Project Archive: Introduction to Philosophy

This is a snapshot of project information archived on 2 September 2022. Please contact the project team for most recent updates.

Introduction to Philosophy

Subject: Philosophy & Ethics

Book Language: English

Audience: 100-level survey course/undergraduate

Book Cover:

Created date: October 16, 2019

Updated date: June 29, 2022


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This open textbook series is targeted at first year (college or university) students taking introductory survey courses in philosophy, and focuses on foundational ideas in philosophical inquiry in order to give them the basic framework needed to pursue higher-level courses. The books cover core concepts in Western philosophy, as well as other traditions.

The audience for the books is students who have not taken any philosophy courses before, and are entirely new to the discipline. Some students in introductory-level philosophy courses may of course have done previous work in philosophy, but the books do not assume any prior knowledge and are written in an accessible way for those unfamiliar with philosophical terms and traditions.

The books will be available for course adoptions in Philosophy survey courses around the world, with an expectation that future iterations or companion works can build on this starting point.

Short Description:

This series of open textbooks looks to provide students with an introduction to the canon of Philosophy, giving them the basic framework needed to pursue higher-level courses. The books will be available for course adoptions in Philosophy survey courses around the world, with an expectation that future iterations or companion works can build on this starting point. Here are the books that have been released so far:

Introduction to Philosophy: Philosophy of Mind

Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics

Introduction to Philosophy: Logic

Introduction to Philosophy: Philosophy of Religion

Introduction to Philosophy: Epistemology

Introduction to Philosophy: Aesthetic Theory and Practice

Let us know if you plan on adopting all or part of these books

, and look out for more releases soon! If you would like to see how you might contribute to the project, please see the “Volunteer sign up” thread in the discussion area, below.



Philosophy of Mind

The main questions in the philosophy of mind are derived from puzzles involving trying to develop a coherent theory of the nature and functions of the mind. Beginning with the nature of the mind, they include: Are minds separate from bodies or is the mind really just the body? If the mind is immaterial and the body material, how do they interact? How can this fit in with science? If the mind is just the body, then how is consciousness explained? How can we have experiences or free will to think and act? How can we explain the special relationship we seem to have with knowing our own mental states?


This part provides an overview of logic as the study of arguments, introducing important logical terms, tools, and distinctions. Since philosophy is primarily concerned with providing arguments for claims, and evaluating those arguments, it is tantamount that we understand what arguments are, how to recognise them, and how to go about evaluating them. The five chapters of this part aim to provide some of this fundamental information. The five chapters are: i) What is Logic? ii) Evaluating Arguments; iii) Necessary and Sufficient Conditions; iv) Informal Fallacies; v) Formal Logic in Philosophy.


Each of the the following chapters would have a similar sort of framework involving the main presentation, some key arguments (perhaps integrated into the text, perhaps as sidebars or separate subsections), some account of important figures from the history of philosophy, and a few case studies which could either come from real stories that bring up relevant issues in ethics or could be made up examples or thought experiments to illustrate the main points. The order of exposition is not strictly historical but more “dialectical” in the sense that it seems to me at least to follow a certain logical development.



The outline below provides the desired content of each chapter. However, note that chapter authors will have some flexibility with the details (the division of sections, their arrangement, and the section headings). Minor additions and subtractions to the proposed content will also be considered, if they can be effectively achieved within approximately 2500-2800 words per chapter.


On top of the core chapters suggested by the previous editor, I have added another five: on ancient aesthetics, Indigenous art, aesthetics and politics, recent and, finally, environmental aesthetics. Considering our collaborative work will become a free text for students, if we want the project to be a success, one would at the very least expect this volume to be similar in terms of content and quality to other introductory texts. However, because it is an original and valuable initiative, as far as philosophical culture is concerned, I suggest raising the bar higher. Instead of meeting the established norms, let’s invent them. The same (loosely Nietzschean) rationale applies to all chapters: hence I have asked the authors to provide their own interpretations of the respective themes.

Social & Political Philosophy

This part asks “how should we live together?” and how we should organize our society and government. It explores the ways in which social and political philosophies have influenced forms of political institutions, our ways of life, and current sociopolitical debates. It will address the principles that establish and justify societies and governments, including the fundamental yet controversial principles of authority, justice, rights, equality, liberty, and democracy. It will look at how philosophers have conceived of the rights and responsibilities of a society to its members, of the members to society and to each other, and of a society to other societies.

Philosophy of Religion

Philosophy of Science