Thinking Independently is a philosophy anthology designed to serve all three of the main purposes of an introductory philosophy course: (1) it familiarizes students with some of the great works and ideas in the history of philosophy
(2) it helps students learn how to discern and evaluate the arguments that are contained in texts
(3) it shows students how even the most abstract philosophical questions can arise in the course of reflection about how to live our lives. The readings are arranged to constitute a single coherent narrative thread through the course--the issues that arise in each reading are addressed by the next reading. The readings cover an unusually diverse array of philosophical questions: what is a good life for a human being? Why should we obey the law? Is there a God? Is the mind distinct from the body? Does anything exist independently of the mind? What is free will, and do we have any? The readings are also designed to give students a sense of why these questions matter, how philosophers arrive at answers to these questions, and how their procedures can be reasonably evaluated. Ram Neta is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He has also taught philosophy at the University of Utah and at Carnegie Mellon University. His research is primarily in epistemology, and he has published dozens of articles in leading journals and volumes. Each year, he teaches an introductory course in philosophy to a large group of undergraduate students.