General Discussion: Introduction to Philosophy

@clhendricksbc @zoe I see the submitted chapters but not the folder that they are in. That folder with files inside was visible to me until I changed the permissions of the files to allow people with the link to comment but not edit.

@geoslack I’ve just shared the folder with you directly - hopefully that fixes things?

Hi everyone,

We have new Part Editors for several parts of this text, and some of them have created outlines for their Parts that are ready for comment by people in this group. Here is what we have ready for comment:

Social & Political philosophy: outline is here, join the discussion thread here

Logic: outline is here, join the discussion thread here

Philosophy of Mind: outline is here, join the discussion thread here

Philosophy of Religion: outline is here, join the discussion thread here

Note that for any discussion threads you want to follow, it’s good to click “watching” at the bottom to make sure you get email notifications when there are new posts. I think that if you post to the thread you’re automatically watching but I’m not 100% positive of that.

Finally, there are still some chapters remaining on Ethics and Aesthetics, in case anyone wanted to sign-up for them! Look at the chapters available, and indicate your interest in this discussion thread.

And we have one more new Part outline ready for comments! It’s on Metaphysics. See the information and link to that outline on the Metaphysics thread:

Please read the outline and make comments if you feel you have expertise in metaphysics!

Thanks to everyone who provided their feedback on the various part outlines! They are now closed for comments. We will start looking for chapter authors for these parts very soon, and if you’re interested in contributing, look for gaps in the Public TOC and indicate your interest in this thread.

Hi everyone,

We’ve made a lot of progress finalizing the chapters for several parts, and are now looking to recruit authors! We’re looking for contributors for these parts:

There are also some outstanding chapters in the Ethics and Aesthetics parts.

If you’d like to write a chapter, please comment in the appropriate part thread (linked above) and include:

  • your CV
  • a brief summary of your experience teaching an introductory course in philosophy, and
  • the chapter(s) you want to write.

Alternatively, you can send me this information via email (send to, and I will pass it along to the part editors in question.

The chapters in each part are listed in the Public TOC spreadsheet.

Hi folks, the outline for the Aesthetics book in this series has now been revised by one of our newest editors, Valery Vinogradvos, and we are eager to hear your feedback! Please read through outline in Google Docs, linked above, and leave your comments there, before Feb. 13. Valery will make final edits to the outline based on your feedback, and we’ll begin looking for chapter authors soon after.

We also have some exciting news about how the series is progressing so far, so stay tuned to hear more updates from @clhendricksbc!

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As promised in the last post, here is an update as to where we are at the moment with what has now become a series of books rather than a single, large book.

We have nine books in the series, and each now has an editor! You can see all the parts and the chapters we have authors for at the moment, on our Public Table of Contents.

The person who was the editor for Aesthetics had to leave the project, and we just recently found a new editor. As noted in the previous message, there is a revised outline for the book that is open for comment. There were already some chapters written, and they’ll fit into the outline, but the outline also adds more chapter ideas.

We recently got an editor for the Philosophy of Science book as well, and an outline for that book is on its way soon, to be open for comment.

Finally, we have three books that have been through peer review and are nearing production: Philosophy of Mind, Ethics, and Logic. Look for those to be out and available soon!


Looking for people to review and comment on the outline of proposed chapters for our newest book, Philosophy of Science!

We have an editor for the book, Eran Asoulin, and he has drafted an outline of chapters. Please read and comment on it at the above link. We’ll leave it open for comment until about the end of the first week of March.

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We are also looking for anyone who would be willing to help input chapters from one or more books into the PressBooks platform, as we near the point of publication for three of our books! We need help with not only copying and pasting into PressBooks, but also some cleanup of formatting after the input.

Copyeditors would be helpful too!

If you’d be willing to do any of that work, please reply. Thanks!

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I have some exciting news! We have just published the first volume in this series: Introduction to Philosophy: Philosophy of Mind!

Here is the release announcement on the Rebus blog.

It has been a fantastic effort by many people to get this book published, including by the book editor @heathersalazarom, all of the chapter authors, the cover designer Jonathan Lashley (with cover art by book editor Heather Salazar), our copy editor @metatechne, and @xolotl, who put the content into Pressbooks and helped a lot with formatting.

I want to thank all of them, plus @apurva and @zoe for their help throughout the project, and @LeighKP for helping with publicizing calls for submissions and the book itself.

Please share widely!


I didn’t know @heathersalazarom did the cover art. It’s beautiful!


I just got a blog post about this series published at the American Philosophical Association Blog! It describes some of the motivation behind the series as well as a bit about the process.


Update! We recently published the Ethics book in this series, which follows the first book, Philosophy of Mind. We’re excited to see the books starting to be published! Logic and Philosophy of Religion are not too far behind.


I have a general question about making an OER book that will be in PDF format. What would be wrong with matching the PDF thumbnail numbers with the page-numbers-on-the-page numbers?

For example, I am using the Introductory to Philosophy: Ethics textbook for my ethics class this semester. Chapter 5, “Utilitarianism”, starts on page 45 of the text (bottom right of the page). But the PDF thumbnail is 61. Why not just make the page number of the text 61?

So the INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK would be page 17 instead of 1. That may seem a bit prima facie odd, but you gain clarity and usability. For example, when I tell my students, “it’s on page 20”, they can just use the thumbnails and get to thumbnail 20 which is page 20.

Obviously this doesn’t apply to EPUB, but it seems to me that it might be the way to go for PDF. Thoughts anyone?

Thank you for the question here. The pagination of the book is done automatically by Pressbooks, such that the “front matter” (which includes everything before the introduction) is paginated with roman numerals, and the arabic numerals start with the introduction.

This may be something that could be overridden, but I think it follows general practice for book publishing. I’ll ask @apurva for her thoughts on this question!

(Apology for my very belated reply…I have gotten behind on following along with the discussion on these threads, which I’m working to remedy and plan to keep up more diligently!)

@therrnstein - I see how it can be more straightforward for the page numbers (on the page) to correspond to the PDF thumbnails. As Christina noted, Pressbooks automatically paginates books using the publishing industry standard of roman numerals for fronmatter sections, switching to arabic numbers for the “main body” of the book. This is very common with printed academic/scholarly or even trade books (fiction/non-fiction), and in fact is one of the rules of the Chicago Manual of Style (which is the style guide that this series follows). I believe this is done mainly to assure easier addition of front matter without affecting the body text too much, and back matter items like an index where pagination is critical.

Christina, if you’d like, we can probably control the display of these numbers using Custom CSS. Let me know how you’d like to proceed!

Thank you for the detailed replies. My concern is the ease of use and not causing confusion in the class with what we are all supposed to read. Last semester I listed both pages on the daily reading list, such as, “44-50 (pdf pages 60-66)”. What is a better way to do it? The obvious answer is to stick to pages numbers only and tell them to ignore what PDF page it is; however, people do not listen nor follow directions, so every semester you have to go through the confusion and train them to ignore the PDF pages. Perhaps not that big of a deal, and this is the answer. How do you do it?

Also, how do you accommodate students who are using an EPUB version in the same class as others using a PDF version – what do you do then?

All good questions — I don’t teach these courses myself, but Christina and George do, so I’m curious to learn what their approaches have been. @christina.hendricks, @geoslack

An initial thought is whether you can indicate the Chapter information in the syllabus, rather than page number, but of course this works if students are expected to read a full chapter within a week. The chapters are typically hyperlinked from the table of contents in all the digital versions, so it should be fairly easy to navigate to. (As an aside: Learning to navigate to the assigned reading/ chapter for that week may help them hone their discovery and research skills too, as students may encounter secondary sources in different formats.)

I think it’s also worth informing students that this is an OER, and may be different from traditional textbooks they use — see the How to Access and Use the Book section. They have the option to read the book in multiple formats and devices, both print and digital, which means that things like page numbers aren’t static in the way they might be with a physical book. The variety here is to ensure that they can use the format that supports their learning style and preferences the best.

I imagine the other instructors will have more concrete tips for you! :smiley:

Hi @therrnstein, these are very good questions. When I teach with online or digital resources such as PDFs or epubs I run into the same issue. I don’t think there’s a perfect way to solve it. If students are mostly using the digital PDF, then using both page numbers as you have done can work (though as you note, this can still be confusing. Or one could ask them to search in the digital work for a phrase (e.g., I chose “virtuous character” to search in the ethics book), and depending on the phrase, it may take them right to it. Note that for some platforms one may have to use quotation marks around the whole phrase or else it will find pages that have “virtuous” and “character” (e.g.) separately.

Depending on the work one can also use landmarks like chapter numbers and section headers; students could scroll to the section or search for the section title as a phrase as above. For online resources on web pages that’s what I usually resort to–students have to try to find the right section, and sometimes I’ll even say “start with the sentence that begins…”. It’s not ideal but sometimes that’s all that’s possible, depending on the resource!

For the digital PDFs we have tried to format them so that one can use the “table of contents” function on PDF readers, where you can list the contents on the side of the document. That way you can easily go to each section of the book without scrolling through the various pages.

I am not inclined to make a change to the book to include page numbers that start with the title page, I’m afraid. If we were to make a change to the Ethics book we should do that for all of the books in the series, for consistency. But this would make the series different than most other digital books with PDF exports (including other open textbooks) and would result in page numbers for title pages and blank pages, which seems somewhat unusual.

I hope some of these suggestions for how to address the issue are helpful, though I realize they don’t solve it completely.

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