Philosophy Books: Narrowing Down the Multitude

When one thinks of philosophical theories, maybe Socrates or Plato comes to mind. If delving deeper into the field is of interest, however, it quickly becomes apparent that these two are, quite literally, the tip of a massive iceberg. Alex Djerassi enjoys reading books. While reading philosophical writings, a person may end up knee-deep in jargon specific to the field, which can be somewhat overwhelming if one is not prepared for it. If someone is a new student to the philosophical world, their education can be made much more comfortable based on the first things they choose to read. As one reads for philosophical knowledge, it is not always advantageous to start with the classics, such as those by the aforementioned Socrates. There are books made more for beginners, such as Thomas Nagel’s “A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy.” For an education that leans more toward the historical aspects of the development of the field, one who reads “A History of Western Philosophy” by Bertrand Russell may be fully satisfied. Once someone feels they understand the basics of philosophical discussions and the historical background of these thoughts, it can then be much easier to move forward into the realm of these ideas as a whole. “Sophie’s World” by Jostein Gaarder is a novel that follows Sophie around as she pursues knowledge, and the reader is able to use her story to consider and analyze more common philosophical questions of the western world. Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” is a book that has been popular through the ages for his explanation of his theory of “logotherapy.” Frankl outlines that although people cannot avoid suffering, they can learn to embrace it and therefore take meaning away from it in order to improve their lives. Going back full circle to the classics, Plato’s “The Dialogues” focuses on dualism. Plato expounds on his idea that there is a world separate from perception located on the axis of ideals. He illustrates his thoughts through dialogue, which allows one to read his writings and form an independent opinion. Through a myriad of societal changes, Aristotle’s work has remained steadfastly one of the Western philosophical thought cornerstones. He wrote “Physics, Ethics, Poetics, Metaphysics, Categories, On Logic, On the Soul” and was also the pioneer of the field of zoology and formal logic. His ideas have been consistently used throughout all of modern history in the western world. His writings would most definitely be at the top of the list for any student of the field. To move forward into the study of more modern philosophical thoughts, one would want to ensure Emmanual Kant, Montaigne, and Nietzsche are authors at the top of the reading list. Throughout their works, these authors focus on morality and reasoning, and their ideas have become a cornerstone of what it means to be “good” or “bad” in modern society. All in all, there are hundreds of good books, if not thousands, to choose from if one wants to read about philosophical theories. The reader’s goal should dictate their selected books, as a student will read a much different selection, possibly, than someone who is wanting to study philosophy only for an immense understanding of their world. Alex Djerassi recommends checking out Amazon for these books or a local book shop. The more people read, the better the philosophies become. It’s apart from that there is a renowned lack of knowledge on the subject because people don’t put in the effort to digest complex information. These amazing books are all the more reason that philosophy has such an impact on society. There are so many possibilities in the world to achieve greatness, it starts with reading more intellectual literature.