When I started reading Philosophy in my Bachelor of Arts study some questions popped into my head. For example, what philosophy book should I start with as a beginner? What is the must-read book on philosophy? What is the best introductory philosophy book? I did ask for these questions to my University Professor to read the Best Philosophy Books for Beginners. Finally, I collected and read them in order for a deep understanding of philosophy at an earlier stage.
Best Philosophy Books for Beginners
Primarily, I was confused to decide the best Philosophy books to read on. This is because I found a lot of books which are actually excellent and fantastic reading. For Instance, The Republic by Plato, The Art of War by Sun Tzu and The City of God by Augustine of Hippo, and so on. After reading these books I really got some key ideas and basic concepts of Philosophy indeed.
But since philosophy is my academic major subject I kept looking for the academic best Philosophy books necessarily. Here is a review of some best Philosophy books for beginners to my knowledge. I am sure that these books will guide a beginner in the right way to take the test of philosophy knowledge accordingly.
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1. The Philosophy Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained
The Philosophy Book is an ideal text for beginners by DK because it looks for the history & ideas of philosophy from big thinkers to complex theories with easy-to-read lessons that demystify daunting subject matters. It wants to be a simple overview of a complex field of study in philosophy. And it intends to be one of the best philosophy books for beginners.
Most essentially, it provides the answers for basic philosophical questions like – Are the ideas of Rena Descartes, Mary Wollstonecraft, John Locke, and Thomas Hobbes still relevant today? This book takes you on a journey from ancient Greece to the modern age, equipping the compositions and concepts of hundreds of famous philosophers in history.
From Socrates to Confucius to Julia Kristeva, The Philosophy Book breaks down the difficult ideas using innovative graphics. To cut through the rigor and endlessly complex theories of academia to show how our social, political, and moral ideas form, it makes relevant information about innovative thinkers, methods, and philosophical approaches so well.
The vital value of this book is that it gives an overview of the historical time period, combines images, quotations, and summarizes the entire history of philosophy in terms of easy reading.
However, this will not turn you into a professor of philosophy. You can read it or refer to it as a kind of road map. You can get some landmarks and travel information from it in order to Identify some of the world-renowned leaders in the philosophy.
Examiner.com appreciates this book as-
“The Big Ideas Simply Explained books] are beautifully illustrated with shadow-like cartoons that break down even the most difficult concepts so they are easier to grasp. These step-by-step diagrams are an incredibly clever learning device to include, especially for visual learners.”
2. Philosophy 101: From Plato and Socrates to Ethics and Metaphysics, an Essential Primer on the History of Thought
Philosophy 101 by Paul Kleinman eliminates boring details and tedious philosophical methods, and in turn, gives you a lesson in philosophy that keeps you busy while exploring the fascinating history of human thought and inquiry. And therefore, I do believe Philosophy 101 is one of the best Philosophy books for beginners of course.
Philosophy 101 includes hundreds of entertaining philosophical tidbits, illustrations, and thought puzzles that crucial for a beginner from Aristotle & Heidegger to free will & metaphor.
This particular textbook has all the answers even what you don’t know whether you want to uncover the mystery of existentialism or find out what made Voltaire tick.
Philosophy 101 is a great introduction to a wide range of philosophical subject matters. Actually, the topics are not very in-depth, but I enjoyed reading it & identifying things I am interested in with a view to researching more later. This valuable philosophy book is short & straight to the point. Although it initially surprises me a little, I like non-chronological order.
3. A History of Western Philosophy
A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell serves as the perfect introduction to its subject. There is a lot of history and Bertrand Russell is very quick and concise throughout history and still, the book has 900 pages. It is well written and easy to read. The tough thing for me is keeping track of all the relationships explained. To understand all this of the best philosophy books as a beginner, I have to read them a few more times.
In fact, the total overview of “A History of Western Philosophy” is not possible in a book review here. One of the important points of this book is that “history” as “philosophy” is as much an important contribution to the field of philosophy as the author gives a brief overview of the history that took place and how it influenced later philosophers.
The most important theme throughout the book, in fact, how history influenced philosophy and how philosophy influenced history.
The book has three major sections.
(1) Ancient Philosophy (mostly Greek), (2) Catholic Philosophy, (3) Modern Philosophy.
The book spends most of its time in Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle’s philosophies because their influence is so vast in philosophy. Although Bertrand Russell is quite critical of them and considers them extra valuable.
It is also a central point that Bertrand Russell was not shy about giving his own views on philosophies. The author’s opinion probably makes the book more readable and accessible. Because it sometimes seemed that he was involved in philosophical discussions.
I indeed thoroughly enjoy reading the history of western philosophy. This book is highly effective for those who are curious and do not bother with the lack of neutrality.
4. A History of Western Philosophy: From the Pre-Socratics to Postmodernism
The great names, for example-Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Hume, Kant, and Hegel, and their philosophies ring through the minds of every student and scholar of philosophy. And in their quest for knowledge, every student of philosophy should know the history of philosophical discourse as the philosophy giants gave us. The renowned philosopher c. Stephen Evans brings his expertise to A History of Western Philosophy, from pre-Socrates to Nietzsche and post-modernity and to every major figure and movement in between.
“We have here an overview of western philosophy from the pre-Socratic philosophers of ancient Greece to the twentieth century. It offers a summary of the basic teachings of the major thinkers. We have come to call philosophers that is comprehensive, succinct, lucid, and evenhanded. In addition, there are occasional reflections on the significance of the material for Christian thought. Combined with the appropriate primary source readings, this volume will be a very useful textbook for a variety of college-level courses.”
5. American Philosophy: A Love Story
“Is life worth living?” This remarkable philosophical question guides this remarkable book Americal Philosophy: A Love Story.
This is a terrific book in fact written with full enthusiasm and insight by the professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts John Kaag. Anyone who’s been delighted to see Sara Bakewell’s “How to Survive” on Montaigne will find it as a fit companion.
Most importantly, the book connects us with some of the giants of the American Philosopher. For example- William James, Charles Peirce, and Josiah Royce. And from them, we get doses of insight and wisdom. Therefore, I do believe it is one of the best philosophy books for beginners.
The personal library of the once-famous Harvard philosopher Ernest Hocking is the setting for the story. The way the author has done his work through a collection of books. And discovering, in the process, the fascinating lives of Hocking and his wife, Agnes.
“The further you go on in the book, and the more of Kaag’s skilful miniatures you take in, the deeper it becomes. You realize he is also making an unconventional argument for who was right, and who was wrong, in the classical tradition of American philosophy from about 1830 to 1930, in Transcendentalism and Pragmatism and Idealism and beyond. It is an argument strikingly suited to our time. American Philosophy succeeds, not as a textbook or survey, but a spirited lover’s quarrel with the individualism and solipsism in our national thought.” ―Mark Greif, The New York Times Book Review
6. Philosophy Made Slightly Less Difficult: A Beginner’s Guide to Life’s Big Questions
You will find the answers to life’s big and fundamental questions in this book. For example-
“What is real?”
“How do we know what we know?”
“What is right? Who or what am I?”
“How should we view science and its claims?”
Philosophy Made Slightly Less Difficult by Garrett J. DeWeese and J. P. Moreland is a great overview of philosophy that is short, easy to understand, and comprehensive. For students who know little about philosophy, it is a great “Starter Book.” Because it always explains philosophical terms and provides definitions.
7. Philosophy: The Great Thinkers
The Philosophy: The Great Thinkers introduces the basic concepts behind each philosopher’s work, together with biographical and historical details from Aristotle and Cicero to controversial contemporary philosophers such as Peter Singer and Jacques Derrida. It could increase your quest for knowledge of the world’s prominent philosophers crucially.
Philosophy: The Great Thinkers is easy-to-use and a stimulating read. In fact, this book is an ideal reference book for anybody who feels interested in philosophy, as well as especially for those who want a clear, entertaining exposition of the ideas that shape the way we think. Moreover, it is a fantastic read in learning about different philosophers and their beliefs. And therefore, it is one of the best philosophy books for beginners in real.
Why You Should Study Philosophy
Philosophy means the Love of Wisdom. Philosophy uses logic and reasoning tools to analyze how people experience the world. It teaches critical thinking, intensive reading, clear writing, and logical analysis. It uses the language we use to describe the world and our place in it.
Different fields of philosophy are distinguished by the questions they ask. Do our senses accurately describe reality? What makes a mistake wrong? How should we survive? These are philosophical questions and philosophy teaches the ways in which we can begin to answer them.
You can benefit greatly by studying philosophy. The tools taught by philosophy are great to use in further education and employment. Despite the seemingly abstract nature of the questions that philosophers ask, the tools teach the philosophy that is highly sought after by employers.
Philosophy students learn how to write clearly, and read with a critical eye. They learn bad reasoning and how to avoid it in their writing and in their work. Many of our students combine the study of philosophy with the study of other disciplines.
The most important reason to study philosophy is that it is of abundant and enduring interest. We all have to answer the questions asked by philosophers. In this subject, students can learn how to ask questions well and how we can begin to develop responses.
Philosophy is important, but it is extremely enjoyable and there are many award-winning teachers in this faculty who create the process of learning about the fun of philosophy. Philosophy is committed to a participatory style of teaching, giving students the opportunity to develop and express their tools and their own philosophical views.