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By: Plato (427BC - 347BC)

Euthyphro by Plato Euthyphro

Awaiting his trial on charges of impiety and heresy, Socrates encounters Euthyphro, a self-proclaimed authority on matters of piety and the will of the gods. Socrates, desiring instruction in these matters, converses with Euthyphro, but as usual, the man who professes to know nothing fares better than the man who claims to be an expert. One of Plato’s well-known Socratic Dialogues, Euthyphro probes the nature of piety, and notably poses the so-called Euthyphro Dilemma: Do the gods love a thing because it is holy, or is a thing holy because it is loved by the gods?

The Symposium by Plato The Symposium

The Symposium (Ancient Greek: Συμπόσιον) is a philosophical book written by Plato sometime after 385 BCE. On one level the book deals with the genealogy, nature and purpose of love, on another level the book deals with the topic of knowledge, specifically how does one know what one knows. The topic of love is taken up in the form of a group of speeches, given by a group of men at a symposium or a wine drinking party at the house of the tragedian Agathon at Athens. Plato constructed the Symposium as a story within a story within a story...

Ion by Plato Ion

In Plato’s Ion, Socrates questions Ion on whether he should really claim laud and glory for his ‘rhapsodic’ recitals of Homer’s poetry.

Timaeus by Plato Timaeus

“Our intention is, that Timaeus, who is the most of an astronomer amongst us, and has made the nature of the universe his special study, should speak first, beginning with the generation of the world and going down to the creation of man…” ‘Timaeus’ is usually regarded as one of Plato’s later dialogues, and provides an account of the creation of the universe, with physical, metaphysical and ethical dimensions, which had great influence over philosophers for centuries following. It attributes the order and beauty of the universe to a benevolent demiurge – a ‘craftsman’ or god – fashioning the physical world after the pattern of an ideal, eternal one...

Phaedo by Plato Phaedo

Plato's Phaedo is one of the great dialogues of his middle period, along with the Republic and the Symposium. The Phaedo, which depicts the death of Socrates, is also Plato's seventh and last dialogue to detail the philosopher's final days (the first six being Theaetetus, Euthyphro, Sophist, Statesman, Apology, and Crito).In the dialogue, Socrates discusses the nature of the afterlife on his last day before being executed by drinking hemlock. Socrates has been imprisoned and sentenced to death by an Athenian jury for not believing in the gods of the state and for corrupting the youth of the city...

Phaedrus by Plato Phaedrus

“For there is no light of justice or temperance, or any of the higher ideas which are precious to souls, in the earthly copies of them: they are seen through a glass, dimly…”Socrates and his earnest friend Phaedrus, enjoying the Athenian equivalent of a lunchtime stroll in the park, exchange views on love and on the power of words, spoken and written.Phaedrus is the most enchanting of Plato’s Erotic dialogues (capitalised in honour of the god). The barefoot philosopher urges an eager young...

By: Confucius (551-479 BC)

The Sayings of Confucius by Confucius The Sayings of Confucius

A treasure trove of wise and pithy sayings, reflections on education, family values, the ideal human being, life and living, politics, art, culture and timeless wisdom, The Sayings of Confucius is indeed an invaluable addition to your bookshelf. Ever since Chinese literary works first began to be translated into European languages, the works of the legendary Chinese philosopher and teacher Confucius, who lived in present day Qufu in the Shandong province of China, more than two thousand years ago, have held universal appeal...

By: René Descartes (1596-1650)

Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences by René Descartes Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences

The Discourse on Method is best known as the source of the famous quotation “cogito ergo sum”, “I think, therefore I am.” …. It is a method which gives a solid platform from which all modern natural sciences could evolve. With this work, the idea of skepticism was revived from the ancients such as Sextus Empiricus and modified to account for a truth that Descartes found to be incontrovertible. Descartes started his line of reasoning by doubting everything, so as to assess the world from a fresh perspective, clear of any preconceived notions.

Book cover The Selections from the Principles of Philosophy
Book cover A Discourse of a Method for the Well Guiding of Reason and the Discovery of Truth in the Sciences

By: Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant The Critique of Pure Reason

The Critique of Pure Reason, first published in 1781 with a second edition in 1787, has been called the most influential and important philosophical text of the modern age. Kant saw the Critique of Pure Reason as an attempt to bridge the gap between rationalism (there are significant ways in which our concepts and knowledge are gained independently of sense experience) and empiricism (sense experience is the ultimate source of all our concepts and knowledge) and, in particular, to counter the radical empiricism of David Hume (our beliefs are purely the result of accumulated habits, developed in response to accumulated sense experiences)...

The Critique of Practical Reason by Immanuel Kant The Critique of Practical Reason

The Critique of Practical Reason (Kritik der praktischen Vernunft) is the second of Immanuel Kant’s three critiques, first published in 1788. It follows on from his Critique of Pure Reason and deals with his moral philosophy. The second Critique exercised a decisive influence over the subsequent development of the field of ethics and moral philosophy, becoming the principle reference point for ethical systems that focus on the rightness or wrongness of actions themselves, as opposed to the rightness or wrongness of the consequences of those actions...

Book cover The Metaphysical Elements of Ethics

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...

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: 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: 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: 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.


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