Recommended reading

TEXTBOOKS

GENERAL INTRODUCTIONS TO PHILOSOPHY

Short, accessible introductions

More in-depth introductions

Two reference works

Journals

    • Think (www.royalinstitutephilosophy.org/think/index.php)
    • The Philosopher’s Magazine (www.philosophersnet.com)
    • Philosophy Now (www.philosophynow.org)
    • Dialogue (www.dialogue.org.uk): for Philosophy of Religion and Ethics
    • Philosophy Compass (http://philosophy-compass.com): more in-depth survey articles

 PHILOSOPHICAL SKILLS AND CRITICAL THINKING

Philosophical skills

  • Baggini, J. & Fosl, P., The Philosopher’s Toolkit, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010: a very good compendium of clear explanations of concepts and arguments
  • Martinich, A., Philosophical Writing (3rd ed), Wiley-Blackwell, 2005: the Bible on approach and technique
  • Saunders, C. et al, Doing Philosophy: a Practical Guide for Students, Continuum, 2008: designed for undergraduates, but with lots of very helpful information on skills
  • Warburton, N. The Basics of Essay Writing, Routledge, 2007
  • Warburton, Nigel Thinking A to Z, Routledge 2000
  • Warburton, N. Philosophy: the Essential Study Guide, Routledge, 2004
  • Weston, Anthony A Rulebook for Arguments, Hackett 2000

Critical Thinking

This is a collection of recommendations for undergraduates, but many are suitable for A level students as well. The first three books are perhaps the most popular, and also have on-line back-up. The McKay is particular recommended.

  • Govier, Trudy 1992: Practical Study of Argument. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
  • Hurley, Patrick 2000: A Concise Introduction to Logic. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.
  • McKay, Thomas 2000: Reasons, Explanations, and Decisions: Guidelines for Critical Thinking. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

EPISTEMOLOGY

ETHICS

The anthology includes two introductions to ethics:

  • Rachels, J. The Elements of Moral Philosophy
  • Warnock, G. Contemporary Moral Philosophy

Other helpful texts include:

  • Blackburn, S. Being Good, OUP 2001: a lively, engaging, and quick introduction to the main issues of ethics, written in a very clear style.
  • Singer, P. (ed.) A Companion to Ethics, Blackwell 1991: a great resource. Each essay, written for the beginner, is an excellent survey of a single topic.
  • Benn, P. Ethics, UCL Press 1998: a careful and accurate introduction across the whole range of normative and metaethical issues.
  • Norman, R. The Moral Philosophers, Clarendon Press 1983: one of the best introductions to the normative and metaethical theories of ethics via the great philosophers who held them. It also includes a good discussion of moral realism.
  • Williams, B. Morality, CUP 1976: difficult, but excellent, discussions of subjectivism, relativism, the idea of ‘good’, and utilitarianism.
  • Smart, J. & Williams, B. Utilitarianism: For and Against, CUP 1973: one of the most informative discussions of utilitarianism – its structure, its motives, and its problems.
  • Baggini, J. Philosophy: Key Themes, Palgrave MacMillan 2002: written for the A level
  • Crisp. R. Mill on Utilitarianism, Routledge 1997: a thorough, but clear, treatment of Bentham and Mill’s utilitarianism
  • Blackburn, S. Ethics: a Very Short Introduction, OUP 2003
  • Jones, G. Exploring Ethics, John Murray 2000

Specifically on practical ethical issues:

  • Singer, P. Practical Ethics (2nd ed.), CUP 1993: defending a utilitarian standpoint but discussing a wide range of arguments in practical ethics.
  • Glover, J. Causing Death and Saving Lives, Penguin 1977: as with Singer, but more detailed
  • DeGrazia, D. Animal Rights: a Very Short Introduction, OUP 2002
  • Hope, T. Medical Ethics: a Very Short Introduction, OUP 2004

POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

MORAL PHILOSOPHY

PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION

General introductions

Collections

More focused topics or approach

PHILOSOPHY OF MIND

FREE WILL AND DETERMINISM

VALUE OF ART

METAPHYSICS

PLATO REPUBLIC

DESCARTES MEDITATIONS

HUME, D. AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING

MILL, J. S. ON LIBERTY

NIETZSCHE, F. BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL