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By: Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

Book cover My Confession

"My Confession" is a brief autobiographical story of Leo Tolstoy's struggle with a mid-life existential crisis of melancholia. It describes his search for answers to the profound questions "What will come of my life?" and "What is the meaning of life?", without answers to which life, for him, had become "impossible." Tolstoy reflects on the arc of his philosophical life until then: his childhood abandonment of his Russian orthodox faith; his mastery of strength, will, power, and reason; and how, after he had achieved tremendous financial success and social status, life to him seemed meaningless...

By: Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Book cover World as Will and Idea, Vol. 2 of 3

In this work, Schopenhauer explains his fundamental idea that at the root of the reality we see around us is a Will that eternally, insatiably seeks to be satisfied. Each human Subject observes the Objects around her from the perspective of that fundamental Will working within each person. The human observer is distracted by the details of life and individual distinctions that obscure this Will; only by penetrating this “principium individuationis” (which is enslaved by the cause-and-effect tyranny of the Principle of Sufficient Reason) can the observer perceive the essential Thing-In-Itself...

By: Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

Book cover Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy

Bertrand Russell wrote 'Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy' while imprisoned for protesting Britain's involvement in World War I. Russell summarizes the significance of the momentous work of mathematicians in the late nineteenth-century. He further describes his own philosophy of mathematics, Logicism (the view that all mathematical truths are logical truths), and his earlier, influential work solving the paradoxes that plagued mathematical foundations, which crystallized after ten years of dogged effort into the co-authored (with Alfred North Whitehead), three-volume 'Principia Mathematica'...

By: John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton (1834-1902)

Book cover Human Sacrifice

This was one of Lord Acton's essays, that was in response to the publication of the letters between Sir Robert Peel and Lord Macaulay. Lord Acton hoped to refute the common prejudice that the religious practice of sacrificing human victims was not always carried out by unfeeling and uncivilized people, but was in some cases the development of an advanced theology. At the insistence of Lord Stanhope, Acton published the essay in the Home And Foreign Review in 1863.

By: Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Book cover World as Will and Idea Volume 1

Schopenhauer used the word "will" as a human's most familiar designation for the concept that can also be signified by other words such as "desire," "striving," "wanting," "effort," and "urging." Schopenhauer's philosophy holds that all nature, including man, is the expression of an insatiable will to life. It is through the will that mankind finds all their suffering. Desire for more is what causes this suffering. He used the word representation (Vorstellung) to signify the mental idea or image of any object that is experienced as being external to the mind...

By: Omar Khayyám (1048-1131)

Book cover Quatrains of Omar Khayyam of Nishapur

In 1906, Eben Francis Thompson,scholar and poet, published a limited edition of his translation of the Quatrains of Omar Khayyam. This edition contains 878 quatrains, and represents the most extensive translation of Omar's rubai in any language.In the Introduction, Nathan Haskell Dole writes: Mr Thompson has put into English verse this whole body of Persian poetry. It is a marvel of close translation, accurate and satisfactory. He has succeeded in doing exactly what he set out to do - to add nothing and to take nothing away, but to put into the typical quatrain, as determined by Fitzgerald and others, exactly what Omar and his unknown imitators said.

By: Bhartṛhari (c. 400-500)

Book cover Vairagya Shatakam

Vairagya Shatakam is one of the best books that gives the true picture of Renunciation. The book talks on how a common man gets lured by the endless desires which when satisfied fetches him nothing but the desires again. It concludes saying how these unsatiable desires mislead the man from knowing his real nature-omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience!

By: Benedict de Spinoza (1632-1677)

Book cover Theologico-Political Treatise

Written by the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza, the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus or Theologico-Political Treatise was one of the most controversial texts of the early modern period. It was a preemptive defense of Spinoza's later work, Ethics, published posthumously in 1677, for which he anticipated harsh criticism. In the treatise, Spinoza put forth his most systematic critique of Judaism, and all organized religion in general. Spinoza argued that theology and philosophy must be kept separate, particularly in the reading of scripture...

By: Prentice Mulford (1834-1891)

Book cover Thoughts are Things (Version 2)

Prentice Mulford was also instrumental in the founding of the popular philosophy, New Thought, along with other notable writers including Ralph Waldo Emerson. Mulford's book, Thoughts are Things, served as a guide to this new belief system and is still popular today.

By: Various

Book cover American Philosophy Collection Vol. 1

This collection of articles in early 20th Century American philosophy focuses on the topics of realism, experience, and ideas, with particular attention to the pragmatic naturalism of John Dewey. In tracks 1-5, Dewey responds to critics of his famous article “The Postulate of Immediate Empiricism” (available in Short Nonfiction Collection Vol.034). Tracks 6-12 constitute a series of pointed debates between Dewey and E. B. McGilvary on the topics of time, ideas, and reality. Tracks 13-16 include stand-alone articles on related topics, including Dewey’s influential critique of “The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology...

By: May Sinclair (1863-1946)

Book cover Defence of Idealism

The philosophy of Idealism, revived in eighteenth-century Europe by George Berkeley, argued against philosophical materialism by maintaining that Reality is a creation of the Mind. Despite its flourishing under the leadership of Hegel, Fichte, Schopenhauer, and Schelling, Idealism had definitely fallen into decline late in the nineteenth century and early in the twentieth. May Sinclair, the writer of many popular but philosophically provocative novels and part-time World War I ambulance corps-person, was an unlikely one to take up the torch of the old school and try to revive it yet again for the twentieth century...

By: George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Book cover Quintessence of Ibsenism

George Bernard Shaw, a playwright with a few bones to pick of his own, undertakes a surgical analysis of the social philosophies underlying the work of Henrik Ibsen. Focusing his analysis on Ibsen's challenge to the conventional "ideals" which both Ibsen and Shaw consider the greatest evils in human society, Shaw summarizes and exposits sixteen of Ibsen's plays, seizing the opportunity to elucidate some of the principles dearest to himself. Some of the most striking passages reveal Shaw's radical feminist perspectives, some of which resonate as if a half-century ahead of their time...

By: Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

Book cover Philosophy of Logical Atomism

'The Philosophy of Logical Atomism' is a series of lectures by Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) that touches on numerous topics, including the nature of propositions, the relations of propositions to facts and of different types of words to the varieties of things, what kinds of facts there are, existence, monism and pluralism, and aspects of philosophical logic and of reference. Guiding the lectures, at least according to Russell's headnote to his lectures, is Russell's intent to fully flesh out ideas he learned from his former pupil, Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951).

Book cover Our Knowledge of the External World: As a Field for Scientific Method in Philosophy

Bertrand Russell gave the Lowell Lectures in March and April of 1914; these lectures produced 'Our Knowledge of the External World'. Russell attempts to analyze the relationship of the crude data of our senses to the notions of physics such as space, time, and matter. Russell takes his analysis to illustrate the method of logical analysis used to such wonderful effect by thinkers in the late nineteenth-century to the notions of continuity, infinity, and the infinitesimal. These analyses effected...


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