Philosophy: reading guide

A guide for those that are interested in philosophy, but are having trouble knowing where to start.

The list is obviously not definitive and opinions as to how reliable some of the texts mentioned are will surely vary. That said, it is suggested that readers read the books in the order presented if they'd like to follow along and understand subsequent books/philosophers.

Note: this is a work in progress.

Logic

Formal Logic

Classical/Ancient Philosophy

Introduction

It should be noted that during the period when most of Classical philosophy was formulated the divisions applied to various areas of modern and contemporary philosophy (e.g. the division of moral philosophy into theories of virtue ethics, deontology or consequentialism) did not exist in a very pronounced manner; treatises can be mostly about politics, but also deal with some metaphysics in certain areas, etc.

Political Philosophy

Ethics/Moral Philosophy

Epistemology

Metaphysics

Modern Philosophy

Introduction

The period known as "Modern philosophy" marks any philosophy written from the 16th century up to the late 19th and sometimes early 20th century. This guide will treat the modern period as taking place between the 16th and 19th century. Historically, modern philosophy is preceded by the period known as "medieval philosophy", however, this period is usually of importance to specialists and it's of little value to new students of philosophy. Further, many of the worthwhile arguments of medieval philosophy appear in the texts of modern philosophers.

EPISTEMOLOGY

METAPHYSICS

ETHICS/MORAL PHILOSOPHY

POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

Contemporary Philosophy

Introduction

Towards the end of the 19th century a split happened in philosophy and two main camps were created: One became known as the "analytic" side of philosophy and was marked by a commitment to formal logic, empiricism and (at least initially) concern with philosophy of languge; the other become known as the "continental" side of philosophy (the name being a bit of a misnomer since many analytic philosophers came "from the continent", that is, Europe and because Europe isn't the only continent!) and was marked by criticisms of philosophy and, among other things, a penchant for system building. Some philosophers dispute the notion of dividing philosophy into an "analytic" and a "continental" side (e.g. Richard Rorty and Brian Leiter), but, because the division is generally accepted, it will be applied here. Thus, unless there's disagreement, the contemporary philosophy section of this guide will have an analytic and, as people contribute, a continental section. In the meantime, for readings in continental philosophy refer to Philosophy- a further reading guide.

Metaphysics

Ethics/Moral Philosophy

(Meta-ethics)

(Normative ethics)

Political Philosophy