Some of the greatest thinkers in world history have lived within the field of philosophy. By studying the best philosophy books we can try to understand the ways that cultures before us created and understood meaning in their lives.
The ways we think and behave are heavily influenced by the culture we are born into. Philosophy can reveal to us the reasons behind the ways we act, and in doing so help us to gain understanding our inner selves and how we relate to our world around us.
But once learned, these behavior patterns, these habitual responses, these ways of interacting gradually sink below the surface of the mind and, like the admiral of a submerged submarine fleet, control from the depths. The hidden controls are usually experienced as though they were innate simply because they are not only ubiquitous but habitual as well. Philosophy draws indiscriminately from all fields knowledge, in a never ending questioning.
Enter your email below to get started! Comprehensive, erudite and revealing; this is a history written by one who would go on to become a regarded philosopher in his own right.
Over twenty million copies in print — this novel follows year old Norwegian girl Sophie Admundsen on a mystery of perplexing questions. Deeply entrenched and revealing of the Western philosophy canon, this is a great introduction to enjoyably explore some of the biggest questions asked as the basis of philosophy over the course of Western history.
Stoicism has seen an enthusiastic revival in recent years, especially in entrepreneurial circles. Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote meditations during his experiences administrating the Roman Empire and during his life as a warrior. He outlines a timeless philosophy of commitment to virtue above pleasure, tranquility above happiness, and perhaps most importantly, a search for inner peace in the face of an endlessly changing and chaotic world.
Highly practical for everyday life. With a slightly misleading title, this book asks big questions about the way we live our lives. Pirsig discusses the ideas of rhetoric, quality, the scientific method, technology and many ideas of the Greeks in the search of a unifying truth.
All the more impactful for where it was written, Frankl tells the story of his time spent within Nazi extermination camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. He studied under Socrates, who appears as a character in many of his dialogues. Following the death of Socrates he traveled widely in search of learning. After twelve years he returned to Athens and founded his Academy, one of the earliest organized schools in western civilization.
Plato wrote extensively and most of his writings survived. His works are in the form of dialogues, where several characters argue a topic by asking questions of each other. This form allows Plato to raise various points of view and let the reader decide which is valid. Plato expounded a form of dualism, where there is a world of ideal forms separate from the world of perception. The most famous exposition of this is his metaphor of the Cave, where people living in a cave are only able to see flickering shadows projected on the wall of the external reality.
Aristotle, like Plato, was one of the greatest intellectual figures of Western history. Even after the intellectual revolutions of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, Aristotelian concepts remained embedded in Western thinking. He was the founder of formal logic, devising for it a finished system that for centuries was regarded as the sum of the discipline; and he pioneered the study of zoology.
Epicureanism is commonly regarded as the refined satisfaction of physical desires. As a philosophy, however, it also denoted the striving after an independent state of mind and body, imperturbability, and reliance on sensory data as the true basis of knowledge. Critique of Pure Reason — Emmanuel Kant.Top book suggestions mentioned on philosophy subreddits. Calculated on data since and based on number of upvotes, mentions and reddit golds. Selection contains Top 50 best history books. Need some help introducing my son to philosophy Both entertaining and startling, The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten offers one hundred philosophical puzzles that stimulate thought on a host of moral, social, and personal dilemmas.
Taking examples from sources as diverse as Plato and Steven Spielberg, author Julian Baggini presents abstract philosophical issues in concrete terms, suggesting possible solutions while encouraging readers to draw their own conclusions: Lively, clever, and thought-provoking, The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten is a porta… more about book….
Is it immoral to have children in a world that is immoral? If the world we live in is mostly immoral, it would be immoral to subject someone to living in an immoral world Most people believe that they were either benefited or at least not harmed by being brought into existence.
Thus, if they ever do reflect on whether they should bring others into existence—rather than having children without even thinking about whether they should—they presume that they do them no harm. Better Never to Have Been challenges these assumptions. David Benatar argues that coming into existence is always a serious harm.
It is for anyone who believes there are big questions out there, but does not know how to approach them. Think sets out to explain what they are and why they are important. Simon Blackburn begins by putting forward a convincing case for the study of philosophy and goes on to give the reader a sense of how the great historical figures such as Descartes, Hume, Kant, and Wittgenstein ha… more about book….
Considered to be one of the most important philosophical works of all time, the History of Western Philosophy is a dazzlingly unique exploration of the ideologies of significant philosophers throughout the ages—from Plato and Aristotle through to Spinoza, Kant and the twentieth century.
Written by a man who changed the history of philoso… more about book….Philosophy products vegan products reviews amazon
List of must read Philosophy books? This revised and enlarged edition of the leading anthology provides the essential writings of Marx and Engels—those works necessary for an introduction to Marxist thought and ideology. Philosophy of Mathematics: does anyone here know anything about it? This unique book by Stewart Shapiro looks at a range of philosophical issues and positions concerning mathematics in four comprehensive sections.
Part I describes questions and issues about mathematics that have motivated philosophers since the beginning of intellectual history. Part II is an historical survey, discussing the role of mathematics in the thought of such philosophers as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Mill.
Part III covers the three major positions held throughout the twentieth cent… more about book…. Book recommendations for changing your outlook on life?
10 Life Changing Philosophical Literature Books
Now he directs our attention to a new movement in which his own ideas have played a crucial role: effective altruism. Please recommend me books! Stanford Philosopher examines the legitimacy of political power The state is often ascribed a special sort of authority, one that obliges citizens to obey its commands and entitles the state to enforce those commands through threats of violence.
This book argues that this notion is a moral illusion: no one has ever possessed that sort of authority. His major works—the translation, his commentary, and Logique et existence —coincided with an upsurge of interest in Hegel following World War II. More than fifty years after its original p… more about book…. This extraordinary argument against war by an unexpected proponent is relevant now more than ever.
If you could pick 5 philosophy texts that should be read what are they and why? How does science work? What makes it different from other ways of understanding the universe? In Theory and Reality, Peter Godfrey-Smith addresses these questions by taking the reader on a grand tour of one hundred years of debate about science.
The result is a completely accessible introduction to the main themes of the philosophy of science.Steps to developing an integrated marketing communications strategy
Intended for undergraduates and general readers with no prior background in philosophy, Theory and Real… more about book…. In this cogent and accessible introduction to philosophy, the distinguished author of Mortal Questions and The View From Nowhere sets forth the central problems of philosophical inquiry for the beginning student. Arguing that the best way to learn about philosophy is to think about its questions directly, Thomas Nagel considers possible solutions to nine problems—knowledge of the world beyond our minds, knowledge of other minds, the mind-body problem, free will, the basis of morality, right… more about book….
A number of new or expanded footnotes are also included along with an updated bibliography. Could we ethically raise humans for human consumption?Fiction can be a great source of philosophical enlightenment. A great piece of literature written by some of the best writers in our history not only teaches you something you should know, but it entertains you while doing so.
Just like the best teacher you had in school, who taught you while keeping it interesting with stories, great philosophical writers bring us new insights about the human psyche while telling us fascinating stories. The Stranger is a haunting, challenging masterpiece of literature. Freedom was only total obedience to the Party, and love an alien concept, unless it was love for the Party. A terrifying glimpse into the future that could be, or already is.
Crime and Punishment centers upon the story of a young Russian student, Raskolnikov, who plots and carries out a brutal murder. However, this is less than a quarter of the story. The rest centers upon his attempts to come to terms with the philosophical and psycological consequences of his act. A great book about the dangers of holding on to vanity and pride, The Picture of Dorian Grey is a remarkable book filled with moments of great self-reflection, we see Dorian Grey go on a sensual quest and the outcome of that is the final twist in the book.
The story follows the lives of old man Karamazov, a filthy penny-pinching lech and his three sons. Each son represents a different side to the Russian character: Dimitri the spoiled lout or the prodigal sonIvan the tortured intellect, and Alyosha the spiritual searcher.
Nietzsche constructed one of the most original and radical philosophies in all its history, as challenging to everyday life as Karl Marx. His ideas still send shockwaves through the Christian community because so much of what he says is blatantly obvious and true. It takes place on a future Earth where human beings are mass-produced and conditioned for lives in a rigid caste system.
The story follows Joseph K while he is on trial by a seemingly arbitrary court system. What starts out feeling like a cautionary tale about misplaced and abused power quickly gets stranger and morphs into a story of a deeper and more personal trial. Before long, you notice that K is the one who seems to be doing the work of trying himself. A man wakes up one day to find he has been changed into a large insect. In The Unbearable Lightness of Being Kundera tries to determine whether our actions on this earth have significance and therefore weight, or whether our actions have no ramifications and are therefore light and are dead in advance.
Fight Club is the story of an unnamed narrator, an insomniac yuppie who spends his days helping insurance companies get out of having to pay their claims.
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Important We don't allow personal recommendation posts. Click here for the extended rules Please report any comment that does not follow the rules and remember that mods have the final say. What are must read philosophy books? Hahahah Jesus, it's been like two and a half years and no one pointed that out to me. Great catch, thanks! I suggest reading, Sophie's World. It's an interesting twist on the story of Philosophy. I don't want to give it away, but it's an amazing intro to the subject with a captivating storyline.
Good luck. Philosophy Master degree guy here. Reading a single book doesn't do much for you. It can be hard to interpret, and you miss out on professional critiques of the theories. Which are important because even untenable philosophical concepts can sound good at first. On the other hand, when you read a textbook you get an abridged version of the most influential writings, and many different influential perspectives on the matter, all back up by notes from the author of the textbook to guide you.
I'm just a regular non-philosopher type, like you I assume.
Very good writing, easy to understand, and not a textbook. Obviously you'll need something else for recent developments, but you could do a lot worse than reading Bertrand Russell's book A History of Western Philosophy.Please have a look at our rules and guidelines. Check our FAQs for a list of frequently asked questions to see if your question has already been answered. Specific enough to reasonably be answered i. Questions about philosophy, e. Come only from those with relevant knowledge of the question i.
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The best philosophical book you've ever read? I really enjoyed The Stranger by Albert Camus. It is a very succinct summary of Camus' absurdism, and for me it distilled that 'lure of the void' we all feel at certain times. In presenting a character who feels an ultimate lack of responsibility in life, and who can find little meaning in the societal structures we concoct, I began to question my own leanings in this direction.
Ultimately, it spurred me on to reading more philosophy and rejecting absurdism, but it's still an extremely thought-provoking and accessible book. The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. There have been many formulations of the problem of evil, but the so-called 'existential problem of evil' presented here really got me.Crm marketing loyalty services solutions jobs
Why should some God have created me at all, if I'd have preferred not to live, given all of the evil things in the world? What right did this God have to create me? Every Dostoevsky mention here is awesome. I would like to add Humiliated and Insulted to the list. Crime and Punishment explained the problem of good and evil to me. The Brothers Karamazov pushed the concepts as far as I can understand them.
Notes from the Underground presented to me the problem of action in the world. But to Dostoevsky, and according to me as well, good and evil are things you judge on feelings more than reason. Humiliated and Insulted made me see how hard it is to be really good when every action has negative outcomes. The evil, in this novel, is more than anywhere else in every person's ego. The more you are humilated, the more you are insulted, the more it suffers and it can only bear some much pain.To learn more about what is and is not considered philosophy for the purposes of this subreddit, see our FAQ.
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See also our discussion of philosophy and mental health issues here.I read 721 books in 2018
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Start here. Professional Graduate Undergraduate Autodidact. Answer I'm interested in philosophy - where should I start? What should a beginner read? As pointed out elsewhere in this FAQ, philosophy is a very large field. You could spend your entire life studying political philosophy and never touch metaphysics, or vice versa. This makes it difficult to recommend good places to start for people who know nothing about philosophy: it's a bit like recommending a food to someone who has never eaten anything.
Do you recommend a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? A South Indian dal? Roasted Brussels sprouts? This FAQ answer, therefore, will focus on two main things.
First, it will list some general overviews that will help you get familiar with various parts of philosophy and help you figure out where your interests lie, if they do in fact lie anywhere in philosophy.
Second, it will list some good starting points for various topics that newcomers are commonly interested in. The Blackburn book clearly and concisely goes through most of the large areas of philosophy and talks about how various philosophers have thought about them. The Baggini book presents interesting little thought experiments and puzzles that can help acquaint you with some of the interesting and odd topics that philosophers have addressed. Both books provide enough citations for you to start digging on your own once you've identified things you find interesting.
The Appiah, Nagel, and Russell books cover fewer topics - basically, they hit some things that Appiah, Nagel, and Russell find interesting - and Plato can be tough to read on your own, which is why these are not my top recommendations, but they can serve as good introductions to the field of philosophy if you're starting from zero. The Appiah book is the most comprehensive of the three. Next, a book that is often recommended to newcomers is Jostein Gaarder's book Sophie's World. It's a novel that also tries to introduce people to the various ideas of philosophy.
I'm not the biggest fan of the book - its method of teaching philosophy sometimes reduces to "the main character receives a letter that contains a lesson on philosophy," which I find clunky - but many people enjoy it, so I would say it comes highly recommended except from me. If you're particularly industrious, or if you want to focus on non-Western philosophy, you could read more extensive books that are proper introductions to the history of philosophy.
Victoria Harrison's Eastern Philosophy: The Basics covers India and China, and it's particularly short compared to the others - it sits somewhere between a proper history and the more summary-focused works noted above. Frederick Copleston has a ten volume History of Philosophy that is also good, although it's slightly hard to get ahold of these days. With all of these histories of philosophy, there are three things to keep in mind.
First, they are partial, both in the narrow sense not even Copleston hits every important Western philosopher and in the broad sense philosophy from outside the West exists in all sorts of forms that don't show up in these books so, if you'd like, you may want to start your investigation in an entirely different area.
Second, philosophers disagree with each other over what philosophers in the past were saying, and although these histories are generally good about pointing this out, you should never take everything you read as the gospel truth.
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