The best 16 Theoretical Philosophy books

Philosophy for Life

Philosophy for Life

Jules Evans
And Other Dangerous Situations
4.6 (342 ratings)

What's Philosophy for Life about?

These blinks will teach you the ancient wisdom that inspired the modern science of well-being. Your teachers are the greatest ancient philosophers, and each lesson reveals questions and techniques that can help you on your path to leading a good life. Philosophy for Life has been published in 19 countries and was selected as a Times book of the year 2013.

Who should read Philosophy for Life?

  • Anyone interested in self-development and living a good life
  • Anyone interested in learning from great thinkers like Aristotle and Plutarch
  • Anyone interested in refreshing their knowledge of philosophy
  • Anyone interested in cognitive behavioral therapy

Critique of Pure Reason

Critique of Pure Reason

Immanuel Kant
A groundbreaking and influential philosophy classic about the limits of human reason
4.6 (472 ratings)

What's Critique of Pure Reason about?

The Critique of Pure Reason (1781) is one of the most groundbreaking, revolutionary, and influential books in the history of Western philosophy. Pointing out the limits of human reason, it argues that we can have knowledge about the world as we experience it, but we can never know anything about the ultimate nature of reality.

Who should read Critique of Pure Reason?

  • Skeptics 
  • Students of philosophy 
  • Adherents of both science and religion

The Beginning of Infinity

The Beginning of Infinity

David Deutsch
Explanations That Transform the World
4.2 (145 ratings)

What's The Beginning of Infinity about?

Everyday, we benefit from huge advances in both scientific theory and practice. What triggered this progress? In The Beginning of Infinity (2011) – a journey through the fundamental fields of science and philosophy – physicist David Deutsch argues that all progress results from one single human activity: the quest for explanations. Human creativity opens up limitless opportunities for progress, making knowledge the “beginning of infinity.”

Who should read The Beginning of Infinity?

  • Fans of science and philosophy
  • Anyone fascinated by the power of knowledge and creativity
  • Readers interested in the future of our species

A Brief History of Thought

A Brief History of Thought

Luc Ferry
A Philosophical Guide to Living
4.4 (259 ratings)

What's A Brief History of Thought about?

A Brief History of Thought (1996) chronicles the big moments in the history of Western philosophy in a lucid and accessible way – from the Stoicism of classical Greece right through to twentieth-century postmodernism. Not simply a description of abstract ideals, it shows how we can apply the wisdom of the world’s best thinkers to live happier and more meaningful lives.

Who should read A Brief History of Thought?

  • Those who find philosophy cryptic and confusing
  • History students not up to speed with the development of Western thought
  • Introspective humans searching for a meaning to life

Making Sense

Making Sense

Sam Harris
Conversations on Consciousness, Morality, and the Future of Humanity
4.3 (245 ratings)

What's Making Sense about?

Making Sense (2020) consists of conversations about some of life’s biggest questions: the nature of consciousness, the progression of tyranny, the history of racism, the mysteries of the universe, and the challenges posed by artificial intelligence. Though the topics it covers are wide-ranging, its ultimate goal is to explore the ways in which we can understand our minds and harness their power to build the best possible world for everyone.

Who should read Making Sense?

  • Open-minded thinkers, ponderers, and questioners
  • Fans of psychology, neuroscience, history, and technology
  • Gazers into the past and future

The Ethics of Ambiguity

The Ethics of Ambiguity

Simone de Beauvoir
A foundational text of existentialist philosophy
4.5 (233 ratings)

What's The Ethics of Ambiguity about?

The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947) is one of the foundational texts of existentialist philosophy. It's both a succinct summary of existentialist thought and a thorough interrogation of its ethical ramifications in the real world. By reflecting on what it means to be human, this book is a call to recognize and act upon one fundamental truth of our existence: that we are free.

Who should read The Ethics of Ambiguity?

  • Philosophically minded people who want to understand their existence.
  • Activists who seek to make the world a better place.
  • Anyone who exists and wants to know what to do about it.

Meditations on First Philosophy

Meditations on First Philosophy

René Descartes
Descartes Most Famous Philosophical Classic
4.2 (169 ratings)

What's Meditations on First Philosophy about?

Meditations on First Philosophy (1641) is one of Descartes’s most influential works, known as the source of the classic quote: “I think, therefore I am” or “cogito ergo sum.” These blinks capture Descartes’ thoughts on how we know what we know, and his attempts to prove God’s existence along the way.

Who should read Meditations on First Philosophy?

  • Students of philosophy
  • People interested in philosophy and the foundations of Western thinking
  • Religious people who are interested in another view of the existence of God



Richard E. Nisbett
Tools for Smart Thinking
3.9 (102 ratings)

What's Mindware about?

Mindware (2015) is a guide to reason. These blinks explain why we make irrational assumptions while presenting the cognitive tools that statisticians, logicians and philosophers use to approach everyday problems with objectivity.

Who should read Mindware?

  • Anyone interested in psychology, statistics or economics
  • Anyone who wants to make better professional, business and personal decisions
  • Teachers and coaches who want to teach the art of logical decision making



Annaka Harris
A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind
4.3 (190 ratings)

What's Conscious about?

Conscious (2019) offers a contemplative and probing look at one of life's central mysteries: consciousness. Author Annaka Harris explores two fundamental questions: How do we define consciousness? And how widespread is its existence in the universe?

Who should read Conscious?

  • Curious people interested in life’s mysteries
  • Students of philosophy and biology
  • Anyone curious about the human brain

Doing Philosophy

Doing Philosophy

Timothy Williamson
From Common Curiosity To Logical Reasoning
4.2 (94 ratings)

What's Doing Philosophy about?

Doing Philosophy (2018) dispels some of the stereotypes that continue to hound philosophers. In particular, it takes aim at the pervasive idea that philosophy has become irrelevant in light of the success of the natural sciences, and makes a compelling case for why philosophy is still important and influential today.

Who should read Doing Philosophy?

  • Scientifically-minded people convinced that science can solve all problems
  • Skeptics unconvinced by philosophy’s pretense that it is a science
  • Anyone curious to know what exactly philosophers do all day long



Margaret MacMillan
How Conflict Shaped Us
4.1 (198 ratings)

What's War about?

War (2020) is a philosophical inquiry into the nature of human conflict. It considers war from different angles, examining what causes it, how we think about it, and how it affects us. By making an effort to understand war, we become better prepared to avoid it.

Who should read War?

  • Students of international and military history 
  • People interested in cultural and philosophical differences
  • Anyone fascinated or affected by human conflict

The Art of Logic

The Art of Logic

Eugenia Cheng
How to Make Sense in a World that Doesn’t
4.1 (182 ratings)

What's The Art of Logic about?

The Art of Logic (2018) tackles an increasingly important question: How do we navigate through a post-truth world, where fake news and social media are shaping reality? Mathematician Eugenia Cheng demonstrates how we can use logic to challenge our assumptions and seek truth. And surprisingly, she shows us that when we combine logic with emotion, we’re better able to navigate through our illogical world.

Who should read The Art of Logic?

  • Sensitive souls feeling overwhelmed by our illogical society
  • Campaigners wanting to learn how to develop clear, considered arguments
  • People looking to deepen their understanding of other

The Logic of Scientific Discovery

The Logic of Scientific Discovery

Karl Popper
On the Epistemology of Modern Science
4.7 (420 ratings)

What's The Logic of Scientific Discovery about?

The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1935) is Karl Popper’s classic work on the purpose of science and knowledge. Scientists should test their theories not to verify them, but to falsify them, and hence become even more accurate.

Who should read The Logic of Scientific Discovery?

  • Scientists interested in the big picture
  • Philosophers curious about scientific method
  • Logic lovers

The Ego Trick

The Ego Trick

Julian Baggini
What Does it Mean To Be You?
3.9 (44 ratings)

What's The Ego Trick about?

The Ego Trick (2011) explores the slippery topic of what we call “I” or “me.” These blinks give insight into the many factors that shape our sense of self, including brain function and dysfunction, society, culture and technological changes, and introduce the key philosophical questions behind our ideas about identity, souls and free will.

Who should read The Ego Trick?

  • Readers who suspect that our world is illusory
  • Students seeking a compact introduction to the philosophy of mind
  • Those interested in the parallels between Western philosophy and Buddhist thought

Plato at the Googleplex

Plato at the Googleplex

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away
4.1 (37 ratings)

What's Plato at the Googleplex about?

Plato at the Googleplex examines contemporary issues through the lens of Plato’s philosophical questioning. The book explores the life and times of Plato as well as how his philosophy and thoughts on love, education and ethics can be a model for us today.

Who should read Plato at the Googleplex?

  • Anyone interested in ethical and moral dilemmas
  • Anyone interested in education
  • Anyone interested in philosophy

True Enough

True Enough

Farhad Manjoo
Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society
3.6 (14 ratings)

What's True Enough about?

True Enough is an exploration of how facts are dealt with in the news and media. It explains how our preconceptions and opinions shape the way we experience reality, and how media producers manipulate us by using our notions to their advantage.

Who should read True Enough?

  • Anyone interested in our relationship with the media
  • Anyone interested in sociology
  • Anyone interested in psychology

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