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On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

By: Henry David Thoreau

Civil Disobedience is an essay by Henry David Thoreau. Published in 1849 under the title Resistance to Civil Government, it expressed Thoreau’s belief that people should not allow governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that people have a duty both to avoid doing injustice directly and to avoid allowing their acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. Thoreau was motivated in part by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican-American War. (Summary from Wikipedia)....

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Trostschrift an seine Mutter Helvia

By: Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Trostschrift an seine Mutter Helvia von Lucius Annaeus Seneca (etwa 4 v. Chr. - 65 n. Chr.), übersetzt durch Albert Forbiger (1798-1878). Veröffentlicht 1867. Lucius Annaeus Seneca, genannt Seneca der Jüngere, war ein römischer Philosoph, Dramatiker, Naturforscher, Staatsmann und als Stoiker einer der meistgelesenen Schriftsteller seiner Zeit. Ausschlaggebend für seinen weiteren Lebenslauf wurde das julisch-claudische Herrscherhaus im Jahre 41, als Seneca nach der Beseitigung des despotischen Caligula von dessen Nachfolger Claudius in die Verbannung nach Korsika geschickt wurde. Dies geschah auf Betreiben Messalinas, mit der Claudius in dritter Ehe verheiratet war und die Julia Livilla als potentielle Rivalin ausschalten wollte. Deshalb denunzierte sie diese wegen angeblichen Ehebruchs mit Seneca. Nur der Fürsprache Kaiser Claudius’ im Senat war es zu verdanken, dass Seneca statt zum Tode zur Verbannung nach Korsika verurteilt wurde. Weil dies in Form einer Relegatio (nicht der Deportation) geschah, blieben ihm Eigentum und staatsbürgerliche Rechte erhalten. Acht Jahre währte die Verbannung auf Korsika insgesamt. Erhalten sind aus d...

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Beyond Good and Evil

By: Friedrich Nietzsche

First published in 1886 at Nietzsche’s own expense, the book was not initially considered important. In it, Nietzsche denounced what he considered to be the moral vacuity of 19th century thinkers. He attacked philosophers for what he considered to be their lack of critical sense and their blind acceptance of Christian premises in their considerations of morality and values. Beyond Good and Evil is a comprehensive overview of Nietzsche’s mature philosophy. (Summary from Wikipedia)...

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Discours sur les sciences et les arts

By: Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Le Discours sur les sciences et les arts est un texte de Jean-Jacques Rousseau écrit dans le cadre du concours de l’Académe de Dijon de 1750. Lauréat du concours, Rousseau voit son essai fort commenté et lui doit sa célébrité, bien avant son opus magnum Du contrat social. Comme le veut le concours, le discours répond à une question : il s’agissait alors de déterminer Si le rétablissement des sciences et des arts a contribué à épurer les mœurs ». Farouche critique des pratiques de son temps, l’auteur présente en deux parties une diatribe contre les sciences et les arts, qui bien loin d’épurer les mœurs éloignent les hommes de la vertu. (Résumé par Wikipedia)...

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Von der Gemüthsruhe

By: Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Die Frage ist also: wie man es dahin bringe, daß das Gemüth immer seinen gleichmäßigen und ungestörten Gang gehe, mit sich selbst zufrieden sey und seinen eigenen Zustand mit Vergnügen anschaue, und daß es diese Freude nicht unterbreche, sondern in dieser Gelassenheit verbleibe, ohne sich je zu erheben, noch herabzustimmen. (aus dem Text) Wegen Mängel in den PDF Ausgaben wurde von zwei Quelltexten vorgelesen: Text (1) und (2)...

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Treatise Of Human Nature, Volume 1, A

By: David Hume

This book, published in two volumes called books by the author, is a treatment of everything from the origin of our ideas to how they are to be divided. It includes important statements of Scepticism and Hume's experimental method. Part 1 deals with the nature of ideas. Part 2 deals with the ideas of space and time. Part 3 deals with knowledge and probability. Part 4 deals with skeptical and other systems of philosophy, including a discussion of the soul and personal identity. This is a recording of Volume I (or Book 1). Volume II (which contains Books 2 and 3) is in production at the moment....

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Bushido: The Soul of Japan

By: Inazo Nitobe

Bushido: The Soul of Japan written by Inazo Nitobe was one of the first books on samurai ethics that was originally written in English for a Western audience, and has been subsequently translated into many other languages (also Japanese). Nitobe found in Bushido, the Way of the Warrior, the sources of the virtues most admired by his people: rectitude, courage, benevolence, politeness, sincerity, honor, loyalty and self-control, and he uses his deep knowledge of Western culture to draw comparisons with Medieval Chivalry, Philosophy, and Christianity. (Summary by Availle)...

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Von der göttlichen Vorsehung (De Providentia)

By: Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Du hast mir die Frage vorgelegt, mein Lucilius, warum, wenn eine Vorsehung über die Welt walte, den Guten doch so viele Übel zustoßen. (aus dem Text)

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Briefe Teil 2 (Epistulae morales ad Lucilium)

By: Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Epistulae morales ad Lucilium sind eine Sammlung von 124 Briefen. In den Briefen erteilt Seneca Ratschläge, wie Lucilius, von dem lange Zeit vermutet wurde, er wäre eine fiktive Gestalt, zu einem besseren Stoiker werden könnte. Sicher ist, dass Seneca die Briefe als Mittel benutzte, um verschiedene Aspekte seiner Philosophie darzustellen. Zugleich eröffnen die Texte auch einen Einblick in das Alltagsleben des antiken Rom. (Zusammenfassung von Wikipedia) Die Briefe 1 - 93 übersetzte August Pauly, die Briefe 94 -124 Adolf Haakh. Briefe 66 - 79: Text (1) & (5) Briefe 80 - 93: Text (2) & (5) Briefe 94 - 107: Text (3) & (5) Briefe 108 - 124: Text (4) & (5)...

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Confucian Analects

By: Confucius

The Analects, or Lunyu (simplified Chinese: 论语; traditional Chinese: 論語; pinyin: Lún Yǔ; literally Classified/Ordered Sayings), also known as the Analects of Confucius, are considered a record of the words and acts of the central Chinese thinker and philosopher Confucius and his disciples, as well as the discussions they held. Written during the Spring and Autumn Period through the Warring States Period (ca. 475 BC - 221 BC), the Analects is the representative work of Confucianism and continues to have a substantial influence on Chinese and East Asian thought and values today. James Legge (Chinese: 理雅各; December 20, 1815 – November 29, 1897) was a noted Scottish sinologist, a Scottish Congregationalist, representative of the London Missionary Society in Malacca and Hong Kong (1840–1873), and first professor of Chinese at Oxford University (1876–1897). In association with Max Müller he prepared the monumental Sacred Books of the East series, published in 50 volumes between 1879 and 1891....

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Apology of Socrates, The

By: Plato

Plato's account of Socrates' defense at his trial for corrupting the youth is a classic summation of his teacher's life and mission, centered in Socrates' most famous line, The unexamined life is not worth living. - Written by FrZeile...

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Critique of Practical Reason, The

By: Immanuel Kant

The Critique of Practical Reason ( Kritik der praktischen Vernunft ) is the second of Immanuel Kant's three critiques, first published in 1788. It follows on from his Critique of Pure Reason and deals with his moral philosophy. The second Critique exercised a decisive influence over the subsequent development of the field of ethics and moral philosophy, becoming the principle reference point for ethical systems that focus on the rightness or wrongness of actions themselves, as opposed to the rightness or wrongness of the consequences of those actions. Subsequently termed “deontological ethics”, Kant’s ethical system also laid the groundwork of moral absolutism, the belief that there are absolute standards against which moral questions can be judged, and that certain actions are right or wrong, devoid of the context of the act. (Summary by Wikipedia and Ticktockman)...

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On Liberty

By: John Stuart Mill

Published in 1859, On Liberty details Mill's view that individuals should be left wholly free to engage in any activity, thought or belief that does not harm others. Simple though it sounds, it is a position that challenges our ideas on the very nature of government and society, and sheds light on some of the key issues we face today. A key text of political philosophy, On Liberty has been continuously in print since its first publication. (Summary by David Barnes)....

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On the Popular Judgment: That may be Right in Theory, but does not Hold Good in the Praxis

By: Immanuel Kant ; ed. D.E. Wittkower

This tripartite essay – published variously as “On the Popular Judgment” (J. Richardson trans.), “On the Old Saw” (E.B. Ashton trans.), or “On the Common Saying” (both M.J. Gregor and H.B. Nisbet) – Kant takes up the issue of the relation of theory to practice in three distinct ways. In the first, he replies to Christian Garve’s criticism of his moral theory, in the second, he distances himself from Thomas Hobbes, and in the third, Moses Mendelssohn. The three taken together are representative of the breadth of Kant’s moral and political thought; the first section being concerned with the individual, the second with the state, and the third with the species. Although this is, on the whole, a difficult piece to approach, the second and third sections are often read as a way into Kant’s political thought, and serve this purpose well, especially when read alongside his Perpetual Peace. (Summary by D.E. Wittkower.)...

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Vindication of the Rights of Woman, A

By: Mary Wollstonecraft

Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) is best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in which she argued that women are not naturally inferior to men, but only appeared to be because they lacked education. She suggested that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and imagined a social order founded on reason. - Today, Wollstonecraft is considered a foundational thinker in feminist philosophy. Her early advocacy of women's equality and her attacks on conventional femininity and the degradation of women presaged the later emergence of the feminist political movement. Feminist scholars and activists have cited both her philosophical ideas and personal struggles as important influences in their work. (Summary from Wikipedia)...

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Of the Injustice of Counterfeiting Books

By: Immanuel Kant

This essay of Kant’s on copyright argues that the unlicensed copying of books cannot possibly be permissible, due to the fact that it assumes a consent on the part of the author which it is logically impossible for the author to give. The argument is dependent upon an assumption that the writings be commodified, for the reason why the author is unable to possibly give consent to multiple publishers is due to the author’s will – to communicate with the public – necessitating the profitability of the publisher, for, it is assumed, there is no way to communicate with the public at large without a great expense which can only be borne by a publishing firm. This is, of course, no longer a necessary assumption. - Other arguments here are also of interest: this is a foundational document in claims regarding the moral rights of authors, and Kant’s account of the connection between the communicative intent of the author and the rights resultant is of continuing importance (even though it is not often taken into account in contemporary debates, and has only a tenuous relation to contemporary copyright law); the distinction between works and a...

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Daodejing (Tao Te Ching)

By: Laozi ; Lao-tzu

Nach heutigen Erkenntnissen (linguistisch, Zitierbelege etc.) entstand das Daodejing um 400 v. Chr. Laozi (chin. 老子, Lǎozǐ, W.-G. Lao Tzu „‚Alter Meister‘“), ein legendärer chinesischer Philosoph, soll im 6. Jahrhundert v. Chr. gelebt haben. Je nach Umschrift wird der Name auch Laotse, Lao-Tse oder Lao-tzu geschrieben. Erstveröffentlichung der Übersetzung 1910. Das Daodejing (chin. 道德經, Dàodéjīng) (ältere Umschrift: Tao Te King) ist eine Sammlung von Spruchkapiteln, die dem legendären Weisen Lǎozǐ zugeschrieben wird. Die Entstehungsgeschichte ist ungewiss und Gegenstand sinologischer Forschung. Ungeachtet weiterer Übersetzungen bedeuten Dào „Weg, Prinzip“ und „Sinn“, und Dé „Kraft, Leben“ und „Charisma, Tugend, Güte“. Jīng bezeichnet einen Leitfaden bzw. eine klassische Textsammlung. Die beiden namengebenden Begriffe stehen für etwas Unaussprechliches, auf dessen eigentliche Bedeutung das Buch hindeuten möchte. Aus diesem Grund werden sie auch oft unübersetzt belassen. Das Werk gilt als die Gründungsschrift des Daoismus. Obwohl dieser verschiedene Strömungen umfasst, die sich vom Dàodéjīng erheblich unterscheiden können, wird es von...

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Antichrist, The

By: Friedrich Nietzsche

Save for his raucous, rhapsodical autobiography, Ecce Homo , The Antichrist is the last thing that Nietzsche ever wrote, and so it may be accepted as a statement of some of his most salient ideas in their final form. Of all Nietzsche’s books, The Antichrist comes nearest to conventionality in form. It presents a connected argument with very few interludes, and has a beginning, a middle and an end. The reason to listen to this version is that H.L. Mencken, the famous journalist, turned Nietzsche's German into such direct, plain-spoken American English that it puts the haranguing philosopher right up in your face....

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Von der Muße des Weisen (De Otio)

By: Lucius Annaeus Seneca

De Otio, ist ein philosophischer Dialog. Darin äußert sich Seneca über seine Ansichten bezüglich des otium, wobei die Übersetzung dieses Begriffs bereits kontrovers ist (wörtlich etwa: „Freizeit“, „Muße“, „Ruhe“ ...). Der antike Text ist nur teilweise in einem größeren, zusammenhängenden Abschnitt überliefert; Anfang und Ende des Dialogs fehlen. (Zusammenfassung von Wikipedia)...

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Life of Reason volume 1, The

By: George Santayana

The Life of Reason, subtitled the Phases of Human Progress, is a book published in five volumes from 1905 to 1906, by Spanish-born American philosopher George Santayana (1863-1952). It consists of Reason in Common Sense, Reason in Society, Reason in Religion, Reason in Art, and Reason in Science. The work is considered to be the most complete expression of Santayana's moral philosophy [...]. Santayana's philosophy is strongly influenced by the materialism of Democritus and the refined ethics of Aristotle, with a special emphasis on the natural development of ideal ends. The Life of Reason is sometimes considered to be one of the most poetic and well-written works of philosophy in Western history. To supply but a single example, the oft-quoted aphorism of Santayana's, Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, may be found on p. 284 of Reason in Common Sense....

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