Sunday, February 13, 2005

Fresher Reading List

The following list consists of the ten works that it may be worthwhile for First Year students, philosophy students or otherwise, to read.

- Comte-Sponville, André. The Little Book Of Philosophy (William Heinemann)
- Plato. The Last Days of Socrates (Penguin)
- Aristotle. The Nicomachean Ethics (Penguin)
- Epicurus. The Essential Epicurus (Prometheus Books)
- Descartes, René. Discourse On Method And Meditations (Penguin)
- Machiavelli, Niccolò. The Prince (Penguin)
- Kant, Immanuel. Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (Oxford)
- Marx, Karl. The Portable Karl Marx (Penguin)
- Camus, Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus (Penguin)
- Foucault, Michel. The Will To Knowledge, The History Of Sexuality: 1 (Penguin)

Note: The brackets indicate available editions.

1 comment:

Bill Pascoe said...

New students of philosophy would probably also be interested in Neitzsche. I'd recommend 'Beyond Good And Evil' or otherwise 'The Genealogy of Morals' for a shorter read. Avoid 'Thus Spake Zarathustra' until you've read something else of Neitzsche so that it makes more sense.

As for The Myth of Sisyphus, it has been a long time since I read existentialism, but I remember thinking in the first part, that he just kept repeating this question, "Why does a person get out of bed in the morning?" and not taking it anywhere. In those good old days I didn't get out of bed in the morning, at least not before 10am, so it was a difficult question to answer. I had to say, "Well, I don't know, Camus. You tell me." Now I do, and what gets me out of bed is my kids. Back to the point - I gave up on the Myth of Sisyphus. I would recommend instead, 'The Fall'. While it is fiction, like 'The Outsider', from a philosophical perspective 'The Outsider' is more of a parable of a philosophy. 'The Fall' is more explicitly philosophical and I remember thinking it was the best exposition of Existentialism I had read.