Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Anyone know any good introductory philosophy books?

  1. Jul 28, 2009 #1
    Anyone know any good introductory philosophy books?

    Unfortunately, all the intro to Philosophy courses at my university are closed until next year. I'm an engineering major, which practically has nothing to do with this. However, I find myself highly interested, or at least intrigued, by philosophy. A book on philosophy of mind caught my interest, and I enjoyed it very much. I also picked up a copy of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, but I found that it was quite dense and a difficult read without much background. Can anyone recommend a good starting point for me? Just something for my off time while I wait hopefully for next year. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 28, 2009 #2

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Jul 28, 2009 #3
    While not a book, I would recommend these http://oyc.yale.edu/philosophy/death/" at Yale university to whet your appetite. It's a course exploring death. Kagan is one of the most entertaining and easy to understand lecturers I've seen.

    As for philosophy books, virtually any textbook on Amazon will do. I have https://www.amazon.com/Philosophy-N...sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248829584&sr=8-1". It's $1 used. Buy it. It has a wide variety of essays covering the 5 major branches of philosophy. I especially liked the excerpts from Nietzsche's God is Dead. Good luck!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Jul 29, 2009 #4
  6. Aug 21, 2009 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Well the carlos castenada books have been classified as many different things but i would strongly suggest reading them for a different outlook on life.
  7. Aug 21, 2009 #6
    I read a book called "The Story of Philosophy" by Will Durant and thought it was great. So great that I never picked up another.
  8. Aug 21, 2009 #7
    Good! Engineering and philosophy are not very related but they complement each other nicely. In contrast to popular belief, both are also very technical (as you seem to have discovered). If it's an option for you I would highly recommend a double major or minor in philosophy as an engineer. Double majoring in engineering and philosophy can do wonders for your job hunt. Reading philosophy and calling it homework is also a great break from problem sets.

    Anthologies and introductory books can be helpful, but don't be afraid to dive right in. On the Bertrand Russell page linked above he suggests some books. Berkeley's is probably the least dense. Hume is also relatively easier to read - I'm a fan. Don't start with Spinoza for sure. Kant manages to be dense and long-winded at the same time. He's famous for it.

    Now that I think about it, I highly recommend https://www.amazon.com/Philosophical-Explanations-Robert-Nozick/dp/0674664795". It's not typical philosophy attempting to prove its point, but it's a great read and a great overview. It's not designed as a textbook either, and you are free to skip around to the interesting sections like "Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?"
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook