9 philosophical Books That will Blow your mind, But also help you out

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1.The Philosophy Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained
by Will Buckingham

 
What is the meaning of life? What is the universe made of? Read what our eminent philosophers thought about the nature of reality and the fundamental questions we ask ourselves.



To help you understand the subject and what it is about, The Philosophy Book introduces you to ancient philosophers like Plato and Confucius. But it doesn’t stop there -- read about our modern thinkers such as Chomsky and Derrida, too. This book has short and sweet biographies of over a hundred philosophers and their profound questions.
 
Work your way through the different branches of philosophy like metaphysics and ethics. Understand how philosophical questions have led to breakthroughs in math and science. Figure out how the history of philosophy informs our modern lives, exploring topics like how science can predict the future and how language shapes our thoughts and decisions.

 

"The visual layout promotes browsing with illustrations, pull quotes, and simple mind maps to explain concepts quickly." — Library Journal

 

Relatable Quote:  “If God is dead, Nietzsche is perhaps the person who stumbles across the corpse; nevertheless, it is Kant whose fingerprints are all over the murder weapon.”

2. Man's Search for Meaning
by Viktor Frankl

A prominent Viennese psychiatrist before the war, Viktor Frankl was uniquely able to observe the way that he and other inmates coped with the experience of being in Auschwitz. He noticed that it was the men who comforted others and who gave away their last piece of bread who survived the longest - and who offered proof that everything can be taken away from us except the ability to choose our attitude in any given set of circumstances.

The sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision and not of camp influences alone. Only those who allowed their inner hold on their moral and spiritual selves to subside eventually fell victim to the camp's degenerating influence - while those who made a victory of those experiences turned them into an inner triumph.

Frankl came to believe that man's deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. This outstanding work offers us all a way to transcend suffering and find significance in the art of living.

 

"One of the outstanding contributions to psychological thought in the last fifty years."—Carl R. Rogers (1959)
"An enduring work of survival literature." —New York Times

 

Relatable Quote:   “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

3. Meditations
by Marcus Aurelius

"Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if you will ever dig."
 
Meditations instructs and inspires through its calm and unblinking reckoning with the elemental difficulties of human life, and its emphasis on virtue rather than pleasure as the key to inner peace.
 

Presented here in a specially modernized version of the classic George Long translation, one of the world's most famous and influential books, Meditations, by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 121–180), outlines a philosophy of commitment to virtue above pleasure and tranquility above happiness.
 
Ascending to the imperial throne in A.D. 161, Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 121–180) found his reign beset by natural disasters and war. In the wake of these challenges, he set down a series of private reflections, incorporating the Stoic precepts he used to cope with his life as a warrior and administrator of an empire.

This eloquent and moving work draws and enriches the tradition of Stoicism, which stressed the search for inner peace and ethical certainty in an apparently chaotic world. Serenity was to be achieved by emulating in one's personal conduct the underlying orderliness and lawfulness of nature. And in the face of inevitable pain, loss, and death—the suffering at the core of life—Aurelius counsels stoic detachment from the things that are beyond one's control and a focus on one's own will and perception.
 
This updated and revised edition of the classic George Long translation is easily accessible to contemporary readers. It not only provides a fascinating glimpse into the mind and personality of a highly principled Roman of the second century, but also offers today's readers a practical and inspirational guide to the challenges of everyday life.
 
"Consider that everything is opinion, and opinion is in your power. Take away then, when you choose, your opinion, and like a mariner who has rounded the headland, you will find calm, everything stable, and a waveless bay."

Shop Dover for an incredible variety of classic nonfiction. We offer low-priced collections of speeches, histories, biographies, quotations, philosophies, essays, important documents, and more.

Relatable Quote: “You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

4. Tao Te Ching
by Laozi

Laozi was an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer. He is known as the reputed author of the Tao Te Ching and the founder of philosophical Taoism, and as a deity in religious Taoism and traditional Chinese religions.

Although a legendary figure, he is usually dated to around the 6th century BC and reckoned a contemporary of Confucius, but some historians contend that he actually lived during the Warring States period of the 5th or 4th century BC. A central figure in Chinese culture, Laozi is claimed by both the emperors of the Tang dynasty and modern people of the Li surname as a founder of their lineage. Laozi's work has been embraced by various anti-authoritarian movements as well as Chinese Legalism.

 

Relatable Quote: “When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”

 

5. Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil is translated from the German by R.J. Hollingdale with an introduction by Michael Tanner in Penguin Classics. Beyond Good and Evil confirmed Nietzsche's position as the towering European philosopher of his age. The work dramatically rejects the tradition of Western thought with its notions of truth and God, good and evil.


Nietzsche demonstrates that the Christian world is steeped in a false piety and infected with a 'slave morality'. With wit and energy, he turns from this critique to a philosophy that celebrates the present and demands that the individual imposes their own 'will to power' upon the world. This edition includes a commentary on the text by the translator and Michael Tanner's introduction, which explains some of the more abstract passages in Beyond Good and Evil. Frederich Nietzsche (1844-1900) became the chair of classical philology at Basel University at the age of 24 until his bad health forced him to retire in 1879. He divorced himself from society until his final collapse in 1899 when he became insane. A powerfully original thinker, Nietzsche's influence on subsequent writers, such as George Bernard Shaw, D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Mann and Jean-Paul Sartre, was considerable. If you enjoyed Beyond Good and Evil you might like Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, also available in Penguin Classics. 'One of the greatest books of a very great thinker'Michael Tanner

 

Relatable Quote: “Madness is something rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, peoples, and ages, it is the rule.”

6. Meditations on First Philosophy
by René Descartes

After several years working on a treatise putting forth his mechanistic philosophy and physics, Descartes shelved the project when his contemporary, Galileo, was charged with heresy. That work, The World, was only published after Descartes’ death. It seems that Descartes must have had this, in part at least, in mind when writing his more famous philosophical works.

 

This is especially clear in the Meditations, not only in the obsequiousness of the Letter of Dedication, but also in the specific mode of argument, which does not seek merely to found science upon grounds acceptable to religious authority, but to specifically found a mathematical science; one which clearly privileges mathematical demonstrations even over common sense judgments based upon everyday and constant experience. His Copernicanism, put forth posthumously in The World, would require just such a defense.

The Meditations are a central work of early modern philosophy, and play a crucial role in the conceptual development of basic perspectives and problems in the Western tradition, including substance dualism, external world skepticism, and the modern notion of the subject.

 

Relatable Quote: “It is only prudent never to place complete confidence in that by which we have even once been deceived.”

7. Being Evil: A Philosophical Perspective
by Luke Russell

We regularly encounter appalling wrongdoing, with the media offering a depressing parade of violent assault, rape, and murder. Yet sometimes even the cynical and world-weary amongst us are taken aback. Sometimes we confront a crime so terrible, so horrendous, so deeply wrong, that we reach for the word 'evil'.

The 9/11 terrorist attacks were not merely wrong, but evil. A serial killer who tortures their victims is not merely a bad person. They are evil. And as the Holocaust showed us, we must remain vigilant against the threat of evil. But what exactly is it? If we use the word 'evil', are we buying into a naive Manichean worldview, in which two cosmic forces of good and evil are pitted against one another? Are we guilty of demonizing our enemies? How does 'evil' go beyond what is merely bad or wrong? This book explores the answers that philosophers have offered to these questions. Luke Russell discusses why some philosophers think that evil is a myth or a fantasy, while others think that evil is real, and is a concept that plays an important role in contemporary secular morality. Along the way he asks whether evil is always horrific and incomprehensible, or if it can be banal. Considering if there is a special psychological hallmark that sets the evildoers apart from the rest of us, Russell also engages with ongoing discussions over psychopathy and empathy, analysing the psychology behind evildoing.

 

Relatable Quote: “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.”

8. Letters from a Stoic by Seneca

Selected from the Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium, Seneca's Letters from a Stoic are a set of 'essays in disguise' from one of the most insightful philosophers of the Silver Age of Roman literature. This Penguin Classics edition is translated from the Latin with an introduction by Robin Campbell.

A philosophy that saw self-possession as the key to an existence lived 'in accordance with nature', Stoicism called for the restraint of animal instincts and the severing of emotional ties. These beliefs were formulated by the Athenian followers of Zeno in the fourth century BC, but it was in Seneca that the Stoics found their most eloquent advocate. Stoicism, as expressed in the Letters, helped ease pagan Rome's transition to Christianity, for it upholds upright ethical ideals and extols virtuous living, as well as expressing disgust for the harsh treatment of slaves and the inhumane slaughters witnessed in the Roman arenas. Seneca's major contribution to a seemingly unsympathetic creed was to transform it into a powerfully moving and inspiring declaration of the dignity of the individual mind. Robin Campbell's lucid translation captures Seneca's humour and tautly aphoristic style. In his introduction, he discusses the tensions between Seneca's philosophy and his turbulent career as adviser to the tyrannical emperor Nero. Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c.4BC - AD65) was born in Spain but was raised according to the traditional values of the republic of Rome. In AD48 he became tutor to the future emperor Nero and became his principal civil advisor when he took power. His death was eventually ordered by Nero in AD65, but Seneca anticipated the emperor's decree and committed suicide. If you enjoyed Letters from a Stoic, you might like Marcus Aurelius's Meditations, also available in Penguin Classics.

Relatable Quote:“If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you’re needing is not to be in a different place but to be a different person.”

9. Ethics by Baruch Spinoza

Ethics is an ambitious work and multifaceted. Ambitious in its subject matter as critical Spinoza all traditional philosophical conceptions of God, of man and the universe.

Ambitious also by Spinoza because his method is to demonstrate the truth about God, about nature, man, religion and the good life. Indeed, Spinoza proceeds by definitions, axioms, corollaries and scholia, ie mathematically. While Spinoza’s Ethics covers theology, anthropology or ontology and metaphysics, he chose the term “ethics” because he posits that happiness comes from a liberation from superstition and passions. In other words, ontology is seen as a way to demystify the world and enable man to live according to reason.

Relatable Quote:“Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it.”