• Emma

Best introductory philosophy books!

Want to begin exploring philosophy but do not know where to start? Or are you studying philosophy and want to supplement your learning further through books? This is the resource for you! I have compiled a list of my 5 favourite introductory philosophy books.


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The Pig That Wants to be Eaten


In The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten, Julian Baggini takes the reader through a range of interesting and stimulating thought experiments. In the book, there are 100 puzzles covering a range of different philosophical areas, such as moral philosophy, political philosophy, aesthetics, and more! For this reason, I believe this is a wonderful book for those introducing themselves to philosophy—you do not need to know which areas of philosophy you like best yet! Baggini makes insightful comments, offers up possible solutions and inspires original thought. Through these thought-provoking dilemmas and questions, abstract philosophical subjects get translated into easily-accessible and specific hypotheticals to explore.


A Little History of Philosophy


Nigel Warburton is one of the best authors to look into when interested in exploring philosophy. He has written a range of introductory books on philosophy and even co-hosts the philosophy podcast, Philosophy Bites! A Little History of Philosophy is a great introduction to Western thought, presenting a chronological journey through the history of philosophy with all its thinkers and their big ideas. Warburton also offers up fascinating, compelling, thought-provoking and fun theories and stories about the lives of some of these philosophers.


Philosophy: The Basics


In Philosophy: The Basics, Nigel Warburton once again provides us with an excellent introductory philosophy book! This time, Warburton explores major philosophical topics, each chapter giving thought to a new area, issue or question within philosophy. These include fundamental questions about what philosophy is, and other philosophical questions about God, morality, an afterlife, the mind and body, art, society and the law. For each topic, Warburton explains the basics and discusses the issues that arise!


Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy


Think is another book worth reading for introductions into many different philosophical areas of study and interest! Simon Blackburn covers Western philosophy and all its big questions through time. In particular, Blackburn presents the topics in a well-structured way, categorising the philosophical themes and issues that he explores. Goodreads describes the book as follows:

Written expressly for "anyone who believes there are big questions out there, but does not know how to approach them," Think provides a sound framework for exploring the most basic themes of philosophy, and for understanding how major philosophers have tackled the questions that have pressed themselves most forcefully on human consciousness.

The Philosophy Book


This is the last of my favourite introductory philosophy books that have made this list! The Philosophy Book is a particularly enjoyable and accessible book to read. Filled with bright colours and graphics, this book presents over 2000 years of philosophical thought, within and outside the Western world, in a fun and engaging way. The Philosophy Book splits the book into several different time periods, within which many different thinkers and their ideas are explained and discussed. These summaries include a short biography of the philosopher. Unlike many introductory philosophy books, this one goes beyond Western thought, and includes many female philosophers too! However, for a more comprehensive (yet accessible) overview of global philosophical thought, Julian Baggini’s How the World Thinks is a great book to check out!


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For those living in Lancaster, feel free to contact me at e.harte@lancaster.ac.uk if you would like to borrow these books in hard-copy, rather than buy them. However, if you are interested in buying a copy, please consider exploring second-hand options, such as those available on eBay or Depop.


If you do choose to read one of these books following my recommendation, please let me know! I would love to know what you think.


Feel free to make further recommendations for people in the comments!



Emma

Social Media Officer, Web Designer and Blog Manager for Ethica


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