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Critique of Pure Reason, The

By: Immanuel Kant

The Critique of Pure Reason, first published in 1781 with a second edition in 1787, has been called the most influential and important philosophical text of the modern age. Kant saw the Critique of Pure Reason as an attempt to bridge the gap between rationalism (there are significant ways in which our concepts and knowledge are gained independently of sense experience) and empiricism (sense experience is the ultimate source of all our concepts and knowledge) and, in particular, to counter the radical empiricism of David Hume (our beliefs are purely the result of accumulated habits, developed in response to accumulated sense experiences). Using the methods of science, Kant demonstrates that though each mind may, indeed, create its own universe, those universes are guided by certain common laws, which are rationally discernable. (Summary by Ticktockman)...

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Philosophy of Style, The

By: Herbert Spencer

“The Philosophy of Style,” explored a growing trend of formalist approaches to writing. Highly focused on the proper placement and ordering of the parts of an English sentence, [Spencer] created a guide for effective composition. Spencer’s aim was to free prose writing from as much friction and inertia as possible, so that the reader would not be slowed by strenuous deliberations concerning the proper context and meaning of a sentence. [Wikipedia]...

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Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

By: Ludwig Wittgenstein

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is the only book-length philosophical work published by the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein during his lifetime. He wrote it as a soldier and a prisoner of war during World War I. The slim volume (fewer than eighty pages) comprises a system of short statements, numbered 1, 1.1, 1.11, 1.12, etc., through to 7, intended to be such that 1.1 is a comment on or elaboration of 1, 1.11 and 1.12 comments on 1.1, and so forth. It is an ambitious project to identify the relationship between language and reality and to define the limits of science. (Summary from Wikipedia)...

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Problems of Philosophy, The

By: Bertrand Russell

The Problems of Philosophy is one of Bertrand Russell's attempts to create a brief and accessible guide to the problems of philosophy. Focusing on problems he believes will provoke positive and constructive discussion, Russell concentrates on knowledge rather than metaphysics. Russell guides the reader through his famous distinction between knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description and introduces important theories of Plato, Aristotle, René Descartes, David Hume, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Georg Hegel and others to lay the foundation for philosophical inquiry by general readers and scholars alike. (Summary from Wikipedia)...

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Principia Ethica

By: George Edward Moore

George Edward Moore, usually known as G. E. Moore, (1873 – 1958) was a distinguished and influential English philosopher. He was, with Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and (before them) Gottlob Frege, one of the founders of the analytic tradition in philosophy....

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Introduction to Metaphysics, An

By: Henri Bergson

An Introduction to Metaphysics (Introduction a la Metaphysique) is a 1903 essay by Henri Bergson that explores the concept of reality. For Bergson, reality occurs not in a series of discrete states but as a process similar to that described by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. Reality is fluid and cannot be completely understood through reductionistic analysis, which he said implies that we go around an object, gaining knowledge from various perspectives which are relative. Instead, reality can be grasped absolutely only through intuition, which Bergson expressed as entering into the object....

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Vom glückseligen Leben

By: Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Vom glückseligen Leben von Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4BC - AD64). Übersetzt durch Albert Forbiger (1798-1878); veröffentlicht 1867. Eine stoische Anleitung zum Leben. Knapp und gut geschrieben. (Summary by redaer)...

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Prince, The

By: Niccolo Machiavelli

ll Principe (The Prince) is a political treatise by the Florentine writer Niccolò Machiavelli, originally called “De Principatibus” (About Principalities). It was written around 1513, but not published until 1532, five years after Machiavelli’s death. The treatise is not actually representative of his published work during his lifetime, but it is certainly the best remembered one. (Summary from Wikipedia.org)...

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Golden Sayings of Epictetus, The

By: Epictetus

Aphorisms from the Stoic Greek.

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Trostschrift an Marcia

By: Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 v. Chr.–65 n. Chr.) gibt stoische Grundsätze zum Tod und zur Trauer. Übersetzung durch Albert Forbiger (1798-1878) von 1867. (Zusammenfassung von redaer) This reading is in German....

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Unreality of Time, The

By: John McTaggart

John McTaggart (1866-1925) John McTaggart was a British metaphysician and philosophical idealist. In this famous article for the periodical Mind, he introduced the notion of the A, B and C series, which was to become a leading theory in explaining the nature of time....

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Meditations on First Philosophy

By: René Descartes

After several years working on a treatise putting forth his mechanistic philosophy and physics, Descartes shelved the project when his contemporary, Galileo, was charged with heresy. That work, The World, was only published after Descartes’ death. It seems that Descartes must have had this, in part at least, in mind when writing his more famous philosophical works. This is especially clear in the Meditations , not only in the obsequiousness of the Letter of Dedication, but also in the specific mode of argument, which does not seek merely to found science upon grounds acceptable to religious authority, but to specifically found a mathematical science; one which clearly privileges mathematical demonstrations even over common sense judgments based upon everyday and constant experience. His Copernicanism, put forth posthumously in The World, would require just such a defense. The Meditations are a central work of early modern philosophy, and play a crucial role in the conceptual development of basic perspectives and problems in the Western tradition, including substance dualism, external world skepticism, and the modern notion of the su...

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Joyful Wisdom, The (or: The Gay Science)

By: Friedrich Nietzsche

The Joyful Wisdom, written in 1882, just before Zarathustra, is rightly judged to be one of Nietzsche's best books. Here the essentially grave and masculine face of the poet-philosopher is seen to light up and suddenly break into a delightful smile. The warmth and kindness that beam from his features will astonish those hasty psychologists who have never divined that behind the destroyer is the creator, and behind the blasphemer the lover of life. In the retrospective valuation of his work which appears in Ecce Homo the author himself observes with truth that the fourth book, Sanctus Januarius, deserves especial attention: The whole book is a gift from the Saint, and the introductory verses express my gratitude for the most wonderful month of January that I have ever spent. Book fifth We Fearless Ones, the Appendix Songs of Prince Free-as-a-Bird, and the Preface, were added to the second edition in 1887. (Summary by Dr Oscar Levy)...

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Utilitarianism

By: John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill's book Utilitarianism is one of the most influential and widely-read philosophical defenses of utilitarianism in ethics. The essay first appeared as a series of three articles published in Fraser's Magazine in 1861; the articles were collected and reprinted as a single book in 1863. It went through four editions during Mill's lifetime with minor additions and revisions. Although Mill includes discussions of utilitarian ethical principles in other works such as On Liberty and The Subjection of Women , Utilitarianism contains Mill's only major discussion of the fundamental grounds for utilitarian ethical theory. (Summary from Wikipedia)...

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Ego and His Own, The

By: Max Stirner

In this book, his most famous, Max Stirner presents a philosophical case for a radical egoism that shuns the socially-oriented outlooks of both establishment ideologies and of revolutionaries in favor of an extreme individualism. The book is most widely talked about today only through the lens of other philosophers' thought: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels launched a famous assault on it in The German Ideology, and some draw a connection between Stirner's thoughts here and Nietzsche's egoism a generation later. But it is worth reading in its own right, as much for its lyricism as the challenge of its philosophical proposals. (Summary by Mat Messerschmidt)...

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Enchiridion of Epictetus, The

By: Epictetus

Epictetus (Greek: Επίκτητος; c.55–c.135) was a Greek Stoic philosopher. The name given by his parents, if one was given, is not known - the word epiktetos in Greek simply means acquired. Epictetus spent his youth as a slave in Rome to Epaphroditos, a very wealthy freedman of Nero. Even as a slave, Epictetus used his time productively, studying Stoic Philosophy under Musonius Rufus. He was eventually freed and lived a relatively hard life in ill health in Rome. So far as is known, Epictetus himself wrote nothing. All that we have of his work was transcribed by his pupil Arrian. The main work is The Discourses, four books of which have been preserved (out of an original eight). Arrian also compiled a popular digest, entitled the Enchiridion, or Handbook. In a preface to the Discourses, addressed to Lucius Gellius, Arrian states that whatever I heard him say I used to write down, word for word, as best I could, endeavouring to preserve it as a memorial, for my own future use, of his way of thinking and the frankness of his speech.(Summary by Wikipedia)...

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Meditations, The

By: Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius wrote Meditations in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. These memos survive and continue to inspire others to this day. These writings take the form of quotations varying in length from one sentence to long paragraphs. He explicates the Stoic philosophy that the only way a man can be harmed by others is to allow his reaction to overpower him. He shows no particular religious faith in his writings, but seems to believe that some sort of logical, benevolent force organizes the universe in such a way that even bad occurrences happen for the good of the whole. (Summary by Ticktockman)...

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Sätze aus der höhern Welt- und Menschenkunde

By: François VI. de La Rochefoucauld

Sätze aus der höhern Welt- und Menschenkunde (Maximes) von La Rochefoucauld (1613 - 1680), veröffentlicht 1678; übersetzt von Friedrich Schulz (1762-1798), veröffentlicht 1798 François VI. de La Rochefoucauld war ein französischer Schriftsteller und philosophischer Aphoristiker. Er gilt als der erste der französischen Moralisten. 1658 begann La Rochefoucauld mit der Abfassung kürzerer aphoristischer Betrachtungen über die Natur des Menschen allgemein und die Verhaltensweisen der Angehörigen der adligen Gesellschaft im Besonderen. 1664 gab er unter dem Titel Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales eine Sammlung dieser pointierten, meist pessimistischen, oft sarkastischen Texte heraus. (Zusammenfassung von Wikipedia)...

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Poetics

By: Aristotle

Aristotle’s Poetics from the 4th century B.C. aims to give a short study of storytelling. It discusses things like unity of plot, reversal of situation, and character in the context of Greek tragedy, comedy and epic poetry. But it still applies today. It is especially popular with screenwriters as seen in many script gurus’ how-to books. (Summary by Robert Foster)...

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Über den Zorn

By: Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Über den Zorn (De Ira) by Lucius Annaeus Seneca (etwa 4 v. Chr. - 65 n. Chr.), übersetzt von J. Moser (1782 -1871), veröffentlicht 1828. Lucius Annaeus Seneca, genannt Seneca der Jüngere, war ein römischer Philosoph, Dramatiker, Naturforscher, Staatsmann und als Stoiker einer der meistgelesenen Schriftsteller seiner Zeit. Seneca griff klassisches stoisches Gedankengut auf. Das Problem der Affektkontrolle wird hier auf vielfältige Weise lebenspraktisch, historisch-exemplarisch und politisch abgehandelt. (Zusammenfassung von Wikipedia)...

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