Ever the maverick, Dennett exposes the weak spots as quickly as he introduces the programme. So, the question here is: if you’re just getting into the subject, what are some of the best philosophy books for beginners to start with? Looking at recent philosophical literature would convey the impression that the field is a collection of sub-specialities, cliques, and cartels; Locke’s little book has the great merit of revealing that, and why, this recent fragmentation is an intellectual disaster. Almost, but not quite Stefan. Above all, Blackburn makes an excellent case on the the subject’s timelessness, and why it matters when it comes to understanding life, meaning, and purpose. You’ll find when you study Ancient Greek philosophy ; the cornerstone of all Western philosophy to this day, was influenced by Indian and Chinese thinking. I teach a beginners course called “Problems of Philosophy” in which I do the following. Here’s our list of the best non-fiction books about the history and philosophy of love! However, I consider Big Ideas to be among the best philosophical books for beginners, thanks to its easy language and structure. I read a lot of philosophy during my graduate years. Above all, Philosophy: The Classics reads like a set of incredible SparkNotes about the revolutionary ideas that have lit the trail of philosophy for ages. In my opinion, this biographical approach really gives cultural context to their ideas, thus making for a more engaging read. Dawkins grabs his readers and doesn’t let them go. I do think Blackburn’s writing gets a bit wordy in a few sections. This includes, among others, his summaries of Plato’s The Republic, Montaigne’s Essays, and Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Sometimes I go to Plato’s Republic, which does the same. Lewis Gordon is an American philosopher who works in the areas of Africana philosophy, philosophy of human and life sciences, phenomenology, philosophy of existence, social and political theory, postcolonial thought, theories of race and racism, and more. For example, Kleinman presents Plato’s Theory of Forms as being defined by two distinct characteristics. She published her book, Existentialism and Romantic Love in 2015, and is also the Managing Editor of the American Philosophical Association’s blog, an advisory board member of Strategy of Mind, and a certified fellow with the American Philosophical Practitioners Association. The guiding issue in it is whether virtue can be taught. I love how Warburton goes beyond the predictable names (e.g. Check out these books to help you be more productive! Each chapter focuses on a specific philosophical topic with lots of concise explanations. The Meditations is another superb introduction to the subject. Plato, Socrates, Kant, etc.) Presented in clear chronological order, author Nigel Warburton covers a lot of ground as he raises many of philosophy’s biggest questions. the philosophy of human experience). A huge range of great thinkers from different philosophical traditions are covered. But that is part of the reason why I think it is one of the best philosophy books for beginners. Susan Haack is a Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, Cooper Senior Scholar in Arts and Sciences, Professor of Philosophy, and Professor of Law at the University of Miami. Massimo Pigliucci earned a doctorate in genetics from the University of Ferrara, Italy, and then a PhD in biology from the University of Connecticut, and finally a PhD in philosophy of science from the University of Tennessee. The concept of justice has been debated ever since the dawn of philosophy, for instance in Plato’s Crito, and likely ever since human beings have been able to articulate their ideas so that they could debate them. He has written particularly extensively on race and racism, postcolonial phenomenology, Africana and black existentialism, and on the works of W. E. B. I don’t like to use textbooks or “beginners” books, though I’m not against those that offer a vision of philosophy and thus stand as texts in their own right. The first of these can be summed up in the question: “Which book or books should I read first?” What is often lurking behind this question is a concern about “getting it right” when it comes to studying philosophy. However, another fantastic way to dive into it is through philosophical fiction, and for this, I highly recommend Camus’ beautifully written The Stranger. This pocket-sized gem packs an insightful overview of Western philosophy. But it also serves as a beautifully concise and elegant introduction to ethics in general. In addition, keep in mind that these books on philosophy simply aim to give a broad (but interesting!) But his real achievement is to convey how deeply mysterious nature is. However, one of her best and less appreciated works is her first novel, She Came to Stay. I'm a self-confessed book nerd and now I'm on a mission to uncover the world's most inspiring and important books by interviewing some of the world's most awesome people. Sandel’s book is an excellent introduction to different philosophical frameworks for thinking about justice, from utilitarianism to Kantian deontology, to Aristotelian virtue ethics (my favourite). I’ll create another book list about Eastern philosophers at a later time. Everything is organized by theme (e.g. Here, I’ll focus mainly on Western philosophy. For more specificity, there are also further philosophy books in the series that individually examine Stoicism, Aristotle, Aquinas, the philosophy of science, and various other sub-categories of the field. He also has a Doctorate in Anthropology, and enjoys studying changing cultural trends, particularly in the area of media consumption. As with other beginner books on philosophy, author Paul Kleinman adopts simple words to convey complex ideas. However, this barely takes anything away from the overall coherency of his book. This version combines four individual volumes that, together, brings you on a sweeping adventure across the vast epochs of human thinking. Contemporary opposing conceptions of justice, such as John Rawls’ notion of justice as fairness, and the libertarian take on self-ownership, are clearly presented and their pros and cons discussed. This is not the paradox that it appears to be. Consequently, I teach with primary sources, and I’ve observed over the years that great philosophers who are also the same quality writers made extraordinary attempts to explain philosophy or at least their vision of it to people across the ages. If you do locate a copy, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best philosophy books that aims to appeal to undergrads. Descartes’ aim in the Meditations is to provide a secure foundation for science – but, just like Plato in the Meno, he ends up addressing a much wider set of issues than that, all of them of enduring philosophical concern. A book I often find myself recommending of late, both to students and to correspondents, is John Locke’s Conduct of the Understanding (published posthumously in 1706). Philosophy is hard work. So all the best philosophy comes from the West? Overall, I think Philosophy 101 is a must-read if you’re keen on being pulled deeper into the wondrous world of philosophy. David Papineau was the President of the British Society for Philosophy of Science for 1993-5, President of the Mind Association for 2009-10, and President of the Aristotelian Society for 2013-14. Please refer to our privacy policy for more details. The first book I’ve ever read on the philosophy of science, which hooked me onto the field and which was incredibly illuminating for me even as a practicing scientist. Yet another fantastic introductory book on philosophy that’ll keep you immersed. overview of the subject. In 1968, David returned to England to study philosophy at Cambridge and then completing a PhD on conceptual change and scientific rationality. Interested in love? One book is from an Ethiopian philosopher, which I shall be looking up. What is beautiful about it is that it offers much for reflection, and I don’t need to explain to students that philosophy didn’t begin in ancient Athens in 500 BCE because they see here a piece of writing from more than 1,000 years earlier in Km.t/Egypt. You will not get a final answer by the end of the book, but you will surely have learned a lot about the nature of science. It is a compendium of many of Williams’ main ideas, developed in his later work. Compared to a few other books on this list, A New History of Western Philosophy goes a bit more in-depth in its discussions. It’s roughly based on Beauvoir’s life, and specifically a ménage-a-trois, but it isn’t quite as raunchy as it sounds – despite the naked woman on the cover of some of the English editions. She has won awards from the American Philosophical Association and from UM, for excellence in teaching; the Provost’s Award for excellence in research, and the Faculty Senate Distinguished Scholar Award; as well as the Forkosch Award for excellence in writing.

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