50 Ideas in 500 Words
Offering ‘a sense of what philosophy is about and an insight into the ideas which engage philosophical minds’, Jeremy Stangroom introduces 50 thinkers – including political, social and psychological theorists as well as philosophers – with succinct summaries of one or more essential arguments in their work.
A Beginner's Guide
William J Prior introduces ancient philosophy, from the Pre-Socratics to Marcus Aurelius, through discussion of the main issues raised by Socrates, but debated before and after him: the good life, knowledge and reality, the soul, and God and the cosmos. Off-mint.
A Beginner's Guide
Beginning with the basic principles of logic inherited from Plato and Aristotle, and focusing on Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and William of Ockham, this introduction examines the problems that concerned the medieval philosophers: evil, eternity, universals, ethics and the existence of God.
A Beginner's Guide
René Descartes (1596–1650) was a leader of the 17th-century intellectual revolution in science and philosophy, famous above all for his rationalism and the Cogito: ‘I think, therefore I am’. Bracken’s guide provides historical background, formulates the core of Descartes’ philosophical ideas and discusses his legacy.
Get Smart: Philosophy
The Big Ideas You Should Know
Through a combination of quizzes, single-sentence summaries and ten-point explanations, this concise guide introduces 50 of philosophy’s most profound questions and fundamental concepts, illustrating the range of approaches taken by great thinkers down the ages.
Though often wrongly confused with hedonism, the Epicurean ideal of achieving true happiness was in reality an austere, utilitarian philosophy of kindness, equality and moderation of appetites. This edition of Epicurus’ surviving works, as recorded by Diogenes Laertius, includes introductory chapters from Robert Drew Hicks’s Stoics and Epicureans (1910).
Translated, with an introduction by the Oxford classicist Benjamin Jowett (1817–1893), Plato’s Republic is widely regarded as the finest of the Socratic dialogues, bringing together political thought and philosophy. Among the issues debated in the dialogue are the meaning of justice and the just man, immortality of the soul, the theory of Forms, and the ideal state ruled by its philosopher king.
Meditations on First Philosophy
and Other Metaphysical Writings
This collection of writings by René Descartes (1596–1650) begins with the short, yet tremendously important Discourse on the Method, with the famous assertion cogito ergo sum within the discussion of knowledge, the existence of God and the distinction between mind and body. The Meditations then expand on Descartes’ metaphysical arguments, and selections from The Principles of Philosophy complete the volume.
Thus Spake Zarathustra
This profoundly influential literary-philosophical experiment – a book of aphorisms put into the mouth of the Persian sage Zarathustra – contains the kernel of Nietzsche's thought: his famous proclamation that 'God is dead', and the much-misinterpreted theory of the rise of the Übermensch that has attained a higher, enhanced humanity. First published in four parts in 1883–85.
The Social Contract
‘Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains’, so begins one of the most profoundly influential works of Western political philosophy. Written in 1762, The Social Contract puts forward Rousseau’s theory of the general will and the sovereignty of the whole citizen body – ideas that were taken up by the French revolutionaries and political thinkers as far-flung as Jefferson in America and Tolstoy in Russia.
Human, All Too Human
Published in 1878, two years after Nietzsche broke with German Romanticism and his former friend, Richard Wagner, this is his first philosophical book written in aphoristic style. Here he describes the ‘free spirits’ that will transcend traditional Christianity, challenges the Christian notions of good and evil, and introduces the concept of the will to power.
The Art of Rhetoric
Written around the time that Aristotle (384–322 BCE) established his own school in Athens, this is a guide to what was a critical skill in ancient Greece: the art of arguing persuasively in debate and public speaking. A seminal text that has shaped theory and practice down to modern times, the book sets out the contexts and types of rhetoric, the strategies of persuasion, and the style of delivery.
Twelve Great Thinkers and the Search for Wisdom, from Socrates to Nietzsche
Starting with Socrates who, with his injunction to ‘know thyself’, provided a model of the philosophical life, and ending with Nietzsche, James Miller provides brief biographies of twelve philosophers. The selection includes both canonical figures such as Augustine, Descartes and Kant, and less obvious thinkers including Diogenes, Montaigne and Emerson, but every one of them has ‘struggled to live his life according to a deliberately chosen set of precepts and beliefs’. Previously in Postscript as The Philosophical Life.
A Beginner's Guide
Existentialism was expressed through novels, plays and films as well as purely philosophical writings and this introductory study explores its central ideas – freedom, anxiety, the Absurd and authenticity – through the works of writers including Nietzsche, Camus, Sartre, de Beauvoir and Fanon.
An impassioned and persuasive argument for the American colonies’ independence from the British crown, Tom Paine’s pamphlet was published in Philadelphia in 1776. ‘Without the pen of the author of Common Sense’, wrote the founding father John Adams, ‘the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain’.