It is often asked which book to start philosophy with. Some books are more complex than others, some philosophers more obscure than others. And while everyone deserves to be read, some are more understandable and accessible. We have compiled ten must-read philosophy books for you.
1) The Apology of Socrates – Plato
In this short and accessible dialogue of Plato, it can be said that from the death of Socrates, there is a question about the figure of the philosopher and through him. This book is still one of the most-read works of philosophy.
2) The Ethics of Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics) – Aristotle
In this article, Aristotle defines his moral thoughts on the good life and says, “What should we do?” answers the question. It states that the good is the supreme goal of life, and the good is the goal of politics.
3) Meditations, Objections, and Replies – René Descartes
Adding a different dimension to philosophy, Descartes reveals his famous thoughts in this book.
4) Candide, or The Optimist – Voltaire
Voltaire revolutionizes the idea of happiness in this short fable: instead of seeking it in the hereafter, happiness must be sought here and now. This is the ultimate meaning of the famous “You have to grow your garden.”
5) Beyond Good and Evil – Nietzsche
For example, in this book, Nietzsche was much more accessible to people than the Zoroastrian spoken at that time (glorious instinct, nationalism, European civilization, Christian morality, etc.) and attacks everything he believes in. It prevents one from being free, in other words, from being themselves.
6) Crime and Punishment – Dostoevsky
Crime and Punishment is unquestionably one of the most influential novels of the 19th century. It is a genuine philosophical novel with the themes of guilt, freedom, nihilism, and human nature added to the depth of the characters. Dostoevsky also supports several psychoanalytic concepts that will inspire Freud’s theory.
7) The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
This novel by Kundera brings together the four main characters in their take on history, the difficulty of choosing, and their freedom. Kundera tries to show how wrong the concept of destiny is, and as a result, human existence is precarious.
8) Existentialism Is a Humanism – Jean-Paul Sartre
The oral lecture text is an excellent book on existentialism. Jean-Paul Sartre examines the concepts of conscience, relationship with others, responsibility, and bad faith.
9) The Fall – Albert Camus
In this beautiful novel, Camus discusses inaction and its consequences. One must not only always act according to Camus, but above all must be its first judge, to permanently show his responsibility before the world.
10) The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D’oh! of Homer – William Irwin
Filled with cultural references, the Matt Groening-created series has been the subject of countless analyses. This book by Irwin highlights all the themes developed by the Simpsons family: the place of the family (paternal theme, sibling relationship, etc.), happiness (and the weight of everyday life), religion, capitalism, geopolitics, or intellectualism.