10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
An excellent introduction to philosophy,
This review is from: Problems from Philosophy with PowerWeb (Paperback)After reading T.Z. Lavine's _From Socrates to Sartre_, I stumbled upon Rachels' _Problems from Philosophy_. While Lavine's book is a great history of philosophy, Rachels covers what philosophy IS.
The book broadly discusses the major fields of philosophy: free will vs. determinism (exploring the question "is there such a thing as free will?" - the answer may surprise you), the nature of evil ("how can there be evil if there is an omnipotent, benevolent diety?"), ontology ("is there a God?") and ethics ("what makes right?").
These questions are fascinating, but Rachels does much more than simply asking solid philosophical questions. He engages the reader into grappling with them, providing clear, logical arguments on both sides of the issue, and leaving the reader to arrive at their own conclusions and wrestle with the implications of their answers.
The PowerWeb (an on-line resource through the publisher) was moderately helpful - while its a good and useful thing to be able to read source work by the great philosophers (from Plato and Augustine to Hume and Nagel), they can be a bit dense and difficult reading for the amateur (at least they were for me.) Rachels' explainations were much preferred.
While it is merely an introduction, I highly recommend it.