100 books like Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

By David Hume, Richard H. Popkin (editor),

Here are 100 books that Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion fans have personally recommended if you like Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Tetralogue

By Timothy Williamson,

Book cover of Tetralogue: I'm Right, You're Wrong

Gordon Barnes Author Of How Do You Know? A Dialogue

From the list on philosophy written as engaging dialogues.

Who am I?

I am Associate Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Brockport. I have been teaching and writing philosophy for over 20 years. I have published articles in professional journals on a wide range of subjects, from epistemology to philosophy of religion and political philosophy. I think that philosophy, at its best, is a good conversation, in which people give reasons for their views, and listen to others give reasons for theirs. That’s the best way for human beings to think about philosophical questions. That’s why I love philosophical dialogues—they do philosophy in a way that embodies what philosophy is, at its very best.

Gordon's book list on philosophy written as engaging dialogues

Why did Gordon love this book?

This book grabs your attention right from the start. Four people are on a train, and one of them believes in witches. That’s crazy, right? (The witches part, not the train part.) But can you prove that he is wrong? One character trusts science, and only science. Another is a relativist, who believes that each person’s opinion is “true for them.” And then there is the annoying young philosopher, who is just as irritating as she is logical. This is a great book about truth, knowledge, fallibility, and tolerance. Timothy Williamson is one of the best philosophers alive today, and yet this book is accessible and engaging for anyone who wants to think about fundamental questions. The characters are compelling, and the writing is witty and fun.

By Timothy Williamson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tetralogue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Four people with radically different outlooks on the world meet on a train and start talking about what they believe. Their conversation varies from cool logical reasoning to heated personal confrontation. Each starts off convinced that he or she is right, but then doubts creep in.

In a tradition going back to Plato, Timothy Williamson uses a fictional conversation to explore questions about truth and falsity, and knowledge and belief. Is truth always relative to a point of view? Is every opinion fallible? Such ideas have been used to combat dogmatism and intolerance, but are they compatible with taking each…


The Grasshopper

By Bernard Suits, Frank Newfeld (illustrator),

Book cover of The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia

Joanne B. Ciulla Author Of The Working Life: The Promise and Betrayal of Modern Work

From the list on reads when your job is ruining your life.

Who am I?

At one point in my life, I took Ph.D. classes in the morning, taught philosophy in the afternoon, and tended bar at night. I was always working, and money was tight. Then, one day at a faculty meeting, my colleagues and I discussed developing an appealing new course. I suggested one on the philosophy of work and ended up teaching it and writing my dissertation on work and moral values. I loved teaching the class to the part-time students. They came to class straight from work and shared their experiences. Those students taught me more about work than any book in the library. Years later, I wrote The Working Life.

Joanne's book list on reads when your job is ruining your life

Why did Joanne love this book?

This is a wise and witty philosophical reflection on the meaning of games and life. Suits asks: If we didn’t ever have to work again, would we have to replace work with things like the housebuilding game or the lawyer game? If so, would the game about work satisfy the need to work?

By Bernard Suits, Frank Newfeld (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Grasshopper as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the mid twentieth century the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein famously asserted that games are indefinable; there are no common threads that link them all. "Nonsense," said the sensible Bernard Suits: "playing a game is a voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles." The short book Suits wrote demonstrating precisely that is as playful as it is insightful, as stimulating as it is delightful. Through the jocular voice of Aesop's Grasshopper, a "shiftless but thoughtful practitioner of applied entomology," Suits not only argues that games can be meaningfully defined; he also suggests that playing games is a central part of the ideal…


Book cover of A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality

Gordon Barnes Author Of How Do You Know? A Dialogue

From the list on philosophy written as engaging dialogues.

Who am I?

I am Associate Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Brockport. I have been teaching and writing philosophy for over 20 years. I have published articles in professional journals on a wide range of subjects, from epistemology to philosophy of religion and political philosophy. I think that philosophy, at its best, is a good conversation, in which people give reasons for their views, and listen to others give reasons for theirs. That’s the best way for human beings to think about philosophical questions. That’s why I love philosophical dialogues—they do philosophy in a way that embodies what philosophy is, at its very best.

Gordon's book list on philosophy written as engaging dialogues

Why did Gordon love this book?

This book singlehandedly revived the dialogue as a genre for contemporary philosophy, and it is now something of a modern classic. As the title indicates, the subject of the dialogue is personal identity and the possibility of life after death. The protagonist, Gretchen Weirob, is terminally ill. Gretchen believes that death will be the end of her existence—that there is no life after death. Her good friend, Sam Miller, disagrees, and he sets out to persuade Gretchen that life after death is possible. They quickly discover that the answer to this question depends on the nature of personal identity. Over the course of three nights, they explore the main theories of personal identity, and the implications of each of them for the possibility of life after death.  

By John Perry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Perry's excellent dialogue makes a complicated topic stimulating and accessible without any sacrifice of scholarly accuracy or thoroughness. Professionals will appreciate the work's command of the issues and depth of argument, while students will find that it excites interest and imagination. --David M. Rosenthal, CUNY, Lehman College


Phaedo

By Plato, G.M.A. Grube (translator),

Book cover of Phaedo

Gordon Barnes Author Of How Do You Know? A Dialogue

From the list on philosophy written as engaging dialogues.

Who am I?

I am Associate Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Brockport. I have been teaching and writing philosophy for over 20 years. I have published articles in professional journals on a wide range of subjects, from epistemology to philosophy of religion and political philosophy. I think that philosophy, at its best, is a good conversation, in which people give reasons for their views, and listen to others give reasons for theirs. That’s the best way for human beings to think about philosophical questions. That’s why I love philosophical dialogues—they do philosophy in a way that embodies what philosophy is, at its very best.

Gordon's book list on philosophy written as engaging dialogues

Why did Gordon love this book?

The philosopher Alfred North Whitehead once said that all of Western philosophy is a footnote to Plato. That might be an exaggeration, but not by much. One of the greatest features of Plato’s philosophy is that he wrote almost entirely in the form of dialogues. His writings modeled the idea that philosophy is an ongoing conversation between different points of view. They also modeled the idea that philosophy is an exchange of reasons, in pursuit of the truth. Plato wrote many great dialogues, every one of them worth reading, but the Phaedo is my favorite. In this dialogue, Plato comes out of the closet as, well, a Platonist, and whether you agree or disagree, it’s a wild ride.  

By Plato, G.M.A. Grube (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Phaedo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A first rate translation at a reasonable price. --Michael Rohr, Rutgers University


Book cover of A Treatise of Human Nature

Steven Pinker Author Of Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters

From the list on rationality and why it matters.

Who am I?

I’m a Harvard professor of psychology and a cognitive scientist who’s interested in all aspects of language, mind, and human nature. I grew up in Montreal, but have lived most of my adult life in the Boston area, bouncing back and forth between Harvard and MIT except for stints in California as a professor at Stanford and sabbatical visitor in Santa Barbara and now, Berkeley. I alternate between books on language (how it works, what it reveals about human nature, what makes for clear and stylish writing) and books on the human mind and human condition (how the mind works, why violence has declined, how progress can take place).

Steven's book list on rationality and why it matters

Why did Steven love this book?

When I wrote Rationality, I mentioned Hume 32 times. He didn’t think of everything, but he explained an astonishing range of topics related to rationality, including causation versus correlation, is versus ought, and individual versus collective self-interest.

His follow-up, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, explained why we shouldn’t believe in miracles. He explored all of these topics with clarity and wit, putting modern academic writing to shame.

By David Hume,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Treatise of Human Nature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"One of the greatest of all philosophical works, covering knowledge, imagination, emotion, morality, and justice." — Baroness Warnock, The List
Published in the mid-18th century and received with indifference (it "fell dead-born from the press," noted the author), David Hume's comprehensive three-volume A Treatise of Human Nature has withstood the test of time and has had enormous impact on subsequent philosophical thought. Hume — whom Kant famously credited with having "interrupted my dogmatic slumber and gave my investigations in the field of speculative philosophy a quite new direction" — intended this work as an observationally grounded study of human nature.…


The Perennial Philosophy

By Aldous Huxley (editor),

Book cover of The Perennial Philosophy

Oagis Revilo Author Of Spirituality Why Give a ****

From the list on helping to leggo that ego.

Who am I?

Admittedly, I’m just a painfully average Joe, but therein lies the paradoxical aptness of my credentials. Like most people, I wasn’t raised specially educated or trained, fed by a spiritual spoon. Instead, my qualifications arise from transitioning out of the common, materialistically driven, atheistic perspective to see the contrasting light of the other side. What was originally a drive for self-development has evolved into a passion for spirituality, which inevitably arises if one introspects long enough. These past few years, I’ve been motivated to try and make more sense out of this senseless topic with the intent of sharing its value with others. 

Oagis' book list on helping to leggo that ego

Why did Oagis love this book?

This is a thought-provoking book that explores the common themes and mystical experiences found in different religions and spiritual traditions.

Huxley's writing style is engaging and his ability to express complex ideas in an accessible manner makes the book an enjoyable and informative read for both the spiritual and secular. By examining the shared mystical theme spanning all religions, the book helps bridge their varying differences.

Its perspective on this common spiritual essence reinforces and helps me connect to what I would consider a universal truth. 

By Aldous Huxley (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Perennial Philosophy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An inspired gathering of religious writings that reveals the "divine reality" common to all faiths, collected by Aldous Huxley

"The Perennial Philosophy," Aldous Huxley writes, "may be found among the traditional lore of peoples in every region of the world, and in its fully developed forms it has a place in every one of the higher religions."

With great wit and stunning intellect—drawing on a diverse array of faiths, including Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Christian mysticism, and Islam—Huxley examines the spiritual beliefs of various religious traditions and explains how they are united by a common human yearning to experience the…


Natural Goodness

By Philippa Foot,

Book cover of Natural Goodness

Alan E. Johnson Author Of Reason and Human Ethics

From the list on a rational approach to ethics.

Who am I?

Since I was a teenager, I have thought about the connection between reason and ethics. This preoccupation was present during my formal education (A.B. and A.M., University of Chicago; J.D., Cleveland State University), during my three decades as a practicing lawyer, and, finally, as an independent philosopher during more than a decade of retirement from law practice. My book Reason and Human Ethics is the culmination of my reflection about this philosophical issue. The books I have recommended have been among those references that have been most helpful to me in formulating my own conclusions, though my own views are not identical with those of any other writing.

Alan's book list on a rational approach to ethics

Why did Alan love this book?

Phillipa Foot (1920–2010) was one of the founders of the neo-Aristotelian school called “virtue ethics.” In her book Natural Goodness, Foot argues that the is-ought (fact-value) dichotomy of modern philosophy is inapplicable to biological entities, because the “is” of living beings necessarily involves the “ought” of goal-directed (teleological) behavior. This is especially true of human beings, who possess reason as a guide to moral action. Foot rejects the view of many modern thinkers that ethics is only about one’s duties to others. She reinstates the Aristotelian concept that ethics also involves such self-regarding virtues as moderation and wisdom. I agree with Foot’s basic principles, though not necessarily with all the details of her applications.

By Philippa Foot,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Natural Goodness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Philippa Foot has for many years been one of the most distinctive and influential thinkers in moral philosophy. Long dissatisfied with the moral theories of her contemporaries, she has gradually evolved a theory of her own that is radically opposed not only to emotivism and prescriptivism but also to the whole subjectivist, anti-naturalist movement deriving from David Hume. Dissatisfied also with both Kantian and utilitarian ethics, she claims to have isolated a
special form of evaluation that predicates goodness and defect only to living things considered as such: she finds this form of evaluation in moral judgements. Her vivid discussion…


Book cover of Fact, Fiction, and Forecast

Harry Collins Author Of Gravity's Kiss: The Detection of Gravitational Waves

From the list on making reality.

Who am I?

The big question that was the basis of my career was ‘When someone says “hello” to you, how do you know you should say “hello” back?’ Ever since I heard that question as a young student, I have been trying to understand the answer. The question has taken me through philosophy, sociology, and the most exciting, detailed studies of scientific research. What more could one want in terms of an interesting life?  I hope that if you read Gravity’s Kiss, you’ll see that it is answering a philosophical question as well as a scientific question.

Harry's book list on making reality

Why did Harry love this book?

The philosophical key to getting yourself estranged from the everyday is the famous ‘problem of induction’, which goes back to the philosopher David Hume, and asks why we expect things to carry on in the same way: might my garden be a fiery pit next time I open the front door? 

Nelson Goodman invented a new version of the problem – ‘the new riddle of induction’. This book might come across as a bit technical, but the general drift of the new riddle is that every bit of evidence and experience we have for the grass being green is also a bit of evidence and experience for it being ‘grue’ – roughly ‘green every time I’ve seen it but blue tomorrow;’ think about it!  You can extend this argument as much as you like, and Goodman takes us through the counterpart colour ‘bleen’. Goodman thinks our expectations of stability are…

By Nelson Goodman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fact, Fiction, and Forecast as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here, in a new edition, is Nelson Goodman's provocative philosophical classic-a book that, according to Science, "raised a storm of controversy" when it was first published in 1954, and one that remains on the front lines of philosophical debate.

How is it that we feel confident in generalizing from experience in some ways but not in others? How are generalizations that are warranted to be distinguished from those that are not? Goodman shows that these questions resist formal solution and his demonstration has been taken by nativists like Chomsky and Fodor as proof that neither scientific induction nor ordinary learning…


Capital of the Mind

By James Buchan,

Book cover of Capital of the Mind: How Edinburgh Changed the World

Ritchie Robertson Author Of The Enlightenment: The Pursuit of Happiness, 1680-1790

From the list on the Enlightenment.

Who am I?

In 2021 I retired as Schwarz-Taylor Professor of German at Oxford. For many years I had been interested not only in German literature but in European literature and culture more broadly, particularly in the eighteenth century. Oxford is a centre of Enlightenment research, being the site of the Voltaire Foundation, where a team of scholars has just finished editing the complete works of Voltaire. When in 2013 I was asked to write a book on the Enlightenment, I realized that I had ideal resources to hand – though I also benefited from a year’s leave spent at Göttingen, the best place in Germany to study the eighteenth century. 

Ritchie's book list on the Enlightenment

Why did Ritchie love this book?

Edinburgh, the principal centre of the Scottish Enlightenment (though flanked by Glasgow and Aberdeen), saw an extraordinary concentration of creative intellectuals who met to debate the principles of society, history, economics, and philosophy. They included David Hume, who made epoch-making contributions to all these subjects, and Adam Smith, who after giving up his chair at Glasgow lived nearby at Kirkcaldy writing The Wealth of Nations. Buchan not only recreates the intellectual atmosphere but shows how the failure of the 1745 Rebellion prompted Scotland to become a rapidly modernizing society.

By James Buchan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Capital of the Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the early 18th century, Edinburgh was a filthy backwater town synonymous with poverty and disease. Yet by century's end, it had become the marvel of modern Europe, home to the finest minds of the day and their breathtaking innovations in architecture, politics, science, the arts, and economies - all of which continues to echo loudly today. Adam Smith penned "The Wealth of Nations". James Boswell produced "The Life of Samuel Johnson". Alongside them, pioneers such as David Hume, Robert Burns, James Hutton, and Sir Walter Scott transformed the way we understand our perceptions and feelings, sickness and health, relations…


Administrative Behavior

By Herbert A. Simon,

Book cover of Administrative Behavior

Ananish Chaudhuri Author Of Experiments in Economics: Playing Fair with Money

From the list on emotions and economic decisions.

Who am I?

I am Professor of Experimental Economics at the University of Auckland where my work lies at the interface of economics and psychology. In a discipline (and a world) that tends to emphasize human self-interest, I have always been interested in our willingness to engage in unselfish behavior. Incentivized decision-making experiments with human participants where payments depend on the nature of their decisions are a powerful way of analyzing behavior. Are people willing to put their money where their mouth is? My background running experiments made me well-positioned to study some of these questions; a lot of them in collaboration with other social scientists including psychologists and political scientists. 

Ananish's book list on emotions and economic decisions

Why did Ananish love this book?

To a large extent, the research agenda that is subsumed under the rubric of “behavioral economics” started with the idea of bounded rationality and the departures from the utility maximizing model of economics.

Many of the ideas pursued in this line of work owe their origin to the work of Herbert Simon, whose doctorate was in political science from Chicago in 1943 but who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1978 for combining ideas from mathematics, psychology, economics, and computer science to understand decision making in large organizations. This is not to suggest that none of this was known before.

In fact, some people consider Adam Smith to be the first behavioral economist for his work The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which incorporates ideas from David Hume that it is passion (or emotions) that drive human behavior rather than deliberative reasoning. But, by and large, Simon’s work provided…

By Herbert A. Simon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Administrative Behavior as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this fourth edition of his ground-breaking work, Herbert A. Simon applies his pioneering theory of human choice and administrative decision-making to concrete organizational problems. To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the book's original publication, Professor Simon enhances his timeless observations on the human decision-making process with commentaries examining new facets of organizational behavior. Investigating the impact of changing social values and modem technology on the operation of organizations, the new ideas featured in this revised edition update a book that has become a worldwide classic.
Named by Public Administration Review as "Book of the Half Century," Administrative Behavior is…


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