Philosophy Past Readings


    • A. J. Ayer, Hume: A Very Short Introduction
    • David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
    • Samir Okasha, Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction


    • Kieran Setiya, Life Is Hard: How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our Way

    • Simon Blackburn, Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy

    • Roger Scruton, Beauty: A Very Short Introduction

    • Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science

    • Dennis C. Rasmussen, The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought


    • Julian Baggini, What’s It All About? Philosophy and the Meaning of Life

    • Yvonnne Sherratt, Hitler’s Philosophers

    • Zena Hitz, Lost In Thought

    • Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus

    • Emily Katz Anhalt, Embattled: How Ancient Greek Myths Empower Us to Resist Tyranny

    • Steven Pinker, Rationality

    • Robert Wright, The Evolution of God 

    • Julian Baggini, The Great Guide: What David Hume Can Teach Us About Living Well

    • Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation

    • William James, Pragmatism and Other Writings (edited by Giles Gunn)

    • A. C. Grayling, Wittgenstein: A Very Short Introduction

    • Richard Rorty, Philosophy and Social Hope

    • Aristotle, Poetics (preferably Oxford Classics edition)


    • Martha C. Franks, Books Without Borders: Homer, Aeschylus, Galileo, Melville, and Madison Go to China 

    • Wolfram Ellenberger, Time of the Magicians: Wittgenstein, Benjamin, Cassirer, Heidegger, and the Decade That Reinvented Philosophy

    • Stephen Mumford, Metaphysics: A Very Short Introduction

    • Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

    • Julia Annas, Ancient Philosophy: A Very Short Intoduction

    • Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, Lives of the Stoics

    • Edith Hall, Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life

    • Steven Nadler, Think Least of Death: Spinoza on How To Love and How To Die 

    • Lucretius, The Nature of Things


    • Laura Dassow Walls, Henry David Thoreau: A Life; and more writings by Thoreau such as “Civil Disobedience”

    • Carlos Baker, Emerson Among the Eccentrics; plus a few essays by Emerson such as “The American Scholar” or “Divinity School Address”

    • Megan Marshall, The Peabody Sisters

    • Pre-Socratic Philosophers


    • Sarah Bakewell, How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer

    • William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (Penguin edition preferred)

    • Jules Evan, Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations 

    • Carlin Romano, excerpts from America the Philosophical 

    • Oliver Sacks, The River of Consciousness

    • Thomas Pink, Free Will: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford)

    • Brian Magee, Confessions of a Philosopher

    • Ted Honderich, How Free Are You

    • Michael Puett, The Path—What Chinese Philosophy Can Teach Us About The Good Life

    • Kwame Anthony Appiah, The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity

    • Mary Jane Jacob, Dewey for Artists

    • Ralph Waldo Emerson miscellany such as The Heart of Emerson’s Journals (edited by Bliss Perry), and Emerson In His Journals (edited by Joel Porte)

    • Henry David Thoreau, Walden


    • Sarah Bakewell, At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails​

    • Joshua Greene, Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them

    • John Kaag, American Philosophy: A Love Story

    • Ralph Waldo Emerson​, Representative Men

    • The Bhagavad Gita

    • Lao-Tzu, Tao Te Ching​​

    • Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

    • R. J. Hollingdale, editor, A Nietzsche Reader


    • Ancius Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy

    • Matthew Stewart, Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic

    • Arthur Herman, The Cave and The Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization


    • Edward O. Wilson, The Meaning of Human Existence

    • Simon Glendinning, Derrida: A Very Short Introduction

    • Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction

    • Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


    • David Edmonds and John Eidinow, Wittgenstein’s Poker

    • Naomi Klein, No Logo

    • Jim Holt, Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story

    • William James,  Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking

    • Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Life

    • Morris Dickstein, ed. The Revival of Pragmatism (first section)

    • Jonathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom


    • Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz

    • Charles Sanders Peirce

    • Henri Bergson

    • Immanuel Kant

    • Lucretius