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Recommended Reading:
Philosophical Classics

Parmenides, Fragments

Plato, The Republic * (Books V, VI, and VII are particularly important for their discussion of the Forms. Most of Plato’s other dialogues are also significant and should be pursued according to interest.)
Aristotle, Metaphysics * (Book I offers a critical evaltuation of the ideas of Aristotle’s predecessors; Book VII presents a discussion of the nature of the substance.)

-------, Nicomachaean Ethics * (Books I – III and X are particularly useful for getting an overview of Aristotle’s ethical theory.)

-------, Politics

-------, Rhetoric

Sextus Empiricus, Outlines of Pyrrhonism

Epictetus, Encheiridion

Plotinus, The Enneads (This is the major work in the revival of Paltonic ideas in later antiquity known as “Neoplatonism.” Essays I.6 and VI.9 are particularly significant.)

Augustine, On Free Choice of the Will

-------, Confessions

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae (Thomas’ famous proofs for God’s existence – the so-called “Five Ways” – are found in Part I, Question 2, Article 3.)

René Descartes, Meditations of First Philosophy * (The Meditations were circulated prior to publication among leading intellectuals, who forwarded objections to Descartes. These objections along with Descartes replies shed much light on Descartes’ thought.)

Benedictus Spinoza, Ethics (“On a first reading it is probably advisable to concentrate on propositions, corollaries, scholia, prefaces, and appendices, leaving the demonstrations till later,”
Edwin Curley, The Collected Works of Spinoza, 404.)

G.W. Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics

-------, New Essays on Human Understanding (This work is a respons to Locke’s Essay.)

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (This lengthy work, which is inaugurated the modern Empiricist movement, is perhaps best encountered in one or another abridgement.)

-------, Second Treatise of Government

George Berkeley, Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous (Berkeley is the classic example of a modern idealist, i.e., one who believes that nothing exists except minds and their ideas.)

David Hume, Treatise of Human Nature * (Books I and III are the parts most studied. Book I represents the fullest and most satisfactory account of Hume’s epistemological views, although he only dared to publish the essay on miracles in his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.)

-------, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (This constitutes a rewriting of Book I of the Treatise.)

-------, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (This constitutes a rewriting of Book III of the Treatise.)

-------, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract

-------, A Discourse on Inequality

Immanuel Krant, Critique of Pure Reason * (The most studied sections are the “Transcendental Aesthetic” and the “Transcendental Analytic”; in the latter division the Transcendental Deduction and the Second Analogy are most important.)

-------, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (An attempt by Krant at a simplified Presentation of the ideas of the Critique of Pure Reason; it is only partially successful in this regard and is not really an adequate substitute.)

-------, Critique of Practical Reason (This work contains Krant’s moral proofs for the existence of God and for the immortality of the soul.)

-------, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals *

-------, Critique of Judgment

G.W.F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit * (The famous Preface is of particular importance. The section on “Lordship and Bondage” clearly influenced Marx. The translation by A.V. Miller is to be preferred.)

Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling

-------, Concluding Unscientific Postscript

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

-------, Utilitarianism

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

-------, On the Genealogy of Morals

-------, Twilight of the Idols

William James, Pragmatism

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logic-philosophicus

-------, Philosophical Investigations

Martin Heidegger, Being and Time

* Works marked by a star are considered particularly central to the philosophical tradition.