Philosophy may seem like a dense subject to get into because it deals with the abstract and intangible. But it is also a rewarding study, because it is essentially a quest into the origins and culminations of life. Here’s our list of 5 best philosophy books for beginners that make it easy to understand. This could be because they offer an overview of a deep and broad school of philosophy. Or perhaps they present concepts in a way that is easy to understand. Although the range of philosophies in the world is vast, I’ve chosen books from western and western locations.
5 Best Philosophy Books For Beginners That Make It Easy to Understand:
A Critical History of Greek Philosophy by W T Stace
This book provides a meticulous history of the Greek philosophy. The Greek civilization is known for its tremendously profound philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Socrates and more. They have their own works of philosophy, such as Plato’s ‘Symposium’ and ‘Republic’ and Aristotle’s ‘Politics’ and ‘Poetics’. However, apart from this, there are many introductory books as well. This book journeys through Greek philosophy right from its origins to its ends. From the Ionics and Pythagoreans in the beginning to Eleatics, Stoics, Atomists and Sophists later on, this book introduces us to various schools of philosophy. OF course, it also tells us about the great philosophers of the time. These Empedocles, Heraclitus, Plato, Socrates and Aristotle.
At The Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell
Existentialism is the school of philosophy, which a great many philosophers have subscribed to, which sets forth a quest into the meaning of life. In this book, Bakewell takes us through the origins of existentialism in the 19th century and its tumultuous journey through the years. In 1933, three men – Simon de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre and Raymond Aron meet at a café and create ideas that revolutionize existentialism. Also, she talks about changes in the field due to the entry of Albert Camus, Iris Murdoch and Hannah Arendt. In totality, the book delves into the interwoven legacies of great existentialist philosophers and the shaping of a truly significant field of philosophy.
Everyday Ubuntu by Mungi Ngomane
This is a South African philosophy which connects people through the belief that society endows humans with humanity. Thus it rejects the notion of a transcendent being or all powerful deity and focuses instead of community and social life. It thus emphasizes compassion and love for all human beings, because you technically owe your existence to them. In this book, Ngome provides fourteen easy ways to manifest this philosophy in your life. A relatively contemporary work of philosophy that draws on ancient folklore to give a practical philosophical guide, this is great to ease into.
Zen: The Path of the Paradox by Osho
Osho is perhaps the most controversial but also the most beloved spiritual masters of our times, and his life and works are packed with philosophy. In this book specifically, he introduces us to the Buddhist and East Asian philosophy of Zen. He also unifies eastern and western philosophical disciplines into a ‘science of philosophy’ that transcends cultural and geographic boundaries. In the book, he talks about the art of unlearning everything and surrendering to the present moment. In his simple, to-the-point style, which complements the Zen philosophy of minimalism itself, this book presents a novel understanding of an ancient philosophy. Osho calls Zen a pure reflection of life, and the sheer beauty of this concept permeates the whole book.
An Introduction to Indian Philosophy by Satischandra Chatterjee and Dhirendramohan Datta
Indian philosophy is incredibly rich and vast, drawing on thousands of years of ancient wisdom. From the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas and the Geeta, concentrated philosophy which forms the basis of Hinduism comes to us. Of course there are great regional variations as well, ranging from the Gita Govinda of Jayadeva to the Abhangas of poet sages in the west. Islamic spiritual literature also becomes a part of this due to the advent of Mughals in India. In his book, Chatterjee and Datta provide an overview of the six orthodox schools of thinking in Indian philosophy. These are Nyaya, Vaisesika, Sankhya, Yoga, Mimasa and Vedaanta. They also venture into heterodox schools such as Jain, Buddhist and Carvaka.
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