Have you read these books yet?

This is actually a difficult question — which philosophical texts are best for beginners? But it’s also one that people ask frequently. Some may suggest starting with Plato, and occasionally delve a bit deeper into the topic, but admittedly haven’t devoted the thought and attention it really deserves to give a proper answer. It’s useful to start by considering common anxieties or preoccupations that many seem to have. The first of these can be summed up in the question: “Which book or books should I read first?” What is often lurking behind this question is a concern about “getting it right” when it comes to studying philosophy. One needs to read the books and thinkers in order — that’s one common conception. Whatever book you pick, whatever author you start with, you’re probably not going to understand most of what you read the first time you make your way through it. Here Observenow makes it easy for you by providing you a list of 5 philosophical books that should be on your read list next.

 

Plato, The Last Days of Socrates

The Last Days of Socrates is a series of four dialogues by Plato which describe the trial and death of Socrates @ 403 B.C. The trial of Socrates for heresy and the corruption of youth gives Plato the opportunity to develop and present his own philosophy of the responsibility of the individual for his actions and their effect on their community as well as his belief in the immortality of the soul. In the Phaedo, Plato uses Socrates to espouse his belief of the immortality of the soul. Death should be welcome to the philosopher because it is then that he will attain true wisdom and get rid of the distraction of the body.

 

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Nicomachean Ethics is a philosophical inquiry into the nature of the good life for a human being. Aristotle begins the work by positing that there exists some ultimate good toward which, in the final analysis, all human actions ultimately aim. The necessary characteristics of the ultimate good are that it is complete, final, self-sufficient and continuous. This good toward which all human actions implicitly or explicitly aim is happiness in Greek, "eudaimonia," which can also be translated as blessedness or living well, and which is not a static state of being but a type of activity. To discover the nature of human happiness it is necessary to determine what the function of a human being is, for a person's happiness will consist in fulfilling the natural function toward which his being is directed. This natural function must be something which is specific to human beings, which is essential to being human.

 

Epictetus, Discourses, Fragments, Handbook

The vast majority of these books are all very similar, re-hashing and rewording a few key concepts while being marketed as the ultimate guide to transforming your life. 99% of those books are a waste of your time and money. Discourses and Selected Writings by Epictetus is the polar opposite. Original, ancient lessons to achieve your goals and conquer adversity from in my eyes the greatest Stoic philosopher, Epictetus. You won’t find this book anywhere near the best sellers or anywhere that’s particularly visible in your local bookstore. This book costs a few bucks and it will literally change your life. Below you’ll find my summary on this book, be sure to pick up your own copy and ink and highlight the pages until your heart is content. ‘Discourses and Selected Writings is a paradigm shift, don’t view the messages and quotes in this book as pessimistic or negative, this book is loaded with hard truths, use it to serve as a reminder to yourself and refer to it often.

 

Augustine of Hippo, Confessions

Augustine's Confessions is not an autobiography in the literal sense , but is rather an autobiographical framework for a religious, moral, theological, and philosophical text. Augustine explores the nature of God and sin within the context of a Christian man's life. The work can thus be viewed as both a discursive document and a subjective personal story. It is one of the most influential books in the Catholic religion, apart from the Bible. Augustine wrote of his life and education up until the point of his conversion. After his conversion, he focused (as, he implies, a good Christian should) on understanding the major points of Catholic Christian doctrineHe wished to show the reader his personal struggle to become a Christian, and how that struggle is a metaphor for all Christians' struggles.

 

Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy

The Consolation of Philosophy is a short work of literature, written in the form of a prosimetrical apocalyptic dialogue (i.e. a dialogue with a mythical, imaginary, or allegorical figure). It contains five Books, which are written in a combination of prose and verse. The dialogue is between Ancius Boethius, a prominent and learned official of the Roman Empire, and the person of Philosophy. The work opens with a scene between Boethius and the (imaginary) Muses of Poetry, who are attending him in his sorrow while he writes poetry of his woe. They are interrupted by the entrance of a strange and otherwordly-looking lady, Lady Philosophy. She explains that she has come to him in his hour of need, for he suffers from the sickness of being far too attached to material and earthly things.


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