Philosophy, Logic, & Ethics

What is the good life? What is justice? Do we have free will? Does it matter? From ancient classics like Plato's Allegory of the Cave to modern standards like John Rawls's A Theory of Justice, the texts in this collection explore ideas and questions at the root of the human condition.

Publication year 2016Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: New AgeTags Self Help, Philosophy, Psychology

Publication year 2014Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Identity: Mental Health, Emotions/Behavior: HopeTags Self Help, Psychology, Health / Medicine, Religion / Spirituality, Philosophy

Publication year 2005Genre Reference/Text Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Society: Economics, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: GlobalizationTags Business / Economics, Philosophy, Politics / Government, Anthropology, Social Justice

Publication year 1880Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionTags Religion / Spirituality, Philosophy, Russian Literature

Publication year 1981Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Society: Community, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Philosophy, Post Modernism

An influential work of moral philosophy, After Virtue (1981) by the Scottish-born philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre takes a bleak view of the state of modern moral dialogue, viewing it as suffering from a lack of rational thought and an inability to resolve disagreements. By looking at older forms of moral discourse, such as Aristotle’s moral framework, and comparing them to the modern version, he generally finds the modern moral framework to be lacking and suggests fixes... Read After Virtue Summary


Publication year 1971Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: ApathyTags Philosophy, Existentialism

Publication year 1993Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Religion / Spirituality, History: World, Philosophy

Publication year 1945Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality, Politics / Government, History: European

Publication year 1816Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Lyric Poem, Philosophy, Mythology

Publication year 2000Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Identity: SexualityTags Gender / Feminism, Philosophy, Psychology

Publication year -1Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionTags Philosophy, Ancient Greece

Plato’s Republic takes the form of a series of dialogues between the first-person narrator (Socrates, Plato's teacher) and various real-life figures. “The Allegory of the Cave,” perhaps the most well-known section of The Republic, takes place as a conversation between Socrates and Plato’s brother, Glaucon. In this section, Socrates attempts to illustrate a point about how one can gain knowledge and wisdom and “perceive [...] the Essential Form of Goodness” (paragraph 31, line 10), via... Read Allegory Of The Cave Summary


Publication year 1986Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: CommunityTags Self Help, Humor, Philosophy, Inspirational

In his compilation of essays, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Robert Fulghum studies the simplicity embedded in everyday experiences. First published in 1989, this collection captivated a global audience, becoming a cultural touchstone as a #1 New York Times bestseller and selling over 7 million copies. Fulghum draws from his life experiences to craft this collection of essays. This collection, which falls within the self-help, motivational, and personal transformation genres... Read All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten Summary


Publication year 1982Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Society: Community, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Philosophy, History: World, Sociology, Politics / Government, Modernism

Publication year 1940Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Beauty, Life/Time: Aging, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Arts / Culture, Business / Economics, Philosophy, Military / War, Class, Depression / Suicide, Education, Science / Nature, Sports, Technology

Publication year 1985Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Education, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Sociology, Philosophy, Technology, Information Age, Education

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business is a nonfiction book by Neil Postman, published in 1985. Postman was a professor of education and communication at New York University with a special interest in the role of technology and media in society. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York in Fredonia and a master’s degree and doctorate from the Teachers College of Columbia University. In... Read Amusing Ourselves to Death Summary


Publication year -1Genre Book, NonfictionTags Asian Literature, Chinese Literature, Philosophy

The Analects is a text compiled of the remarks and conversations of the Chinese philosopher, Confucius, during the later years of his life (72-75 years old). The text, with its dialogues and reflections, takes place during the Warring States Period (475-222 BC)—a period of great turmoil and geopolitical restructuring when the vassals of the then incumbent sovereign (Zhou Dynasty) defected and declared themselves independent of Zhou, thereby becoming kingdoms in their own right. It is... Read Analects of Confucius Summary


Publication year 1974Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Society: Class, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Philosophy, Politics / Government, Sociology, History: World

Publication year 1957Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Business / Economics, Politics / Government, Philosophy

Publication year 1748Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Philosophy, Psychology, Science / Nature, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 1690Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Nurture v. Nature, Identity: Language, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality, Education, Science / Nature, Age of Enlightenment

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke is a study of how humans think, learn, and retain knowledge. Scholars often focus first on Locke’s philosophical treatises, but his work on epistemology complements and shapes his political thought. Born in 1632, the English philosopher ushered in the Age of Enlightenment and is considered one of the greatest Western philosophers in history. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, first published in 1690, explores the origin and nature... Read An Essay Concerning Human Understanding Summary


Publication year 1734Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Natural World: Space & The Universe, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Philosophy, Relationships, Religion / Spirituality, Neoclassical, Didacticism

Publication year 1798Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: EconomicsTags Business / Economics, Philosophy, Sociology, Age of Enlightenment, Poverty, Food, Science / Nature, Class, History: European

An Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Malthus was first published anonymously in 1798. Its core argument, that human population will inevitably outgrow its capacity to produce food, widely influenced the field of early 19th century economics and social science. Immediately after its first printing, Malthus’s essay garnered significant attention from his contemporaries, and he soon felt the need to reveal his identity. Although it was highly controversial, An Essay on the Principle... Read An Essay on the Principle of Population Summary


Publication year 1945Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: CommunityTags Satire, History: European, Politics / Government, Philosophy, Animals, Post-War Era, Allegory / Fable / Parable, British Literature

Published in 1945, Animal Farm by George Orwell (1903-1950) achieved immediate success and remains one of Orwell’s most popular works. A political satire in the guise of a moving and whimsical animal fable, the novella is about a group of farm animals who overthrow their owner, Mr. Jones, and establish animal rule. Although the animals start out with high hopes for Animal Farm as a harmonious and just utopia where “all animals are equal” (19)... Read Animal Farm Summary


Publication year 1977Genre Book, NonfictionTags Philosophy

Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals is a book by renowned Australian philosopher Peter Singer. Published in 1975 and re-released most recently in 2009, with an additional preface by the author, the book is widely recognized as a foundational text within the animal liberation movement. Singer tries to persuade the reader of his or her own implicit “speciesism,” a term he popularized, and he argues that the discrimination against other species... Read Animal Liberation Summary


Publication year 1936Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: ClassTags Philosophy, Politics / Government, Social Justice

Publication year 1938Genre Novella, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Community, Self DiscoveryTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Classic Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Philosophy

Anthem is a short novella written by Ayn Rand and published in 1938. Rand is known for her polarizing fiction, which includes the well-known novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. She is also known as the founder of a controversial philosophy known as Objectivism. In 1987, Anthem won the Libertarian Futurist Society’s Hall of Fame Award. Since its publication, the novella has been met with mixed reviews due to the controversy around its Objectivist themes... Read Anthem Summary


Publication year 2012Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Society: NationTags Philosophy, Business / Economics, Psychology, Science / Nature, Finance / Money / Wealth, Leadership/Organization/Management

Publication year 1756Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Art, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Philosophy, Arts / Culture, Age of Enlightenment

Publication year 1859Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Identity: Race, Society: Politics & Government, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Philosophy, Politics / Government, History: U.S.

Publication year -1Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Identity: LanguageTags Philosophy, Ancient Greece, Classical Period

Apology, also known as The Apology of Socrates, is a philosophical dialogue written by the Greek philosopher Plato chronicling the trial of his mentor Socrates in 399 BCE. After finding Socrates guilty of impiety and corrupting the youth, the Athenian jury sentenced him to death. Socrates carried out his own execution by drinking a mixture of poisonous hemlock. Although Plato likely took modest artistic liberties in the work, many historians believe Apology to be a... Read Apology Summary


Publication year 1644Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Philosophy

As an epigram, Milton quotes Euripides, who wrote: “This is true liberty, when free-born men, having the advise the public, may speak free, which he who can, and will, deserves high praise; who neither can, nor will, may hold his peace; what can be juster in a state than this?” (337). Milton explains that addressing Parliament in the name of the “public good” (337) is no small feat and that any person in this position... Read Areopagitica Summary


Publication year 1929Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Identity: Femininity, Values/Ideas: Literature, Identity: SexualityTags Gender / Feminism, Philosophy

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf, first published in 1929, is a book-length essay that Woolf modeled after a series of her at the University of Cambridge. A Room of One’s Own is considered an exemplary piece of modernist criticism that questions traditional values. It examines the topic of “women and fiction”–women characters in fiction; the great women authors in English history who wrote fiction; and, more abstractly, “the fiction that is written... Read A Room of One's Own Summary


Publication year 269Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Society: Education, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Animals, Society: EconomicsTags Education, Science / Nature, Philosophy

A Sand County Almanac is a 1949 nonfiction book by the American naturalist and writer Aldo Leopold. The book is structured as a series of essays, beginning with Leopold’s description of a year on his farm and progressing to a series of essays on humanity’s relationship with nature, culminating in an argument for an ethical approach to the land. Published by Oxford University Press a year after Leopold’s death, the book is credited with having... Read A Sand County Almanac Summary


Publication year 1997Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Self Discovery, Society: Community, Society: Education, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Humor, Philosophy, Post Modernism, American Literature

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again is a 1997 essay collection by David Foster Wallace. The seven essays explore 1990s US social issues through subjects such as television, tennis, and (in the most famous essay) a Caribbean cruise. The essays have been referenced many times in popular culture, particularly the title essay, which recounts Wallace’s experiences on a cruise.This guide references the 1998 Abacus edition of the collection.SummaryIn the first essay, “Derivative Sport... Read A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again Summary


Publication year 1971Genre Reference/Text Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Philosophy

John Rawls published A Theory of Justice in 1971 and the work is credited with the rebirth of normative political philosophy. A Theory of Justice argues in support of Rawls’s theory of justice as fairness, which commands: ·       equal basic rights ·       equality of opportunity ·       and raising the prospects of the least advantaged in society.  To do this, Rawls employs a thought experiment called the original position. In the original position, mutually-disinterested rational persons, in a hypothetical original... Read A Theory of Justice Summary


Publication year 1957Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Economics, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Classic Fiction, Philosophy

The novel Atlas Shrugged (1957) was written by Russian American author Ayn Rand. Widely considered to be the author’s magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged is a divisive text that has remained popular in the public consciousness despite harsh criticism from academics and philosophers across the political spectrum. Set in a dystopian US wherein the collectivist government bureaucracy has a stranglehold on industry, the narrative follows protagonist Dagny Taggart as she fights to defend her family’s transcontinental... Read Atlas Shrugged Summary


Publication year 1710Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Language, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Natural World: EnvironmentTags Philosophy, Metaphysical, Irish Literature

Irish philosopher and Anglican Bishop George Berkeley (1685-1753) wrote A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge in 1710. The short work expounds Berkeley’s philosophy of immaterialism, a form of empiricism asserting that nothing exists outside of a mind’s perception of it. Objects, therefore, are not things, but ideas. Berkeley’s philosophy critiques that of contemporary empiricists John Locke and David Hume, who contended that the mind can perceive the material world in abstract and that... Read A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge Summary


Publication year 1739Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Society: CommunityTags Philosophy, Psychology, Science / Nature, Age of Enlightenment

David Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature was first published in 1740. Although the book did not sell well on its release, it became one of the key texts of the Enlightenment. It was especially known for its argument that human knowledge is based on direct experience and observation—a school of philosophy known as empiricism—and that human behavior is not based on reason, but on emotions. Divided into three books, A Treatise of Human Nature... Read A Treatise of Human Nature Summary


Publication year 1946Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Natural World: Space & The Universe, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Self DiscoveryTags Religion / Spirituality, Indian Literature, Philosophy, History: Asian

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) was first published in 1946 and has since become a much-loved and admired book around the world. It is regarded as one of the classics of 20th-century spiritual literature. In 1999, it was named by a HarperCollins panel of authors and scholars as one of the “100 Best Spiritual Books of the Century.” In the book, Yogananda tells the story of his life, beginning with his childhood... Read Autobiography of a Yogi Summary


Publication year 1925Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: ArtTags Philosophy, Irish Literature

Publication year 2020Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Race / Racism, Arts / Culture, History: U.S., Philosophy, Post-War Era

Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own is a non-fiction book by Eddie S. Glaude Jr., a Princeton University professor specializing in race and religion in the US. The title gestures to a passage in James Baldwin’s last novel, Just Above My Head (1979), which stresses the importance of new beginnings in the quest to rebuild the US as a truly multiracial democracy. A New York Times bestseller, Begin Again... Read Begin Again Summary


Publication year 1943Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Philosophy, Existentialism, French Literature, Absurdism

Being and Nothingness: An Essay in Phenomenological Ontology (1943) by Jean-Paul Sartre is a foundational text for the philosophical movement of existentialism. Sartre, a 20th-century writer and philosopher, wrote Being and Nothingness while in a prisoner of war camp during World War II. Being and Nothingness addresses theories of consciousness, nothingness, self-identity, essences, and freedom. Sartre’s work builds upon a legacy of existentialist theories while defining and shaping them into a comprehensive ideology. He challenges... Read Being and Nothingness Summary


Publication year 2010Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Society: Education, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Psychology, Philosophy, Relationships

Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error (2010) is a nonfiction book written by Kathryn Schulz, a journalist who has written for publications such as the New York Times Magazine, the Nation, and the Boston Globe. The book explores the nature of error from a psychological, philosophical, and personal point of view, drawing from philosophical thought, psychology studies, and personal anecdotes. Some themes of the book include the fallibility of the human mind, the... Read Being Wrong Summary


Publication year 2004Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Inspirational, Action / Adventure, Travel Literature, Animals, Arts / Culture, Philosophy, Relationships, Religion / Spirituality, Science / Nature, Music, Sports

Between a Rock and a Hard Place is a 2004 adventure and survival memoir by American mountain climber Aron Ralston. The narrative focuses on Ralston’s near-death experience when his arm became stuck under a boulder in a canyon in Utah, where he remained trapped for five days until he amputated his arm. Dealing with profound existential themes, the book garnered critical acclaim and became a New York Times bestseller. A 2010 film adaptation titled 127... Read Between a Rock and a Hard Place Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: Win & LoseTags Self Help, Philosophy

Publication year 1971Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Self Discovery, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Psychology, Philosophy, Science / Nature

Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971) is a scientific philosophical text written by B. F. Skinner. Skinner (1904-1990) was a psychologist from the United States who is widely recognized for his contributions to behaviorism, the psychological theory that human behavior is determined or based on antecedent and external circumstances. Beyond Freedom and Dignity has been highly criticized for its repudiation of free will and its underlying Victorian ideals; however, this heavy criticism resulted in the popularization... Read Beyond Freedom and Dignity Summary


Publication year 1886Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Philosophy, Victorian Period

Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future is a classic philosophical text composed by one of modernity’s greatest thinkers, Friedrich Nietzsche, and first published in 1886, just a few years after the arguably more infamous Thus Spake Zarathustra. Published first in Nietzsche’s native German, the book was translated into English 20 years later in 1906, making the work even more widely known to an international audience. A more polemical text than... Read Beyond Good And Evil Summary


Publication year 1611Genre Scripture, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Emotions/Behavior: HopeTags Religion / Spirituality, Philosophy, Jewish Literature

Publication year 1817Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Romanticism / Romantic Period, Philosophy

The Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge published Biographia Literaria, his semiautobiographical work on aesthetic theory, in 1817. Charting the history of his literary career and melding amusing autobiographical anecdotes with what Coleridge calls “transcendental philosophy” (91), the text is an influential work of literary criticism. Capturing Coleridge’s political ideas about the French Revolution and the American Declaration of Independence, the work is also an important historical document. In its pages, Coleridge uses 19th-century philosophical ideas... Read Biographia Literaria Summary


Publication year 1923Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: AnimalsTags Lyric Poem, Philosophy, Animals

Publication year 1990Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Gender, Identity: Race, Relationships: Mothers, Society: CommunityTags Gender / Feminism, Race / Racism, Politics / Government, Social Justice, Sociology, Philosophy, Women's Studies (Nonfiction), African American Literature

Publication year 2022Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Flora/plants, Natural World: Environment, Identity: Indigenous, Society: Colonialism, Society: CommunityTags Science / Nature, Philosophy

Publication year 2007Genre Novel, FictionThemes Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: New AgeTags Religion / Spirituality, Philosophy, Travel Literature

Publication year 2018Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Space & The Universe, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Natural World: Climate, Life/Time: The Future, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Science / Nature, Philosophy, Climate Change, Natural Disaster, Education, Technology

Publication year 2004Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: EconomicsTags Gender / Feminism, History: World, Politics / Government, Philosophy

Publication year 1944Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags French Literature, Philosophy, Play: Drama, Existentialism, Absurdism

Publication year 2016Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Self Discovery, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: JoyTags Inspirational, Philosophy

Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work, written by Dave Isay with Maya Millett and published in 2016, is a collection of brief, first-person narratives about the value and meaning of work. These stories were collected through the oral history project of StoryCorps, a nonprofit organization that records, archives, and shares stories of life in America. StoryCorps and its founder and president, Dave Isay, have received many grants and awards for the organization’s work, including... Read Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work Summary


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Publication year 1759Genre Novella, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Satire, Philosophy, Science / Nature, French Literature

Candide, or Optimism was first published in 1759 by the French writer Voltaire (born Francois-Marie Arouet in 1694, died in 1778). The most famous and widely read work published by Voltaire, Candide is a satire that critiques contemporary philosophy, and specifically Leibnizian optimism, which posited the doctrine of the best of all possible worlds. Along with other French contemporaries, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Denis Diderot, and Montesquieu, Voltaire published at the height of the French... Read Candide Summary


Publication year 1945Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Natural World: Place, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Natural World: Environment, Relationships: FriendshipTags Historical Fiction, Classic Fiction, Arts / Culture, Anthropology, Animals, Class, Education, Philosophy, Poverty, Relationships, Science / Nature

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck was originally published in 1945. A Nobel Prize-winning writer, Steinbeck grew up in Salinas, California, which is near Monterey—the location of Cannery Row. Aside from a few years in Palo Alto, New York, and Los Angeles, Steinbeck spent most of his adult life living in Monterey County, and he drew on his personal experiences to write Cannery Row.Considered literary fiction or classic literature, Cannery Row is realistic and was written... Read Cannery Row Summary


Publication year 1942Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Business / Economics, Sociology, Politics / Government, Philosophy

Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy is a work of economics and political theory by Austrian born economist Joseph A. Schumpeter, originally published in 1942. Schumpeter argues that capitalism, where private, for-profit ownership controls a nation’s industry, will be eventually replaced by socialism, an economic system based on the public, state ownership of industry. However, he disagrees with German philosopher Karl Marx. Unlike Marx, Schumpeter does not believe the shift to socialism will come about due to... Read Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy Summary


Publication year 1987Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Space & The Universe, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Science / Nature, Philosophy, Business / Economics, Animals, Health / Medicine, Technology

Publication year -1Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionTags Philosophy, Italian Literature, Ancient Rome

Written in 44 B.C. by Roman official, orator, and philosopher, Marcus Tullius Cicero, On Duties is a philosophical treatise on moral duty, or 'appropriateaction. 'It is written as a three-section letter, in lieu of a visit, to his son, Marcus Tullius Cicero Minor, who lived in Athens at the time, and was studying philosophy. Cicero wrote the letter in less than a month during the last year of his life. This text was written during... Read Cicero: On Duties Summary


Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Religion / Spirituality, Philosophy, Post Modernism

E. L. Doctorow’s 2000 novel City of God is a postmodern, metafictional novel of religious questioning that attempts to reconcile the history of the 20th century, particularly the Holocaust, with modern conceptions of morality and God. The novel is structured as a fragmented writer’s notebook written by a character loosely based on Doctorow himself. The plot, which concerns a stolen cross and an Episcopalian priest’s doubts about his faith, is rendered through the mediated lens... Read City of God Summary


Publication year 2011Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Society: Colonialism, Society: Globalization, Society: Nation, Society: Immigration, Society: Politics & Government, Society: WarTags History: World, Politics / Government, Sociology, Philosophy

Publication year 1911Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality, Modernism

Publication year 1846Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Society: CommunityTags Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality

Published in 1846, Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Fragments is one of the major works of the Danish philosopher and theologian Søren Kierkegaard. The book is so named because Kierkegaard intended it as a sequel to his 1844 work Philosophical Fragments, although the Postscript is more than six times longer than the Fragments. The word “unscientific” is an ironic allusion to rationalistic philosophy, particularly that of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.Hegel’s philosophy—known as Hegelianism—held that... Read Concluding Unscientific Postscript Summary


Publication year 400Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: BeautyTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature, Philosophy

Confessions, or Confessiones in the original Latin, is a book of spiritual reflection, philosophical commentary, and Biblical interpretation produced in the last century of the Western Roman Empire. Written around the year 400 CE by Saint Augustine of Hippo, a prominent Catholic bishop in the Roman province of Africa, the book is sometimes called the world’s first autobiography. Although this claim is inaccurate, Confessions has nevertheless born enormous influence on personal narrative writing in the... Read Confessions Summary


Publication year 2004Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Food, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: EconomicsTags Humor, Arts / Culture, Philosophy, Animals, Food

Publication year 2006Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Globalization, Society: Community, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Philosophy

Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (2006) is a philosophical text written by Kwame Anthony Appiah. Appiah, a philosopher and ethicist who teaches at New York University, grew up in Kumasi, Ghana, where his father was a Ghanaian political leader and his mother a British expatriate. His family’s multicultural background, as well as the experience of growing up in diverse Kumasi and then attending school in the United Kingdom, informed Appiah’s thinking about communicating... Read Cosmopolitanism Summary


Publication year 1980Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Space & The Universe, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Place, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Society: Education, Society: Globalization, Society: WarTags Science / Nature, History: World, Philosophy

Publication year 1932Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: ColonialismTags Lyric Poem, Modernism, Philosophy, Grief / Death, Love / Sexuality, History: European, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 1866Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Classic Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Philosophy, Poverty, Class

Crime and Punishment is a novel by Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, first published in 1866. The story charts the alienation of a student named Raskolnikov, who decides to commit the perfect crime as a way of philosophically proving his superiority over others. The novel traces the depths of his mental disintegration as he comes to grips with the psychological consequences of being a murderer.Dostoevsky is widely considered one of the world’s greatest psychological fiction writers... Read Crime and Punishment Summary


Publication year 1781Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Objects, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Philosophy

German philosopher Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason is one of the most influential texts in the history of modern philosophy. Situated in the intellectual milieu of 18th century Europe, the Critique of Pure Reason is a philosophical document of the Age of Enlightenment and offers an answer to the philosophical debates of its day touching on metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical inquiries. Written in 1781 and substantially revised in 1787, Kant’s Critique inaugurated a philosophical... Read Critique of Pure Reason Summary


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Publication year -1Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Philosophy, Ancient Greece, Politics / Government

Crito, written by the philosopher Plato, is a dialogue between the famous philosopher Socrates and his friend Crito. This dialogue, which Plato is believed to have published shortly after 399 BCE, is set after the city of Athens has sentenced Socrates to death. Crito takes place after the events of Plato’s Apology, which details Socrates’s defense speech at his trial. Within the corpus of Plato’s many Socratic dialogues, scholars generally group Crito with Euthyphro, Apology... Read Crito Summary


Publication year 1869Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Philosophy, Politics / Government, Arts / Culture, Class, Victorian Period

Publication year 1993Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Colonialism / Postcolonialism, History: World, Philosophy, Politics / Government, History: European, History: Middle Eastern, History: Asian

Culture and Imperialism is a nonfiction book published in 1993 by the Palestinian American author and academic Edward Said. Originating from a series of lectures that Said delivered in 1985 and 1986, Culture and Imperialism is an expansion of the ideas set out in his groundbreaking earlier work, Orientalism. Considered one of the founders of the field of post-colonial studies, Said looks at how the formerly colonized margins influence the metropolitan centers, and vice versa... Read Culture and Imperialism Summary


Publication year 1867Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Society: ColonialismTags Philosophy, Business / Economics, Politics / Government, German literature, Poverty

Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (also popularly known in the English-speaking world by its original German title, Das Kapital) by Karl Marx is an influential critique of capitalism that sought to define the economic system’s functions. The first volume—which is the only volume fully written by Karl Marx himself—was published in 1867. Two further volumes were written by Marx’s long-time collaborator, Friedrich Engels, based on Marx’s notes, and were published in 1885 and 1894... Read Das Kapital Summary


Publication year 2016Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Self Help, Business / Economics, Psychology, Leadership/Organization/Management, Philosophy, Technology

Publication year 1919Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Friendship, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Auto/Biographical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality, German literature

Hermann Hesse’s Demian (1919) explores the coming-of-age journey of Emil Sinclair as he develops his sense of self and understanding of the duality of humanity. The novel is set in Germany in the early 20th century between World War I and World War II, and it adheres to the Bildungsroman genre. Hesse also utilizes philosophical thought, including Jungian psychology, Gnostic Christianity, and Nietzsche, to shape Sinclair’s self-discovery journey. The novel explores themes regarding the importance... Read Demian Summary


Publication year 1916Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Education, Society: Politics & Government, Society: CommunityTags Education, Philosophy, Politics / Government

Publication year 1905Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags LGBTQ, Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 1994Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Disability, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: Mental Health, Natural World: Nurture v. Nature, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Psychology, Science / Nature, Philosophy, Health / Medicine

Publication year 2009Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Globalization, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags History: World, Religion / Spirituality, Politics / Government, Philosophy

Publication year 1999Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Language, Self DiscoveryTags Business / Economics, Self Help, Psychology, Relationships, Philosophy

Publication year 1975Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: Politics & Government, Society: ClassTags Philosophy, Incarceration, History: World, Sociology, Psychology, French Literature

Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault is a socio-political study of how power manifests in the Western penal system throughout history. Considered to be Foucault’s masterpiece, Discipline and Punish traces the history of how punishment and control were applied in Western society and how penal systems evolved to match changes in social sensibilities. Michel Foucault was a French historical philosopher and literary critic in the 20th century. Foucault’s work has... Read Discipline And Punish Summary


Publication year 1955Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: ColonialismTags Philosophy, Afro-Caribbean Literature, Colonialism / Postcolonialism

Discourse on Colonialism is an essay written originally in French by Aimé Césaire and published in 1950. This seminal work by Césaire opens with a thesis that Europe currently suffers from two problems. The first problem is the state of the proletariat and colonialism and the second is its moral hypocrisy. Throughout the essay, Césaire elaborates on this thesis by identifying the proletariat as the colonized laborer and the bourgeois as the European academic, scholar... Read Discourse on Colonialism Summary


Publication year 1637Genre Book, NonfictionTags Philosophy, French Literature

French philosopher Rene Descartes’s Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy constitute two halves of a single unified project. The former was first published in 1637, while the latter was first published in 1641. The full title of Discourse on Method is Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences. The full title of Mediations on First Philosophy is Meditations on First Philosophy in which the... Read Discourse on Method Summary


Publication year 1755Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Philosophy, Politics / Government, Sociology, Age of Enlightenment

“Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men,” often known as the “Discourse on Inequality” or the “Second Discourse,” is an essay by the Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau published in 1765. This summary is based on The First and Second Discourses, edited and translated by Roger D. Masters and Judith R. Masters, and published by St. Martin’s Press in 1964.SummaryRousseau wrote the essay in response to a prize announced by the Academy of... Read Discourse on the Origin of Inequality Summary


Publication year 1838Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Philosophy, Transcendentalism, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 1605Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Aging, Relationships: FriendshipTags Classic Fiction, Mental Illness, Class, Philosophy, Politics / Government, Renaissance, Religion / Spirituality, Satire

Don Quixote is a novel in two parts by Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes published between 1605 and 1615. The novel portrays the life of a middle-aged Spanish man who decides to become a knight, just like the characters in the works of fiction he loves. Considered to be a foundational work of Western literature and one of the first modern novels, Don Quixote is one of the most translated books of all time. It... Read Don Quixote Summary


Publication year 2009Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: EnvironmentTags Food, Philosophy, Animals, Health / Medicine

Eating Animals is a nonfiction book written by Jonathan Safran Foer and published originally in 2009. Foer is an accomplished novelist, and Eating Animals is his first foray into long-form nonfiction writing. The book fits into a genre of criticism of the food industry, specifically factory farming and animal welfare. Eating Animals is a New York Times bestseller, though it met with mixed reviews regarding both the content and style of Foer’s writing. In 2018... Read Eating Animals Summary


Publication year 1843Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: Economics, Society: Class, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Business / Economics, Philosophy, Politics / Government, History: World

Publication year 2016Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Self Help, Philosophy, Business / Economics, Leadership/Organization/Management

Publication year 1992Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Life/Time: The Future, Life/Time: The Past, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Space & The Universe, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Historical Fiction, Philosophy, Science / Nature

Einstein’s Dreams (1993) by Alan Lightman is a best-selling novel that explores the intersection of art and science, and the nature of time. The novel imagines the dreams of a fictionalized version of Albert Einstein to explain various theories about time, leading up to Einstein’s 1905 theory of special relativity, which he formed while working as a patent clerk and starting a family in Berne, Switzerland.Each chapter of the novel features a dream that exemplifies... Read Einstein's Dreams Summary


Publication year 2003Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Identity: Sexuality, Society: Immigration, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Romance, Philosophy, Love / Sexuality, Relationships, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 2017Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags Politics / Government, Self Help, Gender / Feminism, Philosophy, Leadership/Organization/Management, Social Justice

Publication year 1763Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: EducationTags Philosophy, Education, French Literature

Published in 1762, Emile, or On Education, by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, launched a revolution in thinking about how society should educate and rear children. Its main tenets—that children must learn in accordance with their developing minds, and that society impedes and corrupts their growth—became rallying cries for educators in France and elsewhere. The book’s assertion that children should not be taught religious doctrine caused an uproar. Along with Rousseau’s political treatise, The Social Contract (also published... Read Emile: On Education Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Society: Class, Society: Education, Society: Globalization, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & Government, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Philosophy, Science / Nature, Psychology, Sociology, Politics / Government, Health / Medicine, Agriculture, Business / Economics, Class, Climate Change, Social Justice

Publication year 1677Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 458Genre Play, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Identity: GenderTags Ancient Greece, Drama / Tragedy, Play: Drama, Philosophy, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Eumenides is an Attic tragedy by the playwright Aeschylus (circa 525/4-circa 456/5 BCE). Eumenides was the final part of the Oresteia, a tragic trilogy first produced for the City Dionysia in 458 BCE. The Oresteia describes the murder of Agamemnon by his wife Clytemnestra and the aftermath of this act; in Eumenides, Orestes—the son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra—must undergo a trial to be purified of the blood of his mother, whom he murdered to avenge... Read Eumenides Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Play, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Play: Drama, Allegory / Fable / Parable, Grief / Death, Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality, American Literature

Everybody, a one-act play by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, premiered Off-Broadway in 2017 at the Signature Theatre and was first published in 2018. It is a modern retelling of Everyman, the most well-known and anthologized example of a medieval morality play, which was adapted from a Dutch play by an anonymous 15th century English writer. Morality plays first appeared in the 12th century, evolving from the Catholic Church’s cycle plays and liturgical dramas, which reenacted biblical scenes... Read Everybody Summary


Publication year 1946Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionTags Philosophy, Existentialism, French Literature

In “Existentialism is a Humanism” (1945), French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre attempts to convince an audience of philosophers and laypeople alike that his philosophy is neither pessimistic, nor relativist, nor quietist, nor subjectivist in the sense of presenting human beings as isolated individuals. He begins by elaborating Christians’ and Marxists’ criticisms of his ideas, then attempts to respond to each. In doing so, he focuses on the key formulation of existentialism, “existence precedes essence.” Then... Read Existentialism is a Humanism Summary


Publication year 1938Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Education, Relationships: Teams, Life/Time: Childhood & YouthTags Education, Philosophy

Publication year 1972Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: GlobalizationTags Philosophy, Politics / Government, Social Justice, Finance / Money / Wealth

Publication year 1843Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Existentialism, Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality

Fear and Trembling is an 1843 Christian philosophical tract written by the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and published under the pseudonym Johannes de Silentio (John of the Silence). The title refers to a passage from the Bible, which demands that “salvation” be worked out “with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). Most of Fear and Trembling focuses on the biblical story of Abraham, whom God told to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham’s actions (despite his fear... Read Fear And Trembling Summary


Publication year 1984Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Gender, Identity: Race, Society: Class, Society: Community, Society: Education, Relationships: FamilyTags Gender / Feminism, Philosophy, Race / Racism, Politics / Government, Social Justice

Publication year 1884Genre Novella, FictionThemes Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Natural World: Nurture v. Nature, Identity: GenderTags Satire, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Classic Fiction, Fantasy, Philosophy, Class, Gender / Feminism, British Literature, Victorian Period

IntroductionIn his introduction to Flatland: a Romance of Many Dimensions (1884), British mathematician Banesh Hoffmann describes the novel as “a stirring adventure in pure mathematics” and emphasizes the fundamentally fantastical nature of the story (iii). He also says that author Edwin A. Abbott intended the novel to be instructional. Both the surreal nature of Flatland and its didactic elements are plain, but there is disagreement among scholars and readers on the question of exactly what... Read Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions Summary


Publication year 2001Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Finance / Money / Wealth, Psychology, Philosophy, Self Help, Business / Economics

Publication year 2021Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Emotions/Behavior: JoyTags Self Help, Philosophy, Psychology

Publication year 2022Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Self Discovery, Life/Time: AgingTags Self Help, Psychology, Health / Medicine, Philosophy

Publication year 1955Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Marriage, Life/Time: Midlife, Identity: FemininityTags Inspirational, Philosophy, Women's Studies (Nonfiction), Gender / Feminism

Gift from the Sea is a 1955 work of inspirational nonfiction literature by American author Anne Morrow Lindbergh. While vacationing on Captiva Island, Florida, Lindbergh explores the questions of how to find a new, more natural rhythm of life and how to gain a deeper relationship with herself and others. To gain inspiration for this, she discusses various shells that she finds on the beach. The first two shells she finds symbolize the importance of... Read Gift From The Sea Summary


Publication year 2007Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Religion / Spirituality, Philosophy, Sociology

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007) is a polemical text by English writer Christopher Hitchens. The author argues that religion is a cultural construct that represses people more than it liberates them. He examines religion’s role in sexuality, science, and human dignity and posits that organized religion rarely (if ever) benefits humanity at large. Hitchens was a noted columnist and contributing editor to Vanity Fair magazine.Its themes include mass delusions, the misogyny... Read God Is Not Great Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Society: Economics, Relationships: Teams, Emotions/Behavior: ApathyTags Finance / Money / Wealth, History: U.S., Leadership/Organization/Management, Philosophy, Business / Economics

Publication year -1Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Society: CommunityTags Philosophy, Politics / Government, Ancient Egypt, Classical Period

The Gorgias is a philosophical dialogue composed by Plato in the early fourth century BCE, probably in the early 380s. Set within the cultural and historical background of classical Athens, the Gorgias takes the form of a debate between Socrates and the orators Gorgias, Polus, and Callicles. The dialogue explores questions about The Nature and Social Function of Oratory, The Meaning of Right and Wrong, and The Purpose of Art, offering valuable insights into Athenian... Read Gorgias Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Fame, Identity: MasculinityTags Arts / Culture, Philosophy

Publication year 1785Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Society: CommunityTags Philosophy, Age of Enlightenment

Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785), also known as Grounding of the Metaphysics of Morals, is a work of modern philosophy by the philosopher Immanuel Kant. It is the first of his extensive writings on moral philosophy and attempts to establish a foundation for future works on moral theory. Kant believed that previous moral philosophers did not successfully define morality and argued that they based it too much on individual experiences. Groundwork of the... Read Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals Summary


Publication year 1212Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Natural World: Place, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality, Natural Disaster, Japanese Literature

Publication year 2015Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Natural World: Environment, Life/Time: The Future, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Science / Nature, History: World, Philosophy, Anthropology

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2015) is a work of popular science by Israeli writer, professor, and futurist Yuval Noah Harari. Published in multiple languages, it is a continuation of the work of Harari’s previous book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. While Sapiens contextualized the advents of modernity within humans’ evolutionary legacy, Homo Deus speculates about what lies in wait for humanity in the distant future. Harari grounds his discussion in an... Read Homo Deus Summary


Publication year 2013Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: EconomicsTags Business / Economics, Psychology, Self Help, Technology, Philosophy

Publication year 1955Genre Poem, FictionTags Philosophy, Relationships

Publication year 1891Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Lyric Poem, Philosophy, Romanticism / Romantic Period, Animals

Publication year 2022Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Identity: Mental HealthTags Philosophy, Humor, Self Help, Psychology

Publication year 2019Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Society: Economics, Natural World: Place, Society: Community, Natural World: Objects, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Philosophy, Technology, Arts / Culture, Self Help, Information Age

Publication year 2023Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Identity: Mental Health, Society: CommunityTags Psychology, Self Help, Relationships, Sociology, Leadership/Organization/Management, Philosophy

Publication year 1940Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Society: Education, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Self Help, Education, Philosophy

Publication year 2012Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Teams, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Marriage, Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Self DiscoveryTags Self Help, Business / Economics, Psychology, Philosophy, Leadership/Organization/Management

Publication year 2019Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Community, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags History: World, Psychology, Philosophy, Politics / Government, Sociology, Anthropology, Dutch Literature

Publication year 1923Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: Community, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality, Relationships, Existentialism, German literature

I and Thou is a book of existentialist philosophy composed by Martin Buber. First published in 1923, the book explores the meaning of human relationships, and how relationships bring us ever closer to God. Critics consider the book to be one of the most significant philosophical texts of the 20th century. Buber was a writer and philosopher best known for his contributions to religious existentialism and the philosophy of dialogue. Before World War II, Buber... Read I and Thou Summary


Publication year 1977Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Lyric Poem, Philosophy, Science / Nature, Latin American Literature, Animals

Publication year 1978Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Identity: Language, Identity: Mental HealthTags Health / Medicine, Philosophy, Science / Nature, Psychology

Susan Sontag’s 1978 book Illness as Metaphor is an 87-page work of critical theory exploring the language we use to describe disease and its victims. The work was originally published in the New York Review of Books as three long-form essays. Sontag wrote Illness as Metaphor while undergoing treatment for breast cancer, though not mentioned in the text. This genre—critical theoretical examinations of social and cultural events or phenomena—was where Sontag established her reputation. Illness... Read Illness As Metaphor Summary


Publication year 1977Genre Novel, FictionThemes Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality, Allegory / Fable / Parable, Inspirational

Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah was written in 1977 by American writer Richard Bach and is a philosophical novel that questions the nature of reality. This novel was a follow-up to Bach’s bestseller Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970), which has similar themes and imagery. Illusions suggests that all of reality is a construct of the imagination and can facilitate or hinder a person on their path to having the life that they want. One... Read Illusions Summary


Publication year 1916Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Society: CommunityTags Politics / Government, Philosophy, History: World, Poverty

Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: LonelinessTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Mental Illness, Depression / Suicide, Philosophy

In his 2016 psychological thriller I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Iain Reid writes about the struggles of depression, social anxiety, and loneliness. Jake, a former physics postdoctoral student and avid writer, works as a janitor in a rural high school. As he contemplates suicide, Jake fictionalizes his memories into a story with characters who represent different aspects of his identity as a way to help him make his decision. In addition to this narrative, Reid... Read I'm Thinking of Ending Things Summary


Publication year 1982Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Community, Identity: Femininity, Identity: MasculinityTags Psychology, Gender / Feminism, Philosophy, Women's Studies (Nonfiction), Sociology

Publication year 1933Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Beauty, Society: Globalization, Life/Time: The Future, Values/Ideas: ArtTags Philosophy, Arts / Culture, Japanese Literature

The essay “In Praise of Shadows” was originally published in 1933 in Japan and was written by the Japanese author Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (1886-1965). His work spanned a wide array of subjects, including the cultural impact of World War II, sexuality, and family relationships. He was especially interested in exploring the cultural differences between Japan and the West. Tanizaki was awarded Japan’s Imperial Prize in Literature in 1949 and wrote novels, short stories, essays, plays, and... Read In Praise of Shadows Summary


Publication year 1976Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Natural World: Place, Emotions/Behavior: RegretTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Fantasy, Gothic Literature, Arts / Culture, Depression / Suicide, Love / Sexuality, Relationships, Philosophy, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Interview With the Vampire is a 1976 novel by Anne Rice. It tells the story of Louis de Pointe du Lac and his experiences after he becomes a vampire in 1791. Louis’s dissatisfaction with his mortal life extends into his immortal life, allowing Rice to explore themes of morality, love, loyalty, and immortality. This guide references the 2010 Ballantine Books eBook.Content Warning: This guide references the book’s discussion of suicide.Plot SummaryWhen the novel begins, Louis... Read Interview With the Vampire Summary


Publication year 1919Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Allegory / Fable / Parable, German literature, Philosophy

“In the Penal Colony” is a short story by Franz Kafka that was written in the German language in 1914. It is an allegorical fantasy set in an unnamed, deserted colony. The story explores themes like the dynamics of Power and Control, the tension between Tradition and Conformity Versus Innovation and Progress, and the consequences of a Lack of Sense of Self and Belonging. The machine is a metaphor for the judicial system, which can... Read In the Penal Colony Summary


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Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: ArtTags Philosophy, Ancient Greece

Publication year 1958Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Business / Economics, Philosophy, Politics / Government

The essay “I, Pencil,” also known as “I, Pencil: My Family Tree as Told to Leonard E. Read,” was first published by the American businessman and libertarian advocate Leonard E. Read in 1958. The essay first appeared in The Freeman, a publication of the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEE), a think-tank he co-founded in 1946. Read was a staunch critic of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” an ambitious series of government policies and... Read I, Pencil Summary


Publication year 1992Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Natural World: EnvironmentTags Magical Realism, Philosophy

Ishmael is a philosophical novel by Daniel Quinn, published by Bantam/Turner books in 1992. Quinn is a prolific writer specializing in cultural critique, and Ishmael embraces many of the themes that Quinn explores in his other fiction and nonfiction works, such as sustainability and the mythology of human civilization. As a philosophical novel, the work follows a somewhat Socratic dialogue between an unnamed narrator and a telepathic gorilla, Ishmael, using rhetorical conventions to display and... Read Ishmael Summary


Publication year 1962Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: Colonialism, Society: Community, Society: Education, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Philosophy, Modern Classic Fiction

Publication year 1976Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Philosophy, Politics / Government, Military / War

Publication year 1990Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Identity: Gender, Society: CommunityTags Philosophy, Social Justice, Gender / Feminism

Originally published in 1990, Justice and the Politics of Difference is a nonfiction work in the field of political theory. The author, Iris Marion Young, uses critical theory to expose the shortcomings of distributive theories of justice and calls for the empowerment of oppressed and disadvantaged social groups. She cites the claims of new social movements, such as those for civil rights, as evidence of the inadequacy of the distributive model of justice. According to... Read Justice and The Politics of Difference Summary


Publication year 2001Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: EconomicsTags Philosophy, Politics / Government

Publication year 2022Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Nation, Society: Politics & Government, Society: WarTags Politics / Government, Leadership/Organization/Management, History: World, Business / Economics, Philosophy

Publication year 1782Genre Collection of Letters, NonfictionTags Philosophy, Action / Adventure

First published in 1782, J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur’s Letters from an American Farmer is widely regarded as one of the earliest examples of American literature and a highly-influential epistolary text that includes elements of both fiction and nonfiction.The first letter is a modest response to Mr. F.B.’s request that James write to him with information about life in America. In it, James expresses insecurity about his ability to complete such a task, wondering... Read Letters From An American Farmer Summary


Publication year -1Genre Collection of Letters, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Values/Ideas: FateTags Philosophy, Ancient Rome

Publication year 1615Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Space & The Universe, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags Philosophy, Science / Nature, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 1651Genre Book, NonfictionTags Philosophy

Leviathan is a work of political philosophy published in 1651 by English philosopher Thomas Hobbes. Written during the English Civil Wars of the 17th century, the book is enormously influential as a pioneering work of social contract theory, which dictates that citizens of a sovereign state consent to give up certain rights to authority figures in exchange for domestic order and protection from foreign invaders. Absent this contract with authority, Hobbes argues, humans will devolve... Read Leviathan Summary


Publication year 2017Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Natural World: Space & The Universe, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Philosophy, Business / Economics, Futurism

Publication year 2001Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Natural World: AnimalsTags Action / Adventure, Fantasy, Philosophy

Yann Martel’s Life of Pi is a Canadian philosophical novel and Booker Prize winner published in 2001. Yann Martel was born in Spain in 1963 to French-Canadian parents but spent his childhood in various countries including Costa Rica, France, Mexico, and Canada. Martel’s father was a diplomat who completed his PhD dissertation on Spanish writer Miguel de Unamuno at the University of Salamanca. Yann Martel studied philosophy at Trent University in Canada before becoming a... Read Life of Pi Summary


Publication year 1798Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Natural World: ObjectsTags Philosophy, Classic Fiction

Composed in the middle of July 1798, “Tintern Abbey” was the last poem submitted for the publication of Lyrical Ballads, which was already in the press at Bristol. As the coda to Lyrical Ballads, “Tintern Abbey” represents a pivotal modulation in Wordsworth’s poetic development and ambition, prefiguring much of his distinctive verse to follow. Its sustained meditative subjectivity, masterful control of tone, elevated theme, scale of conceptual development, and orchestrated musicality mark the convergence of... Read Tintern Abbey Summary


Publication year 2017Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Femininity, Identity: Sexuality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Identity: Gender, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags Philosophy, Gender / Feminism, Politics / Government, Women's Studies (Nonfiction), Social Justice

Publication year 1888Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Society: CommunityTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Philosophy

Looking Backward: 2000-1887 (1888) is a utopian science-fiction novel by Edward Bellamy. In 1887, Bellamy was a relatively unknown journalist and author from Massachusetts. However, after Looking Backward was published in 1888, he became famous. The novel is now considered the second best-selling American 19th-century novel after Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). Like Stowe’s novel, it owed its popularity to an urgent call for social change—in this case, labor reform. The novel follows... Read Looking Backward Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: CommunityTags Self Help, Psychology, Mental Illness, Health / Medicine, Sociology, Philosophy, Depression / Suicide

Publication year 1988Genre Poem, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: Politics & Government, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Lyric Poem, Immigration / Refugee, Philosophy, American Literature

Publication year 1924Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Philosophy

Publication year 1999Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Psychology, Philosophy, Sociology, History: World

Publication year 1798Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Identity: Femininity, Society: Education, Identity: Gender, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags Classic Fiction, Gender / Feminism, Philosophy, Gothic Literature

Publication year 1909Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Society: Education, Self Discovery, Society: CommunityTags Historical Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction, American Literature, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Arts / Culture, Class, Depression / Suicide, Education, Finance / Money / Wealth, Philosophy, Politics / Government, Poverty, Relationships, History: U.S.

Martin Eden is a 1909 novel by American author Jack London. Known for his stories of adventure and use of naturalism and realism, London authored more than 50 books, including Call of the Wild and White Fang, before his untimely death at age 40. London wrote Martin Eden at the height of his literary career, inspired by his own disillusionment with fame and literary critics. Although the protagonist’s individualist principles are at odds with London’s... Read Martin Eden Summary


Publication year 2012Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Education, Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Self Help, Psychology, Business / Economics, Philosophy, Leadership/Organization/Management

Publication year 180Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Fate, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Philosophy, Ancient Rome

Meditations is a collection of prose philosophical reflections and exercises composed in Koine Greek by Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who lived from 121-180 and ruled from 161-180. Though the precise dating of his compositions is unknown and they are not believed to be presented in chronological order, at least some of the books were written while he was on military campaign in the north of Europe during his reign. Scholars are generally in consensus that... Read Meditations Summary


Publication year 1641Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Philosophy, Age of Enlightenment, Religion / Spirituality

Meditations on First Philosophy is a philosophical treatise by René Descartes. Originally published in Latin in 1641, the text would go on to influence European and global philosophical traditions. In this work, Descartes argues for the existence of God and the immortality of the soul. Two of its major contributions to philosophy are mind/body dualism and the famous phrase “I think, therefore, I am.” The book comprises six meditations wherein Descartes seeks to doubt all... Read Meditations on First Philosophy Summary


Publication year -1Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Asian Literature, Chinese Literature, Philosophy

Mencius is a philosophical text based on the thought and teachings of fourth-century BCE Confucian Chinese philosopher Mencius, or Mengzi. According to the latest scholarship, written in the late fourth century BCE by Mencius’s disciples from notes on what Mencius said, it details conversations he had with various kings, rulers, and officials. These discussions cover a range of topics, from moral and political philosophy to human nature and selfhood. The following guide uses the translation... Read Mencius Summary


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