Classics of Philosophy Reading Plan

What follows are 72 classic works of Western philosophy spanning over 2,400 years of thought. This list was compiled based on a combination of extensive reading and research, the recommendations of professional philosophers, and my own personal interests. The texts were selected based on their originality, influence, and ability to provide relevant insights and life lessons today.  

This is the complete list of books I will be working through in this blog on my journey through the history of the subject. 

The links below will take you to the corresponding articles covering the main lessons from each text. Updates will be made monthly.

Ancient Philosophy

#YearAuthorBook
1399-390 BCEPlatoApology
2399-390 BCEPlatoRepublic
3399-390 BCEPlatoEuthyphro
4350 BCEAristotleNicomachean Ethics
5350 BCEAristotlePolitics
6341-270 BCEEpicurusFragments
745 CELucius Annaeus SenecaOn Anger
849 CELucius Annaeus SenecaOn the Shortness of Life
9108 CEEpictetusDiscourses
10125 CEEpictetusEnchiridion (Handbook)
11161 CEMarcus AureliusMeditations
122nd Century CESextus EmpiricusOutlines of Pyrrhonism

Medieval Philosophy

Although this reading list does not contain any readings from Medieval philosophy, you can check out the following series of posts:

  1. Medieval Arguments for the Existence of God Part 1: Introduction
  2. Medieval Arguments for the Existence of God Part 2: Ontological Arguments
  3. Medieval Arguments for the Existence of God Part 3: Cosmological Arguments
  4. Medieval Arguments for the Existence of God Part 4: Teleological Arguments

Also check out the article A.C. Grayling on Taking an Axe to the Root of Religious Belief.

Early Modern Philosophy

#YearAuthorBook
131620Francis BaconNovum Organum
141632Galileo GalileiDialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems
151637Rene DescartesDiscourse on Method
161641Rene DescartesMeditations of First Philosophy
171651Thomas HobbesLeviathan
181677Baruch SpinozaEthics
191677Baruch SpinozaTractatus Theologico-Politicus
201689John LockeTwo Treatise of Government
211689John LockeAn Essay Concerning Human Understanding
221710George BerkeleyA Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge
231748MontesquieuThe Spirit of the Laws
241748David HumeAn Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding,
251751David HumeAn Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals
261776David HumeDialogue Concerning Natural Religion
271750-1762Jean-Jacques RousseauPolitical Writings
281751Jean le Rond d’AlembertPreliminary Discourse to the Encyclopedia of Diderot
291759Adam SmithA Theory of Moral Sentiments
301781Immanuel KantCritique of Pure Reason
311785Immanuel KantGroundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals
321789Jeremy BenthamAn Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
331790Edmund BurkeReflections on the Revolution in France
341776Thomas PaineCommon Sense
351791Thomas PaineRights of Man
361794Thomas PaineThe Age of Reason
371792Mary WollstonecraftA Vindication of the Rights of Woman
381794Marquis de CondorcetSketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind

Nineteenth Century Philosophy

#YearAuthorBook
391837Ralph Waldo EmersonAmerican Scholar
401843Søren KierkegaardEither/Or
411843Søren KierkegaardFear and Trembling
421848Karl MarxThe Communist Manifesto
431859Arthur SchopenhauerThe World as Will and Representation
441874Henry SidgwickThe Methods of Ethics
451886Friedrich NietzscheBeyond Good and Evil
461887Friedrich NietzscheOn the Genealogy of Morals

Contemporary Philosophy

#YearAuthorBook
471912Bertrand RussellThe Problems of Philosophy
481930Bertrand RussellThe Conquest of Happiness
491957Bertrand RussellWhy I Am Not A Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects
501961Bertrand RussellThe Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell
511936John Maynard KeynesThe General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
521943Jean-Paul SartreBeing and Nothingness
531944Friedrich HayekThe Road to Serfdom
541949Simone de BeauvoirThe Second Sex
551951W.V.O. QuineTwo Dogmas of Empiricism
561960W.V.O. QuineWord and Object
571951Hannah ArendtThe Origins of Totalitarianism
581953Ludwig WittgensteinPhilosophical Investigations
591962Thomas KuhnThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions
601945Karl PopperThe Open Society and Its Enemies
611963Karl PopperConjectures and Refutations
621966Peter StrawsonThe Bounds of Sense
631969Isaiah BerlinThe Crooked Timber of Humanity
641971John RawlsA Theory of Justice
651974Robert NozickAnarchy, State, and Utopia
661974Thomas NagelWhat Is It Like to Be a Bat?
672012Thomas NagelMind and Cosmos
681979Richard RortyPhilosophy and the Mirror of Nature
691981Alasdair MacIntyreAfter Virtue
701994David MillerCritical Rationalism: A Restatement and Defence
711998T.M. ScanlonWhat We Owe Each Other
722001Phillipa FootNatural Goodness