Top 5 Beginner Philosophy Books

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘The First 5 Philosophy Books You Should Read’ by Jared Henderson

Written by: Recapz Bot

Written by: Recapz Bot

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How does it work?
Video recommends 5 books; includes Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Nagel, and Anderson.

Key Insights

  • The video recommends five books for beginner philosophy students.
  • The first book is "The Five Dialogues" by Plato, particularly emphasizing the Euthyphro dialogue.
  • The second book is "Nicomachean Ethics" by Aristotle, which focuses on ethics and virtues.
  • The third book is "Meditations on First Philosophy" by Descartes, primarily dealing with epistemology and Cartesian dualism.
  • The fourth recommendation is a collection of essays by Thomas Nagel, highlighting "The Absurd" and "What Is It Like to Be a Bat?" to explore philosophical problems.
  • The fifth and final book is "Private Government" by Elizabeth Anderson, discussing the ethics of relationships between employers and employees.
  • The video emphasizes using the Socratic method, engaging in philosophical conversations, and asking questions rather than focusing on memorizing facts.

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Okay, so you want to start studying philosophy, and the first thing you need to figure out is what kind of books you’re going to read. Now, I’ve tried to make a few videos like this before, and what I’ve found is that I’ve probably made it a little bit too difficult. I found five books that I think any beginner in philosophy can read. If you read them in this order, you’re going to learn a lot about philosophy. Once you’ve read these books, you’ll be capable of going and reading as much philosophy as you want based on your interests.

The first book I recommend is “The Five Dialogues” by Plato. Plato did not group these dialogues into five dialogues himself, but all of them are great as teaching texts. I recommend the dialogue “Euthyphro” the most. In this dialogue, Socrates questions Euthyphro on the subject of piety. This dialogue introduces you to the Socratic method and demonstrates how philosophy should be done.

The second book I recommend is “Nicomachean Ethics” by Aristotle. Although it may be challenging to read, it is a favorite work of philosophy. Aristotle focuses on ethics and the concept of virtue, which is a great starting point for beginners.

Next, I recommend “Meditations on First Philosophy” by Descartes. This work focuses on epistemology, the study of knowledge. Descartes explores the foundation of knowledge and proposes a theory of the mind known as Cartesian dualism. I also suggest reading the objections and replies that Descartes received, particularly the correspondence with Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia.

A collection of essays by Thomas Nagel is the fourth recommendation. Specifically, I suggest reading “The Absurd” and “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” These essays cover topics of existentialism and the philosophy of mind and provide great insights into relevant philosophical problems.

Lastly, I recommend “Private Government” by Elizabeth Anderson. This contemporary book delves into the ethics of relationships between employers and employees. It offers a unique perspective on the control employers have over our lives and the political philosophy behind work.

By reading these five books, you will gain a solid understanding of philosophy and develop the skills to ask important questions. Don’t just memorize the facts, be an active participant in this great conversation.

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘The First 5 Philosophy Books You Should Read’ by Jared Henderson