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Philosophy & Ethics


For a general, fictional introduction to Philosophy and Ethics, for any key stage;
•    ‘Sophie’s World’ – Jostein Gaarder
•    RS Review – Up to date philosophical and ethical articles published quarterly. These can be found in the library or by seeing Mrs Yeadon. (You have to subscribe) 

Some suggestions for those intending to read philosophy and/or beginning
a philosophy/ethics course (KS5 and keen KS4).
General introductions (in approximate order of difficulty)
•    Edward Craig Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford)
•    Thomas Nagel, What Does it All Mean? (OUP). Short, readable.
•    Simon Blackburn, Think (OUP). Readable and engaging.
•    Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy (OUP). A classic, nearly 100 years old but still readable.
•    A. J. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic (Penguin). Another classic, this one from the 30s - skip the long Introduction, and dive into Chapter One!

Others:

•    Douglas Hofstadter & Daniel Dennett (eds), The Mind's I (Penguin) Idiosyncratic but fun collection of pieces, many by philosophers, on the nature of the mind.
•    Paul Churchland, Matter and Consciousness (MIT Press)
•    Tim Crane, The Mechanical Mind (Penguin). The philosophy of mind has been a particularly hot topic in recent years: these last two are very good introductions.
•    A. F. Chalmers. What is This Thing Called Science? (Open Univ.). Excellent intro. to philosophy of science.
•    Peter Singer, Practical Ethics (CUP). Vigorous-this book will challenge a lot of your ethical ideas.
•    Jonathan Glover, Causing Death and Saving Lives (Penguin). Another book on practical moral issues like abortion, euthanasia, etc.
•    J. J. C. Smart & Bernard Williams, Utilitarianism, For and Against (CUP). Is morality about aiming to produce the greatest happiness of the greatest number?
•    Bernard Williams, Morality (Penguin). A very short introduction to some questions about the status of morality (e.g. can moral claims be objective? are they merely subjective?)
•    Simon Blackburn, Being Good (Oxford). A longer but perhaps rather more accessible introduction.
•    Bernard Williams, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy (Fontana). Not easy but important.
•    Jonathan Wolff, An Introduction to Political Philosophy (OUP). Accessible, based around various issues
•    Will Kymlicka, Contemporary Political Philosophy (OUP). A bit more advanced, and structured round different schools of political thought. •    Michael J. Loux, Metaphysics (Routledge). A good recent introduction.
•    R. M. Sainsbury, Paradoxes (CUP). A nice introduction to paradoxes like "This sentence is false" which apparently is true if it is false and false if it is true. •    Ian Hacking: Why Does Language Matter to Philosophy? (CUP).
•    Samuel Guttenplan, The Languages of Logic (Blackwell). A smattering of formal logic is part of every philosopher's tool kit. This is similar in level and content to the first term Formal Logic course.
•    Bertrand Russell, Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (Routledge). Should appeal to mathematicians-old but still worth reading.
•    Great Dead Philosophers (some of the more accessible texts)
•    Plato, Meno and Euthyphro
•    Berkeley, Three Dialogues
•    J. S. Mill, Utilitarianism.
•    Brian Davies ‘An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion’ (OUP)
•    JS Mill ‘On Liberty’ (Pelican)
•    Plato ‘The Last Days of Socrates’ (Pelican)
•    PM Churchland ‘Matter and Consciousness’ (MIT Press)
•    Bernard Williams ‘Morality’ (Penguin)
•    Colin Lyas ‘Aesthetics’ (UCL Press)
•    Peter Singer ‘Practical Ethics’ (CUP)
•    Brian Magee ‘The Great Philosophers’ (BBC Books)
•    Richard Taylor ‘Metaphysics’ (Prentice Hall)
•    N Warburton Philosophy: the basics (Routledge)
•    Peter Vardy and Julie Arliss, ‘The Thinker’s Guide to God’ (Alresford, UK: John Hunt Publishing, 2003)
•    Anthony Kenny, ‘The Oxford Illustrated History of Western Philosophy’, Oxford Illustrated Histories (Oxford: OUP, 2001)
•    Robert C Solomon and Kathleen M Higgins, ‘A Short History of Philosophy’ (Oxford: OUP, 1996)
•    Cottingham, John, editor, Rene Descartes: ‘Meditations on First Philosophy: With Selections from the Objections and Replies’ (Cambridge: CUP, 1986)
•    David Hume and T.L. Beauchamp, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Oxford Philosophical Texts (Oxford: OUP, 1999)