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World Philosophy Day 2021: my top three Philosophy books (so far)

In the spirit of World Philosophy Day 2021 - “valuing shared knowledge for the development of human thought” according to UNESCO - here are my top three most valued philosophy books in my philosophical development so far.

Hanfling’s The Quest for Meaning is a phenomenal introduction and exploration of everything a common notion of philosophy involves. What matters, and why? What are the universal constants of a human life that we must contend with? What have we ought to think more deeply about in order to make meaning out of our existence? With some of his own ideas, laced with the greats (Epicurus, Schopenhauer, de Beauvoir, Sartre, Wittgenstein), Hanfling explores suffering, purpose, god, death, value, self-realisation, humanity and identity - all the nauseating but necessary stuff!

Goldstein’s Plato and the Googolplex: Why Philosophy won’t go away brings Plato to the 21st century on a book tour with The Republic, whilst intermittently taking us back to his Athens in socio-historical and biographical analysis. Goldstein manages to balance academic rigour with natural, comedic and contemporary renditions of socratic dialogues. If you have always wondered how a classic athenian philosopher might contend with the 21st century, this is the closest thing that situation has to being manifest! Plato debates news-anchors, gives relationship advice, debates parenting values, and questions neuroscience.

Midgley’s Science and Poetry is a rejection of scientific reductionism as a unified explanation of everything. Midgely explores how this limited notion of explanation muddies our language, confuses our thinking and misguides our politics. Midgley makes a lot of demands, but to name a few: she asks that we understand the nature of the questions we ask and limits of our explanation in response to them; realize that we cannot reduce all disciplines to the hard-sciences; and re-build our political notions of responsibility, freewill and identity accordingly. This is a more philosophically technical read, but her conceptual analysis is lucid and game-changing.


What book most interests you?

  • The Quest for Meaning

  • Plato at the Googolplex: Why Philosophy won't go away

  • Science and Poetry

What are your most valued Philosophy books towards your personal development of thought?


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