Ten Classic Philosophy Texts

A while ago, one of my Twitter friends (@SDMumford) tweeted about his ten classic philosophy texts to read before you die. His picks:

  1. Plato – Republic
  2. Descartes – Meditations
  3. Locke – Essay Concerning Human Understanding
  4. Hume – Treatise of Human Nature
  5. Kant – Critique (which one? I’d go for one of the ‘reasons’. Probably both).
  6. Spinoza – Ethics
  7. Aristotle – Metaphysics, Physics or Ethics?
  8. Berkeley – New Theory of Vision
  9. Mill – System of Logic
Hmm, that seems to be only nine. Unless you count Kant’s critiques as two, which would make sense.
 
This got me thinking about my top ten philosophy books – or the ones I think everyone should read. Honestly, it sort of depends which stage of philosophy you’re at, but assuming you haven’t read any at all, I’d go for:
  1. Russell – History of Western Philosophy
  2. Plato – Republic
  3. Descartes – Meditations
  4. Aristotle – Metaphysics
  5. Kant – both critiques
  6. Kierkegaard – Fear and Trembling
  7. Locke – Essay Concerning Human Understanding
  8. Hobbes – Leviathan
  9. Montaigne – Essays
  10. Sartre – Being and Nothingness
What would your recommendations be?
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Quotes – The Analysis of Mind

Bertrand Russell was one of my favourite authors when I first became interested in philosophy, and he’s still someone whose work I refer to often. Here are some quotes from The Analysis of Mind, an excellent introductory text to the philosophy of mind.

‘A consistent fairytale is a different thing from truth, however elaborate it may be.’

‘A recollection is aroused by something which is happening now, but is different from the effect which the present occurrence would have produced if the recollected event had not occurred.’

‘All our data, both in physics and psychology, are subject to psychological causal laws; but physical causal laws, at least in traditional physics, can only be stated in terms of matter, which is both inferred and constricted, never a datum. In this respect psychology is nearer to what actually exists.’

‘Moral considerations are the worst enemies of the scientific spirit and we must dismiss them from our minds if we wish to arrive at truth.’

‘The primitive non-cognitive element in desire seems to be a push, not a pull, an impulsion away from the actual, rather than an attraction towards the ideal.’