It’s an activity than many decide they want to pursue in life and an equal amount to mostly pretentious ramblings. Whichever camp you fall in, once you read it, you can find some pretty profound answers (or at least attempts to answer) to some of life’s most confusing questions. These can include the existence of a God, what really makes up a mind and even what is actually real in this world. So, if this sounds like things you either think about or want to start thinking about, here is a list of where to start.
1. Think by Simon Blackburn
While it might seem prevalent to start with the great thinkers of the ages, it’s always good to have a general intro to most of the big questions that philosophers will focus on individually or in specific groups.
2. A History Of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell
Considered to be the definitive one-volume text on Western philosophy, it can be considered a more intense introduction to the great thinkers after understanding their ideas. Treasured for its wit and personality, this is an entertaining read, as well as informative.
3. The Republic by Plato
More than just metaphysics, The Republic is a book that encounters many facets of life, from marriage, to war, to music. It is an amazing read to really try to understand the life we live. Philosophy was called a ‘series of footnotes on Plato’ by Alfred North Whitehead.
4. Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle
Plato’s great student and essentially his scribe, Aristotle wrote one of the earliest works on ethics in Western civilization. A system based on virtue and using ‘practical wisdom’ to face life’s challenges. Though it often doesn’t hold up to today’s standards of morality, it is still a great way to start.
5. The Meditations by René Descartes
Often thought in philosophical circles as the first great western philosopher since the classics, Descartes tries to answer the fundamental question of what is, what makes up a persona and their mind, and whether you can prove God’s existence. A more heavy read than some of the others, but a great work than many others work off of.
6. Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre
A book I have covered before regarding anxiety, Nausea regards the story of a character facing the trials of existentialism and the early stages of anxiety. A good intro to existentialism and it’s surrounding school of thought.
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