The Twenty Greatest Philosophy Books: An Essential Guide / Edition 1

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The essential guide to the top twenty greatest books in philosophy for those who have just never quite found the time to read them.

In this witty and engaging book, James Garvey offers an introductory account of the must-read books from the whole history of philosophical writing. From Plato to Popper, Descartes to Wittgenstein, the greatest books in philosophy have had a huge impact on the development of contemporary society, politics, economics and culture. This entertaining and intelligent guide introduces the philosophical questions central to these books that are of genuine interest to the general reader and opens up often complex and challenging ideas for wider debate.

This is the ideal book for those coming to philosophy for the first time. Garvey introduces the key themes and terms in philosophy before exploring each of the twenty great philosophy books with humour and clarity. The book presupposes no background in philosophy and encourages the reader to actively engage in philosophical thinking. The Twenty Greatest Philosophy Books is the essential guide for anyone with an interest in this fascinating subject.


The Twenty Greatest Philosophy Books are Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy , Hobbes's Leviathan, Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding,  Berkeley's Principles of Human Knowledge, Hume's Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Rousseau's Social Contract, Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation, Marx's Communist Manifesto, Mill's Utilitarianism, Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra, James's Pragmatism, Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus , Ayer's Language, Truth and Logic, Sartre's Being and Nothingness, de Beauvoir's The Second Sex, Popper's The Logic of Scientific Discovery.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
It takes a brave man to summarize Thomas Aquinas's Summa theologicain eight pages or G.W.F. Hegel's Phenomenologyin seven, but Garvey (philosophy, Nottingham Univ., UK) does a creditable job. He writes clearly and gives readers essential clues that will show them what to look for when they read the books under discussion. His own bias shows when he picks Sir Alfred J. Ayer's Language, Truth and Logicas one of the five great books of the last century. But mostly, his accounts are straightforward and his criticisms to the point. His choices, inevitably, are arguable. Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz are not on his list, and the "continental philosophy" movement is only represented by Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Half of the living practitioners of philosophy live in the United States, and that has been true for a long time, yet no American book makes the list. Garvey's work will be handy on the library shelf for readers who want a potted guide to a reading list, but most would be better off with Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen M. Higgins's A Short History of Philosophy, the best of several short histories on the market.
—Leslie Armour
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826490544
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 12/24/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,300,471
  • Product dimensions: 5.06 (w) x 7.81 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

James Garvey is Secretary of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, UK. He is the author of The Twenty Greatest Philosophy Books and The Ethics of Climate Change, also published by Continuum.

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Table of Contents

1. Plato's Republic
2. Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics
3. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae
4. Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy
5. Hobbes's Leviathan
6. Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding
7. Berkeley's Principles of Human Knowledge
8. Hume's Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
9. Rousseau's Social Contract
10. Kant's Critique of Pure Reason
11. Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit
12. Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation
13. Marx's Communist Manifesto
14. Mill's Utilitarianism
15. Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra
16. Popper's The Logic of Scientific Discovery
17. Ayer's Language, Truth and Logic
18. Sartre's Being and Nothingness
19. de Beauvoir's The Second Sex
20. Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations



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