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Philosophy: The Classic Readings

David E. Cooper (Editor), Peter S. Fosl (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-4585-5
1406 pages
August 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
Philosophy: The Classic Readings (1405145854) cover image


Philosophy: The Classic Readings provides a comprehensive, single-volume collection of the greatest works of philosophy from ancient to modern times.
  • Draws on both Eastern and Western philosophical traditions
  • Arranged chronologically within parts on Ethics, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion, and Political Philosophy
  • Features original readings from more than a hundred of the world's great philosophers - from Lao Tzu, Confucius, the Buddha, Plato, Śamkara, Aquinas, al-Ghazāli, Kant, and Kierkegaard, to Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Sartre, Arendt, and Quine and many others
  • Provides an extensive Timeline of Philosophy for situating historical figures and lines of thought
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Table of Contents


Source Acknowledgments

Editors’ Introduction

A Philosophical Chronology

Suggested Additional Reading in the History of Philosophy

I. Ethics

1. Plato, Gorgias, 482–484, 488–500

2. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book I

3. Epicurus, “Letter to Menoeceus” and “Leading Doctrines”

4. (A) Mencius, “Human Nature Is Good”
(B) Hsun Tzu, “Man’s Nature Is Evil”

5. The Book of Chuang Tzu, Chapters 9, 13, and 14

6. The Bhagavad Gita, Chapters 1–5

7. Cicero, De finibus, Book III, Chapters I–X and XIX–XXII; De officiis, Book I, Chapters I–XIII

8. Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations (selections)

9. (A) Santideva, The Bodhicaryâvatâra, Chapter 8, verses 89–140
(B) Tsongkapa and Pabongka Rinpoche, “The Second Path: The Wish to Achieve Enlightenment for Every
Living Being”

10. Plotinus, Enneads, Book IV.8 [6], Sections 4–8

11. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologica, I–II, Questions 55, 58, 61–3

12. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, “Oration on the Dignity of Man”

13. Benedict Spinoza, Ethics, Book V

14. David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, Book III, Part I, (Sections 1–2)

15. Immanuel Kant, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals, Preface and Section 1

16. John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism, Chapter 2

17. Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, Problema I

18. Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, First Essay, Sections 2–14, 16

19. G. E. Moore, Principia Ethica, Chapter 1, sections 1–2, 5–15

20. W. D. Ross, The Right and the Good, Chapter 2

21. Tanabe Hajime, Philosophy as Metanoetics, “Preface”

22. Charles L. Stevenson, “The Emotive Meaning of Ethical Terms”

23. Jean-Paul Sartre, “Existentialism Is a Humanism” (abridged)

24. Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, I.3.XI, “Myth and Reality” and “Conclusion” (abridged)

II. Epistemology

1. Plato, Republic, 475e–480a, 506d–518c

2. Aristotle, Posterior Analytics, Book I.1–4 and 31, and Book II.19

3. The Book of Chuang Tzu, Chapter 2

4. Sextus Empiricus, Outlines of Pyrrhonism, Book I, Sections 1–16, 18–27

5. (A) The Nyâya-Sûtras, from Book I, Chapter 1 and Book II, Chapter 1, with Vâtsyâyana’s Commentary
(B) Nâgârjuna, Vigrahavyâvartanî, Verses 5–6, 30–51

6. Thomas Aquinas, De veritate: Question One, Articles I–III and VIII–IX; Question Ten, Articles I, IV–VI, XI–XII

7. Francis Bacon, Novum Organum I: Selected Aphorisms

8. René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, I–III, and “Objections and Replies” (selections)

9. (A) John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book I, Chapter II, Sections 1–24
(B) Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, New Essays on the Human Understanding, “Preface”

10. (A) Giambattista Vico, The New Science (1744), “Poetic Wisdom”
(B) David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, “Of the Idea of Necessary Connexion” and “Of the Academical or Sceptical Philosophy”

11. Thomas Reid, Essays on the Intellectual Powers Of Man, Essay 6, Chapter 5

12. Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, Introduction (Second Edition),
Sections I–VI (excerpt)

13. G. W. F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, Sections 73–103

14. John Stuart Mill, A System of Logic, Book II, Chapters V–VII (selections)

15. Arthur Schopenhauer, “On the Possibility of Knowing the Thing-in-Itself”

16. Søren Kierkegaard, “Truth Is Subjectivity”

17. Friedrich Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense”

18. Charles S. Peirce, “Some Consequences of Four Incapacities” (excerpt) and “The Fixation of Belief”

19. Edmund Husserl, The Idea of Phenomenology, Lectures I–II

20. Bertrand Russell, “Knowledge by Acquaintance and Knowledge by Description”

21. (A) Moritz Schlick, “On the Foundation of Knowledge”
(B) Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Chapter 10 (abridged)

22. Martin Heidegger, “Dasein, Disclosedness, and Truth”

23. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, Sections 60–81, 112–16, 269–75

24. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, “Preface”

25. W. V. O. Quine, “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”

III. Metaphysics

1. Tao Te Ching (selections)

2. (A) Heraclitus of Ephesus, selected fragments
(B) Parmenides of Elea, from “The Way of Truth” (fr. 344–55)

3. Plato, Phaedrus, 245–50

4. Aristotle, Metaphysics, Books I.1–3 (abridged), VII, VIII, and XII

5. (A) Gotama (the Buddha), Sayings on “Conditioned Genesis”
(B) Lalitavistara, XIII, 95–117
(C) Nâgârjuna, Madhyamaka-Kârikâ, Dedication and Chapter XXV

6. Plotinus, The Enneads V.1

7. Samkara, Brahmasûtrabhâsya (selections)

8. Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Kitab al-Shifa, Book I, Chapters Six and Seven, Book II, Chapters Two and Three

9. Chu Hsi, Recorded Sayings (selections)

10. Thomas Aquinas, De ente et essentia, Introduction and Chapters I–II, IV–V

11. Duns Scotus, Ordinatio I (abridged)

12. René Descartes, Principles of Philosophy, Part I, and selected correspondence with Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia

13. Benedict Spinoza, Ethics, Part I (selections)

14. John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book II, Chapters VIII and XXIII

15. Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, Monadology

16. George Berkeley, Of the Principles of Human Knowledge, Part I (Sections 1–37)

17. Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason I.1 (2nd edition) “Transcendental Aesthetic”, Sections 1–3, 8

18. G. W. F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, Preface

19. John Stuart Mill, An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy, Chapter XI

20. F. H. Bradley, Appearance and Reality, Chapters XIII and XIV

21. William James, “The One and the Many”

22. Henri Bergson, An Introduction to Metaphysics, Second Part

23. Bertrand Russell, The Philosophy of Logical Atomism, Lecture VIII

24. Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, Sections 14, 15, 19, and 21

25. A. N. Whitehead, Process and Reality, Part I, Chapters I and II (selected sections)

26. Willard Van Orman Quine, “Ontological Relativity”

IV. Philosophy of Religion

1. Plato, Euthyphro and the “Ladder of Loves” from Symposium (201c–212c)

2. Mânavadharmasâstra, Chapters 1, 6 (abridged), and 12

3. Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, Book Eight and Book Nine, Chapters 8–10

4. Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, Book IV, Sections I and V–VII

5. Anselm of Canterbury, The Ontological Argument, Proslogion, Chapters I–V

6. Al-Ghazalc, “On Causality and Miracles”

7. Ibn Rushd (Averroës), The Decisive Treatise (selections)

8. Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides) The Guide for the Perplexed (selections)

9. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part I, Questions II and XIII

10. Duns Scotus, Ordinatio I and IV (selections)

11. Nicholas Cusanus, De docta ignorantia, Book 1, Chapters I–VI and XXVI; Book 2, Chapter V

12. Blaise Pascal, “The Wager”

13. Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, “Principles of Nature and of Grace, Founded on Reason”

14. Matthew Tindal, Christianity as Old as the Creation, Chapters I, II, and VI

15. David Hume, “Of Miracles”

16. Immanuel Kant, from Critique of Pure Reason I.2: “The Transcendental Dialectic” II, Chapter III, Sections 4–5

17. William Paley, “The Argument from Design”

18. Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, Problema II

19. William James, “Mysticism”

20. Bertrand Russell, “A Free Man’s Worship”

21. Martin Buber, I and Thou, Part III (selections)

22. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, “Conflict of Religions: The Hindu Attitude”

23. Reinhold Niebuhr, “The Christian Attitude to Government”

24. Paul Tillich, “Courage and Transcendence” (selections)

V. Political Philosophy

1. Tao Te Ching (selections)

2. Gotama (the Buddha), Selected Sayings on Kingship

3. Confucius, The Analects (selections)

4. Plato, Republic, Book V, 451c–462e, 471c–480a

5. Aristotle, Politics I, II: 1–6, VII: 14–15

6. Cicero, “The Dream of Scipio” from De re publica, VI: IX–XXVI

7. Ibn Tufayl, The Story of Hayy Ibn Yaqzan (extracts)

8. Marsilius of Padua, Defensor pacis, Discourse One, Chapters X and XII; Discourse Two, Chapters VII and VIII

9. Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, Chapters 15 to 18 and 25

10. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Chapters XIII–XV, XVII, XVIII (selections)

11. John Locke, “Of Property”

12. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, Books I and II (selections)

13. David Hume, “Of Justice,” “Of the Origin of Government,” and “Of the Original Contract”

14. Immanuel Kant, Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch (selections)

15. Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (selections)

16. (A) Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (selections)
(B) Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (selections)

17. G. W. F. Hegel, Philosophy of Right, Part III, Section iii

18. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Chapter 1

19. (A) Karl Marx, Manifesto of the Communist Party (Sections I and II) and “Theses on Feuerbach”
(B) Vladimir Lenin, State and Revolution, from Chapters I, II, and III

20. M. K. Gandhi, on Satyagraha (selections)

21. Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, “The Concept of Enlightenment”

22. Michael Oakeshott, “Political Education”

23. John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Chapter I, Sections 1–4

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Author Information

David E. Cooper is Professor of Philosophy (Emeritus) at Durham University. His many books include World Philosophies: An Historical Introduction (Blackwell, 1996, 2002); Existentialism: A Reconstruction (Blackwell, 1990, 1999); and The Measure of Things: Humanism, Humility and Mystery (2002).

Peter S. Fosl is Professor of Philosophy at Transylvania University. Recipient of the 2006 Acorn Award for Kentucky’s outstanding university professor of the year, Fosl is co-author with Julian Baggini of The Ethics Toolkit (Blackwell, 2007) and The Philosopher's Toolkit (Blackwell, 2003).He is also co-editor of the Dictionary of Literary Biography volumes on British Philosophers (2002).

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The Wiley Advantage

  • Offers an inclusive, single-volume collection of the greatest philosophical works
  • Draws on both Eastern and Western philosophical traditions
  • Arranged chronologically within parts on Ethics, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion, and Political Philosophy.
  • Features original readings from more than a hundred of the world's great philosophers - from Lao Tzu, Confucius, the Buddha, Plato, Śamkara, Aquinas, al-Ghazāli, Kant, and Kierkegaard, to Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Sartre, Arendt, and Quine and many others
  • Provides an extensive Timeline of Philosophy for situating historical figures and lines of thought
See More


"This excellent collection includes all the core essential readings, and ranges more widely than any comparative volume. There is no better introduction to the breadth of great writing to be found in the history of philosophy."
--Julian Baggini, The Philosophers’ Magazine
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