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Top 100 books on Philosophy


 
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Monadology, The

By: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

The Monadology ( La Monadologie , 1714) is one of Gottfried Leibniz’s best known works representing his later philosophy. It is a short text which sketches in some 90 paragraphs a metaphysics of simple substances, or monads. What he proposed can be seen as a modification of occasionalism developed by latter-day Cartesians. Leibniz surmised that there are indefinitely many substances individually 'programmed' to act in a predetermined way, each program being coordinated w...

Philosophy, Science

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Letter Concerning Toleration, A

By: John Locke

Letter Concerning Toleration by John Locke was originally published in 1689. Its initial publication was in Latin, though it was immediately translated into other languages. In this letter addressed to an anonymous Honored Sir (actually Locke's close friend Philip von Limborch, who published it without Locke's knowledge) Locke argues for a new understanding of the relationship between religion and government. One of the founders of Empiricism, Locke develops a philosophy...

Philosophy

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Leviathan (Books I and II)

By: Thomas Hobbes

Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil, commonly called Leviathan, is a book written in 1651 by Thomas Hobbes. It is titled after the biblical Leviathan. The book concerns the structure of society (as represented figuratively by the frontispiece, showing the state giant made up of individuals), as is evidenced by the full title. In the book, Thomas Hobbes argues for a social contract and rule by a sovereign. Influenced by t...

Philosophy, Politics

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Utopia

By: Sir Thomas More

This book is all about the fictional country called Utopia. It is a country with an ‘ideal’ form of communism, in which everything really does belong to everybody, everyone does the work they want to, and everyone is alright with that. This country uses gold for chamber pots and prison chains, pearls and diamonds for children’s playthings, and requires that a man and a woman see each other exactly as they are, naked, before getting married. This book gave the word 'utopi...

Philosophy, Politics

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Tao Teh King, The

By: Laozi ; Lao-tzu

Lao-Tze's Tao Teh King illuminates The Tao: a guiding principle of the universe and all within it. By exploring the nature of dualities and complements, Lao-Tze dissects strength and weakness; presence and absence; life and death. The Tao Teh King has served as a foundation for centuries of philosophy and wisdom. (Summary by Eric S. Piotrowski)

Philosophy

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On the Duty of Civil Disobedience Version 2

By: Henry David Thoreau

ivil Disobedience (Resistance to Civil Government) is an essay by American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau that was first published in 1849. In it, Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican–American War.

Philosophy, Politics

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Pensées

By: Blaise Pascal

Pascal's Pensées is widely considered to be a masterpiece, and a landmark in French prose. When commenting on one particular section (Thought #72), Sainte-Beuve praised it as the finest pages in the French language. Will Durant, in his 11-volume, comprehensive The Story of Civilization series, hailed it as the most eloquent book in French prose. In Pensées, Pascal surveys several philosophical paradoxes: infinity and nothing, faith and reason, soul and matter, death and ...

Philosophy, Religion

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Prince, The (Version 2)

By: Niccolo Machiavelli

The Prince (Italian: Il Principe) is a political treatise by the Italian diplomat, historian and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. The descriptions within The Prince have the general theme of accepting that ends of princes, such as glory, and indeed survival, can justify the use of immoral means to achieve those ends.

Advice, Instruction, Politics

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New Atlantis, The

By: Francis Bacon

In 1623, Francis Bacon expressed his aspirations and ideas in New Atlantis. Released in 1627, this was his creation of an ideal land where people were kind, knowledgeable, and civic-minded. Part of this new land was his perfect college, a vision for our modern research universities. Islands he had visited may have served as models for his ideas. ( Summary by Wikipedia )

Economics/Political Economy, Politics, Science, Religion, Myths/Legends

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Art of Controversy, The (or: The Art of Being Right)

By: Arthur Schopenhauer

The Art of Controversy (or The Art of Being Right ) ( Die Kunst, Recht zu Behalten ) is a short treatise written in 1831 by the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer in which he presents thirty-eight methods of gaining an unfair advantage in a debate and thereby being right even if you are wrong. Schopenhauer champions the virtue of dialectical argument, in his view wrongly neglected by philosophers in favour of logic, and goes on to discuss the distinction between our ...

Philosophy, Instruction

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Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

By: Ludwig Wittgenstein

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is the only book-length philosophical work published by the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein during his lifetime. He wrote it as a soldier and a prisoner of war during World War I. The slim volume (fewer than eighty pages) comprises a system of short statements, numbered 1, 1.1, 1.11, 1.12, etc., through to 7, intended to be such that 1.1 is a comment on or elaboration of 1, 1.11 and 1.12 comments on 1.1, and so forth. It is an ambi...

Philosophy

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On Liberty

By: John Stuart Mill

Published in 1859, On Liberty details Mill's view that individuals should be left wholly free to engage in any activity, thought or belief that does not harm others. Simple though it sounds, it is a position that challenges our ideas on the very nature of government and society, and sheds light on some of the key issues we face today. A key text of political philosophy, On Liberty has been continuously in print since its first publication. (Summary by David Barnes).

Philosophy

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Problems of Philosophy, The

By: Bertrand Russell

The Problems of Philosophy is one of Bertrand Russell's attempts to create a brief and accessible guide to the problems of philosophy. Focusing on problems he believes will provoke positive and constructive discussion, Russell concentrates on knowledge rather than metaphysics. Russell guides the reader through his famous distinction between knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description and introduces important theories of Plato, Aristotle, René Descartes, David ...

Philosophy

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Book of Tea, The

By: Okakura Kakuzo

The Book of Tea was written by Okakura Kakuzo in the early 20th century. It was first published in 1906, and has since been republished many times. - In the book, Kakuzo introduces the term Teaism and how Tea has affected nearly every aspect of Japanese culture, thought, and life. The book is noted to be accessibile to Western audiences because though Kakuzo was born and raised Japanese, he was trained from a young age to speak English; and would speak it all his life, b...

Philosophy, History

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Creative Unity

By: Rabindranath Tagore

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore talks of the many things he feels is necessary for creativity through joy of unity, he covers many topics like the creative ideal, makes comparisons of creativity between the east and the west, the spirit of freedom and about his idea of an University. (Summary by sidhu177)

Literature, Memoirs

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Sadhana, the Realisation of Life

By: Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali poet, philosopher, visual artist, playwright, composer, and novelist whose work reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He became Asia’s first Nobel laureate when he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature. Sadhana is a collection of essays, most of which he gave before the Harvard University, describing Indian beliefs, philosophy and culture from different viewpoints, often making comparison with ...

Philosophy

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Pragmatism

By: William James

'Pragmatism' contains a series of public lectures held by William James in Boston 1906–7. James provides a popularizing outline of his view of philosophical pragmatism while making highly rhetorical and entertaining lashes towards rationalism and other competing schools of thought. James is especially concerned with the pragmatic view of truth. True beliefs should be defined as, according to James, beliefs that can successfully assist people in their everday life. This i...

Philosophy, Psychology, Religion

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Select Orations of Cicero..

By: Cicero, Marcus Tullius
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Essays

By: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Excerpt: History. There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to all of the same. He that is once admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman of the whole estate. What Plato has thought, he may think; what a saint has felt, he may feel; what at any time has befallen any man, he can understand. Who hath access to this universal mind is a party to all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign agent.

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The Prince

By: Niccolo Machiavelli

Introduction: Nicolo Machiavelli was born at Florence on 3rd May 1469. He was the second son of Bernardo di Nicolo Machiavelli, a lawyer of some repute, and of Bartolommea di Stefano Nelli, his wife. Both parents were members of the old Florentine nobility.

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