Don Marquis (April 1989).  The Journal of Philosophy vol. 86, pp. 183-202.


A Defense of Abortion“. Judith Jarvis Thomson (Autumn 1971). Philosophy and Public Affairs. Vol.1, No.1. pp.47-66.


The Prince and the Cobbler“. John Locke.


Riddles of Existence: A Guided Tour of Metaphysics”. Theodore Sider (2004).


Meditations on First Philosophy.” René Descartes (1641).