50 Philosophy Classics by Tom Butler-Bowdon
Besides the allegory of the cave, my knowledge of philosophy wasn’t great before reading this book. 50 Philosophy Classics by Tom Butler-Bowdon is one of currently 7 books written in the 50 classics series. I liked to read it as a reference book, a very useful compendium.
Because it’s a subject both myself and my husband are interested in, I’ve read it out loud. It might sound strange, but I thought it will be a good exercise, considering that I want to take my English test this year. While reading, speaking and writing aren’t a problem, obviously, I don’t read out loud often and the exercise proved helpful. It was lovely to read it to my husband, as we would have a chat about each philosopher after reading it. The “downside” is that it took 2 months to finish the book, reading one philosopher a day, most times.
I will read 50 Psychology Classics too. Maybe, as with this one, read it to my husband.
I’ve made a “short” list of philosophers I want to read. Some I never heard of before. Also, some works I would have avoided due to their name, like the book by Harry Frankfurt. There are a few that I found interesting, but I think I will not have the time, like Spinoza, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Bertrand Russell (I will read some essays by him). I’m still unsure about Nassim Nicholas Taleb, I like his ideas, but some reviews of his book put me off wanting to read it.
Aristotle – Nicomachean Ethics, about happiness, 4th century BCE.
A.J. Ayer – Language, Truth and Logic, about metaphysics, 1936. His mother was related to the family that started the Citroen car company. Educated at Eton and Oxford, his work sounds very interesting.
Noam Chomsky – Understanding Power, about politics, 2002.
Rene Descartes – Meditations on First Philosophy, 1641. He decided not to publish his first book as it contained a notion that was heretic at that time: the Earth revolving around the Sun.
Epicurus – Letters, 3rd century BCE, on happiness. He was a modern thinker, allowing women and slaves to take part in his philosophy school. Epicurus died in 271 BCE, but only a small part of his 300 papyrus rolls survived.
Harry Frankfurt – On bullshit, 2005. It’s a short book, of less than 100 pages, about truth. Frankfurt was a professor of moral philosophy at Princeton.
Sam Harris – Free Will, 2012. I want to read some of his book. He was named along with Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett as the “Four Horsemen of New Atheism”. Last year I’ve read The Missionary Position. Mother Theresa in theory and in practice by Christopher Hitchens, great book, not as controversial as it sounds though. I’ve also read two books by Richard Dawkins.
David Hume – An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1748. The subject of the book is obvious from the name. I’m really interested in this Scottish philosopher.
Daniel Kahneman – Thinking, Fast and Slow, 2011. Kahneman is a psychologist and he was on my list of authors to read for a while now. – I’ve read it, see the book review.
Thomas Kuhn – The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1962. A short book of less than 200 pages, but a huge success. Over 1 million copies were sold and it was translated in 24 languages.
Niccolo Machiavelli – The Prince, 1513. The book is about politics and leadership.
John Stuart Mill – On Liberty, 1859. The subject of the book is about politics, society, and freedom. He was highly educated, learning Greek by 3, and Latin by 8. He was employed by East India Company and retired after the Indian Mutiny in 1857. Finally, Mill started the Utilitarian Society. After his election in Parliament, he advocated for women’s rights.
Friedrich Nietzsche – Beyond Good and Evil, 1886. One of his famous quotes is “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger”, though, sadly, some people assume is from a song (rather dull for my liking). I found his ideas intriguing and I would love to read his work.
Plato – The Republic, 4th century BCE. I already mentioned him at the beginning of this post. He talks about politics and that is something I’m interested in.
50 Philosophy Classics by Tom Butler-Bowdon
Details about the picture: The cup and milk jug are handmade by a British designer, Laura De Benedetti. I’m not sure why I’ve asocciated it with this book, maybe because of its irregular shape.
My rating: 4.5/5
Would I recommend it: Yes. As a reference book is very helpful.
Published by: Nicholas Brealey Publishing
About the author: Tom Butler-Bowdon started his 50 classics series in 2001 with 50 Self-Help Classics. It was a success, so he continued to publish similar books, including 50 Success Classics, 50 Spiritual Classics, 50 Psychology Classics. 50 Philosophy Classics was first published in 2013.
Website & Social Media Links: butler-bowdon