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FadedJade
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#1
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#1
After loads of threads asking for recommendations for philosophy books I'm making a sticky. As it's 3am this will be incomplete and I will add to it later - feel free to post any suggestions in the thread below. I've left things that I've seen suggested that are clearly not suitable for a beginner. I'll probably also divide them up into sections, or better sections, later. If I hadn't heard of them then I guessed, so a couple might be in the wrong place.

Introductory

Sophie's World - Gaarder
Think - Simon Blackburn
An Introduction to Political Philosophy - Jonathan Wolff
Philosophy: the Basics - Nigel Warburton
The Pig that Wants to be Eaten - Julian Baggini
Philosophy in practice - Adam Morton
The spirit level - Richard Wilkinson
Those Very Short Introduction books (available for loads of different philosophical interests)
The Problems of Philosophy - Bertrand Russell [I put this here as I haven't read it but I've never heard it described as anything other than a basic introduction - if I'm wrong let me know!]

Core texts

The Republic - Plato
The Communist Manifesto - Marx
Meditations - Descartes
Treatise - Hume
On Liberty - Mill
Nichomachean Ethics - Aristotle
Leviathan - Hobbes

Other Stuff

What does it all mean? - Thomas Nagel
Thus Spoke Zarathustra - Nietzsche [I include this because a number of people recommended it, but you really can't understand it unless you've read some of his other stuff first, hence instead I'd recommend...]
The Genealogy of Morality - Nietzsche
History of Western Philosophy - Russell
Existentialism and Humanism - Sartre
Practical Ethics - Singer
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Sherbet.Lemon
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#2
Report 11 years ago
#2
I studied Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, which was excellent. It's tricky stuff, but there are a few resources out there that cover his main arguments quite nicely. For Nietzsche, philosophy is personal. The way the book is written is therefore slightly different from many other philosophy books.
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mel3
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#3
Report 11 years ago
#3
Another truly excellent book is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig.
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SalmaLouise
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#4
Report 10 years ago
#4
Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit
Kant's Critique of Pure Reason
Hume's Enquiry concerning Human Understanding
They are difficult, but I think that before one reads political philosophy (Marx, Mill, Hobbes etc.) it is quite important to have some idea and understanding of metaphysics. Descartes and Spinoza are also worth reading and should probably be read first. I would recommend the following order: Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Hegel. The rationalists came before the empiricists and Kant replies directly to Hume (causality). Hegel is a different animal but inspired many modern and contemporary philosophers. I dare say his work is the hardest to read and understand.
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platorepublic
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#5
Report 10 years ago
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I am really glad that Plato's The Republic is in the Core Text list.
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dbmag9
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#6
Report 10 years ago
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I'd recommend anyone interested in philosophy teaches themselves basic logic; it's not difficult, and gives you a massive leg up in thinking critically about arguments. The book I'd recommend for that is Languages of Logic, by Guttenplan.

Otherwise, I'd recommend Thinking About Mathematics by Shapiro, which is a completely readable introduction to the philosophy of mathematics, and could perhaps act as an antidote to those who get the impression that philosophy is all about Greeks or doesn't come up with anything concrete.

This list feels like it would make a decent wiki page, incidentally.
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miser
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#7
Report 10 years ago
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Thanks for this! Have been experiencing an insatiable appetite for philosophy lately, will definitely buy some of these.

Here are some other great free philosophy resources:
http://plato.stanford.edu/
http://www.philosophybro.com
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Introduction_to_Philosophy
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dbmag9
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#8
Report 10 years ago
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Just created a wiki page out of this thread; I commented on the stuff I've read but there's a lot of that could do with commenting or additions.
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Micccol
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#9
Report 7 years ago
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Not sure if its been mentioned hit the art of strategy/ art of war is definitley a must read.

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ockhamsshotgun
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#10
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#10
The reads listed are good choices, but a few more "advanced" choices like Tractatus Logico Philosophicus, Philosophical Investigations (Wittgenstein,) The Open Society and Its Enemies, Logic of Scientific Discovery (Popper,) Critique of Pure Reason (Kant,) Language Truth and Logic (Ayer,) The Language of Morals (Hare,) World as Will and Representation (Schopenhauer.) I found them all to be informative and challenging.

Also, Locke's Letter on Toleration & Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Leviathan by Hobbes, and Rousseau's Social Contract & Inequality essays are fairly accessible.

Perhaps Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations for Phil & Econ sorts?

I second Art of War and The Prince, too.

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benq
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#11
Report 6 years ago
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(Original post by ockhamsshotgun)
The reads listed are good choices, but a few more "advanced" choices like Tractatus Logico Philosophicus, Philosophical Investigations (Wittgenstein,) The Open Society and Its Enemies, Logic of Scientific Discovery (Popper,) Critique of Pure Reason (Kant,) Language Truth and Logic (Ayer,) The Language of Morals (Hare,) World as Will and Representation (Schopenhauer.) I found them all to be informative and challenging.

Also, Locke's Letter on Toleration & Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Leviathan by Hobbes, and Rousseau's Social Contract & Inequality essays are fairly accessible.

Perhaps Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations for Phil & Econ sorts?

I second Art of War and The Prince, too.

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People who read Tractatus while at sixth form should automatically get unconditional offers from Cambridge/MIT to study advanced honorary BSc in Logic and Philosophy of Science.
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Athematica
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#12
Report 5 years ago
#12
Sophie’s World is great if you want to expose somebody to philosophical questions. For a teenager, getting them to think about that kind of stuff through a novel, without being intimidated by the idea of a philosophical text, is ideal. However, for somebody questions but no guidance towards answers or process, I argue the SW would just exacerbate this.

History of Philosophy is certainly what most undergraduates will use in their first class in philosophy. Reading university core texts in a subject you plan to take is seldom a good plan for a couple of reasons. One that resonates personality is the ease by which one can ‘ruin’ the subject by having a bad time with what are dense, rigorous and dry texts to study on your own. The very first reason one should go to university to read philosophy is to engage in debate with others about the texts and in the case of HoP I think it is especially true that this acts as a source of relief, even through writing essays if discussion on the matter isn't necessarily what interests you.For those wanting to learn about philosophy in broad strokes, at an introductory level, and to gain some insight on questions that they are struggling to answer, I’d recommend maybe three books in particular. These offer philosophy in major themes. Chapters are labeled things like Knowledge, Mind, Free Will, Justice, The Meaning of Life, etc. Great ‘first introductions’ to what the general ideas are in philosophy and how we tend to want to look at them:

Think, Simon Blackburn;
What it all means, Thomas Nagel;
The problems of philosophy, Bertrand Russell.

‘A very short introduction to philosophy' is also a great book but probably better at acting as a way to provoke you into choosing a particular area to specialise in / focus on. After reading this, I went straight into Descartes, Meditations, because of some of the overwhelming questions I was left with after reading teasers about his work. In fact, if one were to read a philosopher in particular, Descartes would be where to begin, rather than the schoolboy error of Plato or [insert Greek philosopher].
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nicolelyn
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#13
Report 4 years ago
#13
Could anyone recommend a book to read to discuss on personal statement for politics and philsophy
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Sherbet.Lemon
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#14
Report 4 years ago
#14
Why not look through the suggestions above and choose something that genuinely interests you?
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