100 books like Nicomachean Ethics

By Aristotle, David Mills Daniel,

Here are 100 books that Nicomachean Ethics fans have personally recommended if you like Nicomachean Ethics. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Beyond Good And Evil

Felipe G.A. Moreira Author Of The Politics of Metaphysics

From my list on the relation between politics and metaphysics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philosophy post-doc at Unesp and a poet who has always felt that politics is not the exclusive business of politicians; that violence is not the exclusive business of warfare or of “vulgar” people, say, drunkards in bars. Violence, I have felt while doing philosophy in the USA, Brazil, Germany, and France, is likewise expressed by well-educated and apparently “peaceful” philosophers who are engaged in implicit politics and practice “subtle” violence. To handle the relation between politics and metaphysics is to do justice to this feeling. The Politics of Metaphysics, I hope, does that. I believe that though more tacitly, the same is done by this list’s books. 

Felipe's book list on the relation between politics and metaphysics

Felipe G.A. Moreira Why did Felipe love this book?

What I love about this book is the fact that it indicates that an apparently apolitical metaphilosophical assumption agrees with an upfront right-wing policy.

The assumption is that when tackling disputes in metaphysics, philosophers should aim to achieve consensus. The policy is that of pressing one to respect the allegedly rationally undeniable standards of a “herd,” as Nietzsche puts it. While problematizing this view, Nietzsche argues that libertarian tendencies of expressing one’s uniqueness are more valuable than more egalitarian tendencies of following herds; to provoke dissensus would then be more valuable than to reach consensus.

This stance has influenced me, even though while problematizing Nietzsche’s works through Carnap’s (and vice-versa), I claim that libertarian and egalitarian tendencies are equally valuable so that one should aim for a balance between them.

By Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Beyond Good And Evil as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Unabridged English value reproduction of Beyond Good And Evilby Friedrich Nietzsche and translated by Helen Zimmern. This philosophical classic is a must read because of its fearless approach to how knowledge is formed.

Beyond Good And Evil asks, is truth absolute? Do humans invent ways to fortify already held views or truly seek the truth? Are the powerful more ‘right’ than the weak? Or is Nietzsche writing down page after page to hear himself talk?

Let the reader decide in this slim volume with full text and footnotes, produced at an affordable price.


PREFACE              3

Book cover of Meaning in Life and Why It Matters

Todd May Author Of A Significant Life: Human Meaning in a Silent Universe

From my list on what makes a life meaningful.

Why am I passionate about this?

Todd May has been teaching philosophy for over thirty years. He is the author of sixteen books of philosophy, many of which have been praised for their clarity and relevance to people reflecting on their lives. He was also a philosophical advisor to the hit television sit-com The Good Place.

Todd's book list on what makes a life meaningful

Todd May Why did Todd love this book?

This is the most influential book on my own thinking about meaningfulness in life. Wolf's idea that a meaningful life is distinct from both a happy life and a moral one—although there can be overlapping with these—is both simple and profound. And, unlike many contemporary philosophers, her writing is clear and accessible.

By Susan Wolf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Meaning in Life and Why It Matters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Most people, including philosophers, tend to classify human motives as falling into one of two categories: the egoistic or the altruistic, the self-interested or the moral. According to Susan Wolf, however, much of what motivates us does not comfortably fit into this scheme. Often we act neither for our own sake nor out of duty or an impersonal concern for the world. Rather, we act out of love for objects that we rightly perceive as worthy of love--and it is these actions that give meaning to our lives. Wolf makes a compelling case that, along with happiness and morality, this…

Book cover of Existentialism Is a Humanism

Lee Braver Author Of Heidegger: Thinking of Being

From my list on everything you want to know on existentialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of philosophy because when I got to college, philosophy sounded like what Gandalf would study—the closest thing we have to the study of magic. It turns out, I wasn’t far from the mark. Philosophy shows you entire dimensions to the world that you never noticed because they exist at weird angles, and you have to change your way of thinking to see them. Entering them and seeing the world from those perspectives transforms everything. A great work of philosophy is like having the lights turn on in an annex of your mind you didn’t know was there, like an out-of-mind experience—or perhaps, an in-your-mind-for-the-first-time experience.

Lee's book list on everything you want to know on existentialism

Lee Braver Why did Lee love this book?

This short talk has become one of the defining texts of existentialism. We have no essence, no purpose, no reason to be, and this both frees us and dooms us: we are doomed to be free. The heavy responsibility for creating meaning is placed firmly on our shoulders. Most people find the burden too heavy to bear and seek relief through what Sartre calls “bad faith,” which he spends much time detailing. You will recognize yourself somewhere in there. Sartre tells us there’s nothing we can do about this, but we can do nothing—we can embrace this nothingness and create a meaning for ourselves. 

By Jean-Paul Sartre, Carol Macomber (translator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Existentialism Is a Humanism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It was to correct common misconceptions about his thought that Jean-Paul Sartre, the most dominent European intellectual of the post-World War II decades, accepted an invitation to speak on October 29, 1945, at the Club Maintenant in Paris. The unstated objective of his lecture ("Existentialism Is a Humanism") was to expound his philosophy as a form of "existentialism," a term much bandied about at the time. Sartre asserted that existentialism was essentially a doctrine for philosophers, though, ironically, he was about to make it accessible to a general audience. The published text of his lecture quickly became one of the…

Book cover of Memoirs of Hadrian

Larry Mellman Author Of The Man With Sapphire Eyes

From my list on historical fiction with a twist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved historical fiction as a reader, but my passion to write it caught fire during the years I lived in Venice, Italy, when I discovered the curious institution of the ballot boy within the Byzantine complexities of the thousand-year Venetian Republic. Since ballot boys were randomly chosen over a period of six hundred years, choosing my particular Doge and ballot boy required a survey of the entire field before I circled in on Venice, 1368, IMHO the peak brilliance of that maritime empire. It is a peculiarity of history that the names of all 130 doges of Venice are recorded, but none of their ballot boys are mentioned. The challenge was irresistible. 

Larry's book list on historical fiction with a twist

Larry Mellman Why did Larry love this book?

It’s not Hadrian’s love affair with the beautiful boy Antinous that swept me off my feet, nor the way Hadrian makes him a god after his mysterious death and builds a city dedicated to worshiping him.

That’s only a small part of a book overflowing with the emperor’s interior life, his fears and doubts and dreams. Yourcenar spent most of her life on and off writing this book, her life’s work. Filled with the exhilaration and perplexity of achieving absolute power and then holding onto it, we experience Hadrian as a profoundly paradoxical genius from the inside out. 

By Marguerite Yourcenar, Grace Frick,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Memoirs of Hadrian as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Framed as a letter from the Roman Emperor Hadrian to his successor, Marcus Aurelius, Marguerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian is translated from the French by Grace Frick with an introduction by Paul Bailey in Penguin Modern Classics.

In her magnificent novel, Marguerite Yourcenor recreates the life and death of one of the great rulers of the ancient world. The Emperor Hadrian, aware his demise is imminent, writes a long valedictory letter to Marcus Aurelius, his future successor. The Emperor meditates on his past, describing his accession, military triumphs, love of poetry and music, and the philosophy that informed his powerful…

Book cover of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

Francesco Orsi Author Of The Guise of the Good: A Philosophical History

From my list on whether humans pursue the good and avoid the bad.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a philosopher based in Tartu, Estonia. In my work I’ve always been interested in value and value judgments, and how value gets us to act, sometimes, though by no means always. But only recently have I become puzzled by what happens when value motivates us the wrong way, as when we are drawn to something (an action, an event) for its badness, not for its goodness. And that’s how I gradually uncovered the fascinating, centuries-long philosophical (and sometimes literary) history narrated in my book and partially represented in the booklist. 

Francesco's book list on whether humans pursue the good and avoid the bad

Francesco Orsi Why did Francesco love this book?

Aristotle is an obligatory milestone in the history of the main idea of my book: all desire the good or the apparent good.

The Nicomachean Ethics also provides a gallery of interesting and puzzling characters: the akratic, who wants the good but, being weak, goes for what they know to be worse; or the outright vicious, who wholeheartedly chooses the bad, but still under the guise of the good, being misled by pleasant associations with the wrong things.

By Aristotle, Robert C. Bartlett (translator), Susan D. Collins (translator)

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The Nicomachean Ethics", along with its sequel, "the Politics", is Aristotle's most widely read and influential work. Ideas central to ethics - that happiness is the end of human endeavor, that moral virtue is formed through action and habituation, and that good action requires prudence - found their most powerful proponent in the person medieval scholars simply called 'the Philosopher'. Drawing on their intimate knowledge of Aristotle's thought, Robert C. Bartlett and Susan D. Collins have produced here an English-language translation of the Ethics that is as remarkably faithful to the original as it is graceful in its rendering. Aristotle…

Book cover of Oxford Physics in the Thirteenth Century: (Ca. 1250-1270) Motion, Infinity, Place and Time

Peter Adamson Author Of Medieval Philosophy: A History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, Volume 4

From my list on a fresh approach to medieval philosophy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a professor of philosophy in Munich who has been working on various aspects of medieval philosophy for nearly three decades. My own research is on philosophy in the Islamic world but I've always been fascinated by philosophy in medieval Christian Europe. What I find most interesting is the way medieval philosophy constantly overturns our expectations: we imagine that this was a deeply conservative and highly controlled society where it was almost impossible to explore new ideas. Yet, it was an incredibly diverse and innovative time in the history of human thought. Thanks to my History of Philosophy podcast project I had the chance to delve deeply into medieval philosophy in Latin Christendom.

Peter's book list on a fresh approach to medieval philosophy

Peter Adamson Why did Peter love this book?

This book is perhaps aimed more at specialist scholars but I wanted to suggest it nonetheless because it does such a good job of getting across three important points about medieval philosophy. First, it is not about theology but physics so shows the thematic range of medieval philosophy. Second, it is mostly about works by philosophers who are anonymous: Trifogli talks about commentaries on Aristotle with no names attached to them. It turns out there are many, many such works and they tend to be overlooked even though they are innovative, simply because we have no name to put to the ideas. Third, it’s clear throughout the book that these commentators were responding to philosophers from the Islamic world, especially Ibn Rushd (Averroes). So it illustrates the relevance of cross-cultural contacts for medieval thought.

By Cecilia Trifogli,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Oxford Physics in the Thirteenth Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This volume deals with the reception of Aristotle's natural philosophy in Oxford between 1250 and 1270. It examines a group of ten unedited commentaries on Aristotle's Physics.
This book consists of four main chapters devoted respectively to the concepts of motion, infinity, place, and time. Topics included are the question about the nature of motion, the discussion of the actual infinity in numbers, the relation between Aristotle's concepts of place in the Physics and in the Categories, the debate about the reality and the unicity of time.
This book offers a comprehensive philosophical analysis of a hitherto unexplored phase of…

Book cover of Memory, History, Forgetting

Guy Beiner Author Of Forgetful Remembrance: Social Forgetting and Vernacular Historiography of a Rebellion in Ulster

From my list on forgetting.

Why am I passionate about this?

Guy Beiner specializes in the history of social remembering in the late modern era. An interest in Irish folklore and oral traditions as historical sources led him to explore folk memory, which in turn aroused an interest in forgetting. He examines the many ways in which communities recall their past, as well as how they struggle with the urge to supress troublesome memories of discomfiting episodes.

Guy's book list on forgetting

Guy Beiner Why did Guy love this book?

A landmark philosophical tome, which argues for the ‘imbrication of forgetting in memory’. The disentangling of the complex relationships between history, memory and forgetting raises ethical questions about abuses of memory and interrogates the connection between forgetting and forgiving.

By Paul Ricoeur,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A landmark work, "Memory, History, Forgetting" examines the reciprocal relationship between remembering and forgetting, revealing how this symbiosis influences both the perception of historical experience and the production of historical narrative. A momentous achievement in Ricoeur's career, this book provides the crucial link between his "Time and Narrative" and "Oneself as Another", and his recent reflections on ethics and the problems of responsibility and representation.

Book cover of The Story of Philosophy

Peter S. Fosl Author Of The Philosopher's Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods

From my list on starting out in philosophy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a philosopher who’s taught mostly undergraduates for over thirty years at small liberal arts colleges in the US, and I’ve held research fellowships at the University of Edinburgh and Williams College. I’ve co-authored three “toolkit” books – The Philosopher’s Toolkit, The Ethics Toolkit, and The Critical Thinking Toolkit. My more scholarly work, however, has focused on skepticism, for example in Hume’s Scepticism. I also like to write about pop culture, especially for collections like my Big Lebowski and Philosophy. Fundamentally, though, I’m just a lover of dialectic and an explorer in the world of ideas. Nothing, for me, is more enjoyable.

Peter's book list on starting out in philosophy

Peter S. Fosl Why did Peter love this book?

Magee’s splendid introductory book is my go-to recommendation for those who wish to enter the world of philosophical ideas. Yes, it’s old-school in the sense that it can be annoyingly androcentric and Eurocentric. A supplement like Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting’s remarkable Philosopher Queens or Julian Baggini’s volume below should be read in tandem. Having said that, however, no one else pulls together the history of western philosophy with terse, informative, and fascinating accounts of important figures and schools as well as Magee. Plus, Magee’s text luxuriates amidst the lush, generous, and illuminating visuals that make Dorling Kindersley volumes so voluptuous. 

By Bryan Magee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Explore 2,500 years of Western philosophy, from the ancient Greeks to modern thinkers, with this ultimate guide's stunning and simple approach to some of history's biggest ideas.

This essential guide to philosophy includes thoughts on our modern society, exploring science and democracy, and posing the question: where do we go from here?

Easy-to-understand text is accompanied by works of art and artifacts from history, as the big ideas and important thinkers are introduced through time. Famous quotes are highlighted, and the sidebars discuss other ideas or key works to include extra context around the theories and people.

Celebrate the world's…

Book cover of Aristotle's Politics

Rebecca Kingston Author Of Plutarch's Prism: Classical Reception and Public Humanism in France and England, 1500-1800

From my list on why politics matter.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a student of the history of ideas, with a particular interest in political thought, for over forty years. I have read countless books, both ancient and modern, and in several languages, that explore themes related to public life. I am a dedicated citizen of a contemporary liberal democracy, but today, I live in fear of a growing backlash against liberal democracy. The risk of democratic backsliding in the contemporary US is real as citizens become more disillusioned with politics. In other liberal democracies, some party leaders are adopting populist rhetoric to enhance their electoral appeal, but in doing so, they are undermining some of the established norms of public life. 

Rebecca's book list on why politics matter

Rebecca Kingston Why did Rebecca love this book?

Aristotle offers a classic statement and argument for politics as an extension of ethics. For people to live well and strive for good things, they need to live in a political community. How politics is done has a direct impact on the quality of people’s lives.

am always inspired by Aristotle’s recognition of how peaceful discussions over the nature of justice constitute the central feature of political life and how good politics necessarily implies reciprocity and efforts to advance the well-being of all citizens.

By Aristotle, Carnes Lord (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Aristotle's Politics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the fundamental works of Western political thought, Aristotle's masterwork is the first systematic treatise on the science of politics. For almost three decades, Carnes Lord's justly acclaimed translation has served as the standard English edition. Widely regarded as the most faithful to both the original Greek and Aristotle's distinctive style, it is also written in clear, contemporary English. This new edition of the Politics retains and adds to Lord's already extensive notes, clarifying the flow of Aristotle's argument and identifying literary and historical references. A glossary defines key terms in Aristotle's philosophical-political vocabulary. Lord has made revisions to…

Book cover of Stoicism: A Very Short Introduction

Chuck Chakrapani Author Of Unshakable Freedom: Ancient Stoic Secrets Applied to Modern Life

From my list on Stoicism for beginners.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the Editor of the free online magazine The Stoic and the author of some twenty books on Stoicism. My day job is President, Leger Analytics, and I am also a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University. I am not a professional philosopher. I study and write about Stoicism because it helps us to live better, free of fear, anxiety, worry, or anger.

Chuck's book list on Stoicism for beginners

Chuck Chakrapani Why did Chuck love this book?

If you read the three books mentioned above, you will get a very good idea about Stoicism and how it can help you to lead a better life. But these books do not give a comprehensive overall picture of Stoic philosophy. They tend to ignore many aspects of Stoicism. If you want to have a good overall understanding of Stoic philosophy without having to spend a lot of time or money, get this book. In just 152 pages, Brad Inwood, a distinguished Stoic scholar, gives a clear account of what Stoicism is all about. If you are serious about Stoicism, at some point you need to have a reasonable understanding of what Stoicism actually was and is. You can find no better introduction to Stoicism than this.

This book is so concise, comprehensive, and clear, there’s no other book that directly competes with this one.

By Brad Inwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stoicism is two things: a long past philosophical school of ancient Greece and Rome, and an enduring philosophical movement that still inspires people in the twenty-first century to re-think and re-organize their lives in order to achieve personal satisfaction. What is the connection between them?

This Very Short Introduction provides an introductory account of Stoic philosophy, and tells the story of how ancient Stoicism survived and evolved into the movement we see today. Exploring the roots of the school in the philosophy of fourth century BCE Greece, Brad Inwood examines its basic history and doctrines and its relationship to the…

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