Must Read Philosophy Books

To gain a good understanding of western philosophy, you have to cover the basic teachings of some of the most influential philosophers. These thinkers affected the course of history with their work, and the legacy of many of their studies are relevant now more than ever.Below I present you 5 must read philosophy books everyone must should to gain a better understanding of western philosophy.

So here are my 5 must read philosophy books

1. The Republic – Plato


Plato’s Republic is unparalleled in its coverage of all areas of life. While Plato addresses metaphysical issues, he does so with language and analogies that most people can grasp with studious reading. But Plato talks about much more than metaphysics. Marriage, music, war, kings, procreation and more are all topics of discussion for Plato’s dialog.

2. Nicomachean Ethics – Aristotle

 

In the Nicomachean EthicsAristotle’s guiding question is: what is the best thing for a human being? His answer is happiness, but he means, not something we feel, but rather a specially good kind of life. Happiness is made up of activities in which we use the best human capacities.  Both ones that contribute to our flourishing as members of a community, and ones that allow us to engage in god-like contemplation.

3. A History Of Western Philosophy – Bertrand Russell

Since its first publication in 1945 Lord Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy has been universally acclaimed as the outstanding one-volume work on the subject—unparalleled in its comprehensiveness, its clarity, its erudition, its grace and wit.

 

4. The World as Will and Representation –  Arthur Schopenhauer

If you are clever enough to shave away the nagging scientific details which have expired with time (as they all do), as well as the great philosopher’s personal opinions, you will find this to be one of the greatest works ever written. For me, it was the end of philosophy; good answers to the questions I have always wrestled. An important thing to remember about Schopenhauer is that, as far as I know, he is the last great system-builder, the last philosopher in the traditional sense, who set out to create an entire picture of the world. His concept of the will, when fully grasped, is powerful and very simple.

Check out his 38 Ways to Win An Argument.

5. Meditations – Marcus Aurelius

Written by an intellectual Roman emperor, the Meditations offer a wide range of spiritual reflections developed as the leader struggled to understand himself and the universe. Marcus Aurelius covers topics as diverse as the question of virtue, human rationality, the nature of the gods, and his own emotions, spanning from doubt and despair to conviction and exaltation. A great work to learn more about Stoic philosophy.