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5 Books On Philosophy That Are Easy To Read For Beginners

As humans we are natural learners, we seek knowledge just for the sake of it. Philosophy provides a way for us to understand the inner workings of our world and gain insight into complex issues such as existence, languages, our minds and values.

Philosophy as a discipline has been dismissed in the age of AI amid advancements of science and technology, with famed professor Stephen Hawking telling Google that ‘Philosophy is dead‘. Yet time and again complex issues and questions force us to examine our lifestyles and question why things are the way they are. In this article, we will quickly go through a brief history of philosophy and present 10 great books you can read as a beginner that will give you great insight into the discipline of philosophy.

First, let us go through a very brief history.

Philosophy: The Beginning

You can imagine the first homo sapiens looking around themselves and wondering about the meaning of life, existence and death. Philosophy was born out of reflection and conjecture. It sought to answer life’s complex questions and as a skill, is invaluable to employers, schools and governments because of the creative ability it lends to minds that inhabit it.

Philosophy Books For Beginners

Philosophy For BeginnersRichard Osborne

Osborne has written many books for beginners including Freud for beginners and sociology for beginners. He begins with the basic question asked by the ancient Greeks such as what is knowledge? what is good and evil? and he traces and breaks down the answers provided by western philosophy for over the last 2,500 years.

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Philosophy 101: From Plato and Socrates to Ethics and Metaphysics – Paul Kleinman

Philosophy 101 does a great job of cutting out all the boring bits about philosophy and gets straight to the point with a hard-hitting lesson in philosophy that engages you in deep thought, giving you a chance to discover the amazing history of reflection.

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The Nicomachean Ethics – Aristotle

Aristotle explores happiness. He asserts that happiness consists in ‘activity of the soul in accordance with virtue’, for example with moral virtues, such as courage, generosity and justice, and intellectual virtues, such as knowledge, wisdom and insight.

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Beyond Good and Evil – Friedrich Nietzsche

First published in 1886, Beyond Good and Evil expands on the ideas of renowned German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. It challenges the works of other philosophers and adopts a more critical approach to thingking about philosophy. It is certainly worth a great read if you would like to learn more about metaphysical philosophy.

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The Story of Philosophy – Will Durant

Last but not least Will Durant, a Pulitzer prize recipient (1968) presents a brilliant account of the amazing lives of famous philosophers like Aristotle, Russell, Plato, Spinoza and Dewey. It is easy to digest and will give you an overview of the thought processes of the great minds of philosophy.

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Why You Should Read Beginner Books On Philosophy

Because philosophy provides a way for us to understand our world and gain insight into complex issues, it is a broad and diverse discipline. Reading these philosophy books for beginners will give you a great introduction to the discipline.

As a cautionary note, in order to really grasp these complex theories you will need to read, take notes, reflect and re-read as much as you can. Philosophy is a complex discipline and the more you read, the more you understand. Enjoy!