Heather Wilburn, Ph.D.

Philosophical Thought: across cultures and through the ages, is an open-educational resource (OER) to be used as a collection of readings for introductory philosophy courses. The objectives for developing and sharing this open resource are three-fold:

  1. to provide a collection of philosophical works that can be used as a foundation for faculty and students to use in undergraduate philosophy courses
  2. to provide a resource that is free to students
  3. to provide a resource that compiles philosophical thought from a variety of cultures and eras

The works included in this book come from a wide range of sources. However, this book is indebted to Henry Imler’s editorial work on Sapientia and Phronesis, both of which are OER texts available on Pressbooks.

This book is organized into the following seven units:

Unit I: What is Philosophy?

Unit II: Metaphysics

Unit III: Epistemology

Unit IV: How Should One Live

Unit V: Justice

Unit VI: Aesthetics

Unit VII: Existentialism*

Within each unit, there are a number of chapters. Additionally, you will find a page with online resources in the book to supplement these units as well as various other philosophical content.

This book would not be possible without the technical work of Jamie M. Holmes, MLS, a Reference, Instruction and OER Librarian at Tulsa Community College, and Jennifer Brummett, a student in the University of Oklahoma School of Library & Information Studies program.

*Third Edition note: In addition to adding a new unit on Existentialism, the third edition published 8/13/21 also includes the following added chapters:

Unit 1:

  • Ch. 4: Philosophy: Who Needs It
  • Ch. 7: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
  • Ch. 8: Selected Reading from St. Augustine’s “The City of God”
  • Ch. 9: Selected Reading from St. Augustine’s “On the Holy Trinity”

Unit 2:

  • Ch. 11: Plato’s “Simile of the Sun and “The Divided Line”
  • Ch. 15: An Introduction to Aristotle’s Metaphysics
  • Ch. 20: What is a Chariot? (And what are we?)
  • Ch. 24: Aquinas’s Five Proofs for the Existence of God
  • Ch. 29: Selections from Pascal’s Pensées

Unit 3:

  • Ch. 33: Selected Readings from Russell’s The Problems of Philosophy
  • Ch. 37: Selections from A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (Berkeley)
  • Ch. 40: Selected Readings on Immanuel Kant’s Transcendental Idealism

Unit 5:

  • Ch. 67: Original Acquisition
  • Ch. 72: On Marxism and Value
  • Ch. 76: Social Contracts of Exploitation


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Introduction by Heather Wilburn, Ph.D. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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