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256 of the Best Philosophy Books

256 of the Best Philosophy Books
There are many strategies to improve your mindset, but none is more effective than reading philosophy books. Some of the world’s most brilliant minds address questions and delve deeply into philosophy in these books. While there isn’t always a clear and distinct response to philosophy’s numerous issues, the field as a whole offers a doorway to a greater sense of self. It makes you think about a wide range of topics.

The multiple advantages of learning philosophy transcend disciplinary boundaries, which is why many people choose to study philosophy in addition to their primary discipline—often through self-study. To learn philosophy on your own, you must first understand your motivations for doing so.

Hegel is objectively tough to read, but once mastered, his notions are clear and consistent throughout his philosophical system, making him more difficult to read than to comprehend. Socrates is regarded as the founder of philosophy. His pursuit for truth and wisdom had a huge impact on his day and continues to do so today.

We’ve listed some of the top philosophy books for people who are just getting started or want to broaden their horizons. There are no download links included in this list, so it’s mainly for your own personal reference. This list may provide you with some amazing ideas if you’re looking for a new direction to take.


Classical Ethics

  1. Nichomachean Ethics, On Virtues and Vices by Aristotle

Christian and Medieval Ethics

  1. Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas
  2. Commentary on the Sentences by Saint Bonaventure
  3. Philosophical Writings by Duns Scotus
  4. Sum of Logic by William of Ockham

Modern Ethics

  1. Modern Moral Philosophy by G. E. M. Anscombe
  2. Morals by Agreement by David Gauthier
  3. Reason and Morality by Alan Gewirth
  4. Thinking How to Live by Allan Gibbard
  5. Natural Reasons by Susan Hurley
  6. The Sources of Normativity by Christine Korsgaard
  7. Values and Secondary Qualities by John McDowell
  8. After Virtue by Alasdair MacIntyre
  9. Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong by J. L. Mackie
  10. Principia Ethica by G. E. Moore
  11. The Fragility of Goodness by Martha Nussbaum
  12. Reasons and Persons by Derek Parfit
  13. On What Matters by Derek Parfit
  14. Facts, Values, and Norms by Peter Railton
  15. The Right and the Good by W. D. Ross
  16. What We Owe to Each Other by Thomas M. Scanlon
  17. The Rejection of Consequentialism by Samuel Scheffler
  18. Practical Ethics by Peter Singer
  19. The Moral Problem by Michael A. Smith
  20. Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy by Bernard Williams

Postmodern Ethics

  1. Postmodern Ethics by Zygmunt Bauman
  2. The Illusions of Postmodernism by Terry Eagleton


  1. Why Abortion is Immoral by Don Marquis
  2. The Patient as a Person, Fabricated Man by Paul Ramsey
  3. A Defense of Abortion by Judith Jarvis Thomson

Meta-ethics (Metaethics)

  1. Freedom and Resentment by P. F. Strawson


  1. The Structure of Empirical Knowledge by Laurence Bonjour
  2. Bayesian Epistemology by Luc Bovens
  3. The Claim of Reason: Wittgenstein, Skepticism, Morality, and Tragedy by Stanley Cavell
  4. Theory of Knowledge by Roderick Chisholm
  5. The Case for Contextualism by Keith DeRose
  6. Discourse on the Method”,, Meditations on First Philosophy by René Descartes
  7. Is Justified True Belief Knowledge? by Edmund Gettier
  8. Epistemology and Cognition, What is Justified Belief? by Alvin Goldman
  9. Evidence and Enquiry by Susan Haack
  10. Knowledge and its Place in Nature by Hilary Kornblith
  11. The Value of Knowledge and the Pursuit of Understanding by Jonathan Kvanvig
  12. Elusive Knowledge by David K. Lewis
  13. A Defence of Common Sense by G. E. Moore
  14. Epistemology Naturalized by Willard van Orman Quine
  15. Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature by Richard Rorty
  16. The Problems of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell
  17. Knowledge and Practical Interest by Jason Stanley
  18. The Fragmentation of Reason by Stephen Stich
  19. Ignorance: A Case for Scepticism by Peter Unger
  20. Knowledge and its Limits by Timothy Williamson


  1. Truth and Meaning by Donald Davidson
  2. Begriffsschrift by Gottlob Frege
  3. On Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Mathematica and Related Systems by Kurt Gödel
  4. Semantical Considerations on Modal Logic by Saul Kripke
  5. How to Make Our Ideas Clear by Charles Sanders Peirce
  6. The Concept of Truth by Alfred Tarski


  1. Aesthetic Theory by Theodor Adorno
  2. The Principles of Art by R.G. Collingwood
  3. After the End of Art by Arthur C. Danto
  4. Languages of Art: An Approach to a Theory of Symbols by Nelson Goodman
  5. The Sense of Beauty by George Santayana


  1. Metaphysics by Aristotle
  2. Universals and Scientific Realism by D.M. Armstrong
  3. Language, Truth, and Logic by A. J. Ayer
  4. Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology by Rudolf Carnap
  5. Constructing the World by David Chalmers
  6. Experience and Nature by John Dewey
  7. Pragmatism by William James
  8. Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals by Immanuel Kant
  9. Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized by James Ladyman, Don Ross, David Spurrett, John Collier
  10. Mind and World by John McDowell
  11. On the Plurality of Worlds by David Kellogg Lewis
  12. Dispositions by Stephen Mumford
  13. Reasons and Persons by Derek Parfit
  14. Two Dogmas of Empiricism, On What There Is by Willard Van Orman Quine
  15. Writing the Book of the World by Theodore Sider
  16. Process and Reality by Alfred North Whitehead
  17. Modal Logic as Metaphysics by Timothy Williamson
  18. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (a.k.a. The Tractatus) by Ludwig Wittgenstein

Philosophy of the Mind

  1. A Materialist Theory of the Mind by D. M. Armstrong
  2. The Architecture of the Mind by Peter Carruthers
  3. Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings, The Character of Consciousness, The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory by David Chalmers
  4. Matter and Consciousness: A Contemporary Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind by Paul Churchland
  5. Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension by Andy Clark
  6. Consciousness Explained by Daniel Dennett
  7. Philosophy of Mind by Jaegwon Kim
  8. Varieties of Meaning by Ruth Millikan
  9. The Concept of Mind by Gilbert Ryle

History of Philosophy

Western Civilization

  1. A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell

Classical Philosophy

  1. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  2. Symposium, Parmenides, Phaedrus by Plato

Christian and Medieval

  1. Confessions, The City of God by Augustine of Hippo
  2. Proslogion by Anselm of Canterbury

Early Modern

  1. Novum Organum by Sir Francis Bacon
  2. An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation by Jeremy Bentham
  3. Time and Free Will, Matter and Memory by Henri Bergson
  4. Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge by George Berkeley
  5. Course of Positive Philosophy by Auguste Comte
  6. Principles of Philosophy, Passions of the Soul by René Descartes
  7. The Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus
  8. Foundations of the Science of Knowledge by Johann Gottlieb Fichte
  9. De iure belli ac pacis by Hugo Grotius
  10. Phenomenology of Spirit, Science of Logic, The Philosophy of Right, The Philosophy of History by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
  11. Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
  12. A Treatise of Human Nature, Four Dissertationss, Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals by David Hume
  13. A Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason, A Critique of Judgement by Immanuel Kant
  14. Either/Or, Fear and Trembling, The Concept of Anxiety by Søren Kierkegaard
  15. Discourse on Metaphysics, New Essays Concerning Human Understanding, Théodicée, Monadology by Gottfried Leibniz
  16. Two Treatises of Government, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke
  17. The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
  18. The Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital by Karl Marx
  19. On Liberty, Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill
  20. The Subjection of Women by John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor Mill
  21. Essays by Michel de Montaigne
  22. Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche
  23. Pensées by Blaise Pascal
  24. Discourse on the Arts and Sciences, Emile: or, On Education, The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  25. The World as Will and Representation by Arthur Schopenhauer
  26. The Methods of Ethics by Henry Sidgwick
  27. The Theory of Moral Sentiments, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
  28. System of Synthetic Philosophy by Herbert Spencer
  29. Ethics, Tractatus Theologico-Politicus by Baruch Spinoza
  30. The Ego and Its Own by Max Stirner
  31. A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft


Phenomenology and Existentialism
  1. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
  2. Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus
  3. Being and Time by Martin Heidegger
  4. Logical Investigations, Cartesian Meditations, Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy by Edmund Husserl
  5. Phenomenology of Perception by Maurice Merleau-Ponty
  6. Being and Nothingness, Critique of Dialectical Reason by Jean-Paul Sartre,
Hermeneutics and Deconstruction
  1. Of Grammatology by Jacques Derrida
  2. Truth and Method by Hans-Georg Gadamer
  3. Freud and Philosophy: An Essay on Interpretation by Paul Ricœur
Structuralism and Post-Structuralism
  1. The Order of Things by Michel Foucault
  2. Difference and Repetition by Gilles Deleuze
  3. Capitalism and Schizophrenia by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari
  4. Speculum of the Other Woman by Luce Irigaray
  5. Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault
Critical Theory and Marxism
  1. Negative Dialectics by Theodor Adorno
  2. Reading Capital by Louis Althusser
  3. Being and Event by Alain Badiou
  4. Theory of Communicative Action by Jürgen Habermas
  5. Dialectic of Enlightenment by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno
  6. History and Class Consciousness by Georg Lukacs
  7. Reason and Revolution, Eros and Civilization by Herbert Marcuse

Eastern Civilization

Chinese Philosophy

  1. The Record of Linji by XXX
  2. Han Feizi by Han Fei
  3. Analects, Five Classics by Kongzi
  4. Dao De Jing by Laozi
  5. Mengzi by Mengzi
  6. Art of War by Sunzi
  7. The Taiji Tushuo by Zhou Dunyi
  8. Four Books, Reflections on Things at Hand by Zhu Xi

Indian Philosophy

  1. The Upanishads by XXX
  2. The Bhagavad Gita (“The Song of God”) by XXX
  3. Nyaya Sutras by Aksapada Gautama
  4. Sankhya Karika by Isvarakrsna
  5. Vaisheshika Sutra by Kanada
  6. Yoga Sutras by Patañjali
  7. Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swami Swatamarama
  8. Brahma Sutras by Vyasa
  9. Thiruvalluvar by Tami

Islamic Philosophy

  1. The Incoherence of the Philosophers by Al-Ghazali

Japanese Philosophy

  1. Wild Ivy by Hakuin Ekaku
  2. One-Sheet Document by Honen
  3. Attaining Enlightenment in this Very Existence by Kukai
  4. Style and Flower by Zeami Motokiyo
  5. The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi
  6. Kyogyoshinsho by Shinran
  7. Shōbōgenzō by Dogen Zenji

Philosophy of Other Disciplines


  1. Democracy and Education by John Dewey
  2. The Slow Death of the University by Terry Eagleton
  3. Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
  4. Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities by Martha Nussbaum
  5. Walden Two by B.F. Skinner
  6. Teaching as a Subversive Activity by Charles Weingartner and Neil Postman


  1. The Kalam Cosmological Argument by William Lane Craig
  2. The Miracle of Theism by J. L. Mackie
  3. Religion Without Explanation by Dewi Zephaniah Phillips
  4. God and Other Minds, Is Belief in God Properly Basic by Alvin Plantinga
  5. The Evidential Argument from Evil: A Second Look by William Rowe
  6. Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason by J. L. Schellenberg
  7. The Existence of God by Richard Swinburne


  1. Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge by Paul Feyerabend
  2. The Scientific Image by Bas C. van Fraassen
  3. Fact, Fiction, and Forecast by Nelson Goodman
  4. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Samuel Kuhn
  5. The Demise of the Demarcation Problem by Larry Laudan
  6. How to Define Theoretical Terms by David K. Lewis
  7. The Grammar of Science by Karl Pearson
  8. The Logic of Scientific Discovery by Karl Popper
  9. The Rise of Scientific Philosophy by Hans Reichenbach


  1. Principia Mathematica by Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell
  2. What Numbers Could not Be, Mathematical Truth by Paul Benacerraf
  3. Philosophy of Mathematics: Selected Readings by Paul Benacerraf and Hilary Putnam
  4. Logic, Logic and Logic by George Boolos
  5. Science without Numbers: The Defence of Nominalism by Hartry Field
  6. Proofs and Refutations by Imre Lakatos
  7. Second Philosophy by Penelope Maddy


  1. Physics by Aristotle
  2. Mécanique quantique : Une introduction philosophique, Schrödinger’s Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics by Michel Bitbol
  3. On the Emergence of Time in Quantum Gravity by Chris Isham and Jeremy Butterfield
  4. The Meaning of Science: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science by Tim Lewens

Computer Science

  1. Why Philosophers Should Care About Computational Complexity by Scott Aaronson
  2. Causality by Judea Pearl
  3. The Philosophy of Computer Science, Computational Artefacts-Towards a Philosophy of Computer Science by Ray Turner


  1. Revisionary Physicalism, Psychoneural Reduction of the Genuinely Cognitive: Some Accomplished Facts, Psychoneural Reduction: The New Wave, Philosophy and Neuroscience: A Ruthlessly Reductive Account by John Bickle
  2. Brain-Wise : Studies in Neurophilosophy, Neurophilosophy : Toward a Unified Science of the Mind-Brain by Patricia Churchland
  3. Explaining the brain : mechanisms and the mosaic unity of neuroscience by Carl Craver
  4. Philosophy of the Brain: The brain problem by Georg Northoff
  5. Neurophilosophy of Free Will: From Libertarian Illusions to a Concept of Natural Autonomy by Henrik Walter


  1. Philosophy of Chemistry by Jaap van Brakel


  1. Darwin’s Dangerous Idea by Daniel C. Dennett
  2. Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories by Ruth Garrett Millikan
  3. What is Life? The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell by Erwin Schrödinger
  4. The Nature of Selection by Elliott Sober


  1. Science and Human Behavior by B. F. Skinner


  1. The Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme by Donald Davidson
  2. The Principles of Psychology by William James


  1. Social Choice and Individual Values by Kenneth Arrow
  2. The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science by Ludwig von Mises
  3. Value in Ethics and Economics by Elizabeth S. Anderson

Arts and Humanities

  1. Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline by Bernard Williams


  1. Art by Clive Bell
  2. Art and the Aesthetic by George Dickie


  1. Music as an Art by Roger Scruton


  1. Poetics by Aristotle


  1. A Plea for Excuses, How To Do Things With Words by J. L. Austin,
  2. Making it Explicit by Robert Brandom
  3. Must We Mean What We Say? by Stanley Cavell
  4. Two Dimensional Semantics by David Chalmers
  5. What Nonsense Might Be by Cora Diamond
  6. Frege: Philosophy of Language by Michael Dummett
  7. On Sense and Reference by Gottlob Frege
  8. Logic and Conversation by H. P. Grice
  9. Naming and Necessity by Saul Kripke
  10. General Semantics by David K. Lewis
  11. Word and Object by Willard Van Orman Quine
  12. On Denoting by Bertrand Russell
  13. Speech Acts by John Searle
  14. Philosophical Investigations by Ludwig Wittgenstein


  1. The Idea of History by R.G. Collingwood
  2. Meaning in History: The Theological Implications of the Philosophy of History by Karl Löwith


  1. Medical Philosophy: Conceptual Issues in Medicine by Mario Bunge
  2. Philosophy of Medicines by R. Paul Thompson and Ross E. G. Upshur


  1. Law’s Empire by Ronald Dworkin
  2. Natural Law and Natural Rights by John Finnis
  3. The Morality of Law by Lon L. Fuller
  4. The Concept of Law by H.L.A. Hart


  1. Politics by Aristotle
  2. Two Concepts of Liberty by Isaiah Berlin
  3. Anarchy, State, and Utopia by Robert Nozick
  4. Republic by Plato
  5. The Open Society and Its Enemies by Karl Popper
  6. A Theory of Justice by John Rawls
  7. Liberalism and the Limits of Justice by Michael Sandel