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By: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Essays, First Series by Ralph Waldo Emerson Essays, First Series

“I do not wish to treat friendships daintily but with roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass beads or frost-work but the solidest thing we know....” is how Ralph Waldo Emerson saw the ties of friendship in one of his essays titled Friendship, more than a hundred years ago. This and other interesting essays are included in Essays First Series by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the distinguished American philosopher and writer. Apart from writing, he was also a very gifted and popular public speaker who toured the length and breadth of the country sharing his ideas with the larger public...

Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson Nature

“Nature” is a short essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson published anonymously in 1836. It is in this essay that the foundation of transcendentalism is put forth, a belief system that espouses a non-traditional appreciation of nature. Recent advances in zoology, botany, and geology confirmed Emerson’s intuitions about the intricate relationships of nature at large. The publication of “Nature” is usually taken to be the watershed moment at which transcendentalism became a major cultural movement...

Representative Men by Ralph Waldo Emerson Representative Men

A series of biographical lectures originally published in 1850. Each chapter is a philosophical treatment of the life of an intellectual. The six representatives are Plato, Swedenborg, Shakespeare, Montaigne, Napolean and Goethe. (Introduction by S. Kovalchik)

By: Sigmund Freud

Reflections on War and Death by Sigmund Freud Reflections on War and Death

Anyone, as Freud tells us in Reflections on War and Death, forced to react against his own impulses may be described as a hypocrite, whether he is conscious of it or not. One might even venture to assert—it is still Freud’s argument—that our contemporary civilisation favours this sort of hypocrisy and that there are more civilised hypocrites than truly cultured persons, and it is even a question whether a certain amount of hypocrisy is not indispensable to maintain civilisation. When this...

Totem and Taboo by Sigmund Freud Totem and Taboo

Totem and Taboo: Resemblances Between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics is a book by Sigmund Freud, published in German in 1913. It is a collection of four essays first published in the journal Imago (1912–13), employing the application of psychoanalysis to the fields of archaeology, anthropology, and the study of religion. The four essays are entitled: The Horror of Incest; Taboo and Emotional Ambivalence; Animism, Magic and the Omnipotence of Thoughts; and The Return of Totemism in Childhood.

By: Ayn Rand (1905-1982)

Anthem by Ayn Rand Anthem

The title 'Anthem' is derived as an anthem to sense of self and self-governing thoughts. Anthem is a story of Equality 7-2521 who is a young man living in some unspecified future time and place. In this future era freedom and individual rights have been eradicated. The starring character of the novel is an inquisitive street cleaner. He lives in a society where people have lost their knowledge of individualism, to the extreme that people do not know words like 'I' or 'mine'. All the people live and work for their livelihood in collective groups, along with the people with power, namely the 'Councils'...

By: John Galsworthy (1867-1933)

Book cover Studies and Essays: Censorship and Art

By: Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-420)

The City of God by Saint Augustine of Hippo The City of God

Rome having been stormed and sacked by the Goths under Alaric their king, the worshipers of false gods, or pagans, as we commonly call them, made an attempt to attribute this calamity to the Christian religion, and began to blaspheme the true God with even more than their wonted bitterness and acerbity. It was this which kindled my zeal for the house of God, and prompted me to undertake the defense of the city of God against the charges and misrepresentations of its assailants. This work was in my hands for several years, owing to the interruptions occasioned by many other affairs which had a prior claim on my attention, and which I could not defer...

Confessions by Saint Augustine of Hippo Confessions

Confessions (Latin: Confessiones) is the name of an autobiographical work, consisting of 13 books, by St. Augustine of Hippo, written between AD 397 and AD 398. Modern English translations of it are sometimes published under the title The Confessions of St. Augustine in order to distinguish the book from other books with similar titles, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions.

By: Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908)

Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris Uncle Remus

Bearing a striking resemblance to Aesop of Aesop's Fables fame, American author Joel Chandler Harris' Uncle Remus is also a former slave who loves to tell simple and pithy stories. Uncle Remus or to give it its original title, Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings was published in late 1880 and received instant acclaim. The book was reviewed in hundreds of journals and newspapers across the country, leading to its immense success, both critical and financial. “Remus” was originally a fictional character in a newspaper column...

By: Thomas Paine

The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine The Age of Reason

A Universalist book, The Age of Reason advocates for the existence of natural religion and challenges the structure of all organized religion. First written and distributed as pamphlets, the book was later published into two parts. Paine puts forward his personal beliefs, debating reason and revelation, while analyzing the Bible and the influence organized religion has on society. Exploring topics including natural religion, criticism of corrupt religious institutions, and distinction between rationality and blind faith in the supernatural, the book presents a guide for the conscious and free spiritual thinkers...

By: John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill On Liberty

Published in 1859, On Liberty is a libertarian philosophical work by English philosopher John Stuart Mill that endorses his view on the importance of individuality for the constant progression and improvement of society. The work also supports economic and moral freedom, and openly criticizes the influence of social authority that in one way or another imposes a predefined set of acceptable attitudes and opinions. Highlighting issues including the incongruity between authority and liberty, the oppressive...

Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy by John Stuart Mill Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy

This is Mill’s first work on economics. It foreshadows his Political Economy which was the standard Anglo-American Economics textbook of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Mill’s economic theory moved from free market capitalism, to government intervention within the precepts of Utilitarianism, and finally to Socialism.

Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill Utilitarianism

John Stuart Mill’s book Utilitarianism is one of the most influential and widely-read philosophical defenses of utilitarianism in ethics. The essay first appeared as a series of three articles published in Fraser’s Magazine in 1861; the articles were collected and reprinted as a single book in 1863. It went through four editions during Mill’s lifetime with minor additions and revisions. Although Mill includes discussions of utilitarian ethical principles in other works such as On Liberty and The Subjection of Women, Utilitarianism contains Mill’s only major discussion of the fundamental grounds for utilitarian ethical theory.

The Subjection of Women by John Stuart Mill The Subjection of Women

The Subjection of Women is the title of an essay written by John Stuart Mill in 1869, possibly jointly with his wife Harriet Taylor Mill, stating an argument in favor of equality between the sexes. It offers both detailed argumentation and passionate eloquence in opposition to the social and legal inequalities commonly imposed upon women by a patriarchal culture. Just as in “On Liberty,” Mill defends the emancipation of women on utilitarian grounds, convinced that the moral and intellectual advancement of women would result in greater happiness for everybody.

Book cover Considerations on Representative Government

Mill's volume was published in 1861 as an argument favoring this form of governance. Mill covers what forms of government work best, including when representative government is applicable and when not. He details appropriate functions of representative bodies and warns of problems to avoid. He distinguishes between true and false democracy. Other areas covered include how voting is carried out, the role of a second chamber in Parliament, and how an executive branch might function.

Book cover Auguste Comte and Positivism

Part 1 lays out the framework for Positivism as originated in France by Auguste Comte in his Cours de Philosophie Positive. Mill examines the tenets of Comte's movement and alerts us to defects. Part 2 concerns all Comte's writings except the Cours de Philosophie Positive. During Comte's later years he gave up reading newspapers and periodicals to keep his mind pure for higher study. He also became enamored of a certain woman who changed his view of life. Comte turned his philosophy into a religion, with morality the supreme guide. Mill finds that Comte learned to despise science and the intellect, instead substituting his frantic need for the regulation of change.

By: Adam Smith (1723-1790)

The Theory of Moral Sentiments (First Edition) by Adam Smith The Theory of Moral Sentiments (First Edition)

“How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortunes of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it.” (from The Theory of Moral Sentiments) Adam Smith considered his first major book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, his most important work. Indeed, the tome was a wild success upon its publication, selling out immediately. It has not lost popularity since...

By: Patrick Henry (1736-1799)

The Anti-Federalist Papers by Patrick Henry The Anti-Federalist Papers

During the period of debate over the ratification of the Constitution, numerous independent local speeches and articles were published all across the country. Initially, many of the articles in opposition were written under pseudonyms, such as “Brutus”, “Centinel”, and “Federal Farmer”. Eventually, famous revolutionary figures such as Patrick Henry came out publicly against the Constitution. They argued that the strong national government proposed by the Federalists was a threat to the rights of individuals and that the President would become a king...

By: Robert W. Service (1874-1958)

Selections from Ballads of a Cheechako by Robert W. Service Selections from Ballads of a Cheechako

These twelve poems are from Ballads of a Cheechako which was Robert W. Service’s third book of Yukon poems, published in 1909. The word Cheechako, from Chinook Jargon, originated in the United States (Alaska) and Canada (Yukon) and was imported into local English during the Yukon gold rush that began in 1896. Cheechako, is a non derogatory word meaning “newcomer” or “tenderfoot.” The derivation looks something like this: chee new cha come ko home.

By: Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

Summa Theologica, Pars Prima by Saint Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica, Pars Prima

More than nine hundred years after it was first written, this unfinished work of a scholar saint still has the power to move our minds and hearts and set us thinking on the really important questions of life. Summa Theologica or simply the Summa as it is known, was written some time between 1265-74. It is a work that has had a profound and enduring influence on Western thought and literature. Designed to provide answers to Catholic theologians about the teachings of the Church, Thomas Aquinas' book instead goes far beyond its stated purpose...

By: Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America

Arguably, one of the most influential and insightful pieces of work concerned with American political life, Democracy in America directs itself towards American politics and society, and is considered to be one the best books written on the subject. Published in 2 volumes, in 1835 and 1840, Tocqueville records his findings after studying the thriving nation in his nine month exploratory journey. The young French aristocrat first came to America on an official assignment to study the American penal system, but instead used this as a pretext to study American society...

By: Marcus Aurelius (121-180)

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Meditations

Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emperor and philosopher who wrote Meditations; insights which were considered to give the meaning of life. The book was not written with the intent to be published. It offers a noteworthy chain of challenging situations which are a reflection on spirituality and enumerate the struggle to understand oneself and one's role in the universe. Written in the style of a journal, Meditations emphasizes that life in this world is short. Aurelius was a stoic philosopher who had influenced the thoughts of many leaders in his time...

By: Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

The Problems of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell The Problems of Philosophy

Published in 1912, The Problems of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell is one of his most popular books. It renders philosophical issues and questions in a way in which they become relevant and accessible to the man or woman on the street, provoking them to devote time and effort into thinking about these aspects of life. Here, the great philosopher and humanist thinker Bertrand Russell examines the importance of empirical (that which can be verified by observation or experience rather than deduced from logic or reasoning) thinkers like David Hume and George Berkeley the Anglo-Irish philosopher and scientist...

Book cover Proposed Roads to Freedom

Bertrand Russell, 3rd Earl Russell (1872 – 1970) was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, political activist and Nobel laureate. He led the British “revolt against idealism” in the early 1900s and is considered one of the founders of analytic philosophy along with his predecessor Gottlob Frege and his protégé Ludwig Wittgenstein. In this book, written in 1918, he offers his assessment of three competing streams in the thought of the political left: Marxian socialism, anarchism and syndicalism.

Book cover Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays

By: Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Studies in Pessimism by Arthur Schopenhauer Studies in Pessimism

Arthur Schopenhauer, an early 19th century philosopher, made significant contributions to metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics. His work also informed theories of evolution and psychology, largely through his theory of the will to power – a concept which Nietzsche famously adopted and developed. Despite this, he is today, as he was during his life, overshadowed by his contemporary, Hegel. Schopenhauer’s social/psychological views, put forth in this work and in others, are directly derived from his metaphysics, which was strongly influenced by Eastern thought...

The Art of Controversy (or The Art of Being Right) by Arthur Schopenhauer The Art of Controversy (or The Art of Being Right)

The Art of Controversy (or The Art of Being Right) (Die Kunst, Recht zu Behalten) is a short treatise written in 1831 by the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer in which he presents thirty-eight methods of gaining an unfair advantage in a debate and thereby being right even if you are wrong. Schopenhauer champions the virtue of dialectical argument, in his view wrongly neglected by philosophers in favour of logic, and goes on to discuss the distinction between our conscious intellectual powers and our will. The text is a favourite of debaters including the philosophers AC Grayling and Mary Warnock, and the Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Book cover The Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer: the Wisdom of Life
Book cover The Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer; On Human Nature
Book cover The Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer; Religion, a Dialogue, Etc.
Book cover Essays of Schopenhauer

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