Overall, I absolutely love the book’s eye-catching presentation. 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. It also explains the defining ideas of many Western philosophers, including Plato, Socrates, Descartes, Hegel, and other prominent thinkers. 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. The collection is simply an astounding example of good writing and good philosophy. Adrian Moore. 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). 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. 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. He was formerly a professor of ecology and evolution at Stony Brook University. Brilliant! For example, Kleinman presents Plato’s Theory of Forms as being defined by two distinct characteristics. 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. One book is from an Ethiopian philosopher, which I shall be looking up. the philosophy of human experience). In addition, he smartly uses bullet points to break down major philosophical arguments into their core aspects. Most of the book is shaped around core philosophical themes and questions. It touches on some of the most basic questions about human beings and their place in the world. 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. Thomas Nagel has written one of the best books on philosophy for beginners that also mixes in his personal opinions. Massimo Pigliucci earned a doctorate in genetics from the University of Ferrara, Italy, and then a PhD in biology from the ... Susan Haack. The first chapter will be very useful for anyone who may be wondering why philosophy is so important in the first place. It is not as old as the Meno, of course, but even so it is four hundred years old, and arguably the first great text of modern philosophy. 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. These five dialogues are splendid examples of Plato’s prose and philosophical acumen. (“Modern”, in this context, does not mean “contemporary”: it stands in contrast with “ancient” and “medieval”.) This 17th-century Ethiopian philosopher brings together a globality of ideas and the students easily make their own connections to the philosophical problems raised by other philosophers from St. Augustine through Descartes and onward. To start with, I think some of the best philosophy books for beginners comes from the A Very Short Introduction series, published by Oxford University Press. Philosophy is hard work. 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. Compared to a few other books on this list, A New History of Western Philosophy goes a bit more in-depth in its discussions. But of course, Plato’s political vision is chilling; so I like to combine the Republic with a much more recent book, Jonathan Rauch’s Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought (1993)—which spells out how Plato’s rationalist epistemology underpins his totalitarian political philosophy, and offers in its place a fallibilist epistemology and an articulate defense of freedom of thought and expression.