A few years ago, I embarked on a quest. I realized I knew very little about philosophy. I decided to change that immediately.
Philosophy is a subject that is often ignored as unimportant or worse, boring.
While I am not suggesting that you need a four year degree in it to get the full value of it, a basic knowledge of philosophy is essential.
Why? For one, it makes you a better thinker. For another, it is like history – a general knowledge of what came before provides a good guide to the future. And let you think philosophy is just for adults, here’s an article that shows its benefits for children.
But what if you, like me, know nothing about it? Fear not! Here are the choicest books you can pick up to learn more.
(Don’t try to just search Amazon for “philosophy” and buy what comes up because then you’ll be stuck with a line of beauty products.)
So, first off, Richard Osborne’s Philosophy For Beginners is a fun little book to introduce you to the basics. This was given to me by a friend who knew I liked graphic novels. It’s written in comic book format, but that doesn’t mean it is simplistic. Great book for delving into the subject with no background.
If lighthearted introductions to serious subjects are not your style, you might like Bryan Magee’s The Story of Philosophy. This is a beautiful book with full color pictures and great information about how philosophy developed over the years. It gives you a general smattering of each philosopher and how he built on or changed what had gone before him.
My personal favorite is How Should We Then Live by Francis Schaeffer, which is an analysis of western thought down the ages, but it might need one of the other two books mentioned above as companion reads.
And of course Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder is a classic by now that has been recommended to me often. Full disclosure: I haven’t read it, although it’s been sitting on my bookshelves beckoning me for a while now. Someday soon! I just have to get through my Plantagenet history first. 😉