On the Philosophy Faculty website, we have some “suggestions for those intending to read philosophy and/or beginning a philosophy course“. But this is an elderly document which I first put together about ten years ago, and which hasn’t been revised since 2002. Well, I’ve been asked to update it. But since I no longer do any undergraduate teaching except formal/mathematical logic stuff of one kind or another, I really haven’t been keeping an eye on recent good introductory philosophy books — whether general books, or on particular areas of philosophy — of the right kind of level. So I’d really welcome any suggestions, pointers to other departments’ comparable lists, etc. etc. All comments very gratefully received.
3 thoughts on “Readings for New(ish) Philosophers”
Russell’s ‘Problems of Philosophy’ is brilliant as an introduction. I found that Julian Baggini’s book ‘The Pig that Wants to be Eaten’ to be quite an interesting overview of philosophical problems.
As for the others on the list, I’d definitely stress how brilliant Williams’ book ‘Morality’ is, and how accessible it is too. Dennet & Hofstadter’s book is great fun and not too technical.
I recommend Stephen Law “The Philosophy Gym”, which is quite popularised and teenagery but nonetheless tackles many of the important issues in philosophy and has short standalone chapters. I would particularly recommend it for anyone preparing for a Cambridge philosophy interview, as most of the important issues you are asked about are in there.
This may or may not be good:
“Riddles of Existence: A guided tour of Metaphysics”, by Theodor Sider and Earl Conee
This is a very simple introduction to some classic metaphysical problems.
Loux, Michael. 1998. Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction, is brilliant, and EXCEPTIONALLY clear.
Alex Miller’s Introduction to the Philosophy of Language is good, as is Jo Wolff’s Introduction to Political Philosophy and David Miller’s short introduction to Pol. philosophy.