100 books like Phaedo

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

Here are 100 books that Phaedo fans have personally recommended if you like Phaedo. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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

Gordon Barnes Author Of How Do You Know? A Dialogue

From my list on philosophy written as engaging dialogues.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Gordon Barnes 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…


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 my list on reads when your job is ruining your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Joanne B. Ciulla 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 my list on philosophy written as engaging dialogues.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Gordon Barnes 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


Book cover of Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

Gordon Barnes Author Of How Do You Know? A Dialogue

From my list on philosophy written as engaging dialogues.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Gordon Barnes Why did Gordon love this book?

This book is a classic in the philosophy of religion. The great Scottish philosopher, and noted skeptic, David Hume, did not dare publish this book during his lifetime. He gave careful instructions to have it published after his death, and so it was first published in 1779. More than two centuries later, philosophers are still debating the merits of Hume’s arguments. What makes this book so great is that Hume does not straw man his opponents’ arguments. Instead, the characters in Hume’s dialogue state the traditional arguments for the existence of God extremely well. Only then, after they have stated the arguments so well, does Hume’s protagonist, Philo, proceed to attack those arguments with the objections for which he is now legendary.  

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

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hume's brilliant and dispassionate essay Of Miracles has been added in this expanded edition of his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion , which also includes Of the Immortality of the Soul,Of Suicide, and Richard Popkin's illuminating Introduction.


Book cover of Plato: Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo

Scott Soames Author Of The World Philosophy Made: From Plato to the Digital Age

From my list on western philosophy: what it is and how to do it.

Why am I passionate about this?

A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, I was educated at Stanford and MIT. I taught for four years at Yale and 24 years at Princeton before moving to USC, where I am Chair of the Philosophy Department. I specialize in the Philosophy of Language, History of Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Law. I have published many articles, authored fifteen books, co-authored two, and co-edited two. I am fascinated by philosophy's enduring role in our individual and collective lives, impressed by its ability to periodically reinvent itself, and challenged to bring what it has to offer to more students and to the broader culture.

Scott's book list on western philosophy: what it is and how to do it

Scott Soames Why did Scott love this book?

These dialogues introduce the ideas that gave birth to western philosophy and its contributions to civilization. Providing the foundations of rational thought and theoretical knowledge in multiple domains, Greek philosophers, especially Socrates and Plato, imbued the search for truth with the urgency of both a personal, and a communal, quest for meaning. Just as the advances of Greek mathematics required concepts that are precisely defined or rigorously governed by axioms, so, the dialogues teach, advances in our knowledge of the world, and of ourselves, require well-regulated concepts like truth, knowledge, justice, virtue, and happiness. In these dialogues, we see the birth of philosophy's two great projects--providing concepts needed to advance theoretical knowledge in every domain and charting the path to wisdom in leading a good and meaningful life.

By John M. Cooper, G.M.A. Grube, Plato

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The second edition of Five Dialogues presents G. M. A. Grube's distinguished translations, as revised by John Cooper for Plato, Complete Works . A number of new or expanded footnotes are also included along with an updated bibliography.


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 The Complete Works of Plato, Volume I

James Fallon Author Of The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey Into the Dark Side of the Brain

From my list on philosophies.

Why am I passionate about this?

Philosophy is defined as “the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.” Put another way, it is not so much the study of things and phenomena, but the derivative question below the veneer of what things are. I am interested in everything, how everything works, but also why it, and all of nature, including the mind and eyelashes, exist in the first place. I can remember back to childhood always thinking like this. This involves grasping for knowledge of both the details and global contexts of everything, whether it’s biology, chemistry, religion, neuroscience, horticulture, violence, goodness, hockey, or even what Plato was trying to say.

James' book list on philosophies

James Fallon Why did James love this book?

After 2,400 years, Plato finally won the battle against Socrates, Aristotle, Avicenna, Rousseau, Locke, Freud, French and Neo-Liberalism, and most parents of two-year-olds. According to 21st-century neuroscientists, as Plato provided in the Allegory of the Cave, the prescient idea is that we are not born as blank slates, but rather have the basic knowledge of beauty, good and evil baked into our prenatal brain (genetically preformed circuits!)

By Plato,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Works of Plato, Volume I as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Collected here in two volumes are the complete works of Plato, in the classic translation by Benjamin Jowett. One of the most influential thinkers of Ancient Greece or any other era, Plato formed the basis of Western philosophy. Mostly written in the form of dialogues with his teacher Socrates as the protagonist, his works address themes as varied as metaphysics, psychology, pedagogy, politics, and ethics. Despite the weighty subject matter, Plato's writing remains accessible to the general reader, and infused with wit and humor. Why is Plato worth reading today? His dialogues are vitally concerned with how we should live.…


Book cover of The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers

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?

This is the book that really got me into philosophy. My girlfriend gave it to me when I was a teenager. I opened it up began reading, and I never really stopped. Durant’s book gives what I now understand to be a rather conventional account of the origins and history of Western philosophy, but it does it very well. It enthusiastically and eloquently leads readers into the central conceptual concerns, principles, and problems of the central figures of the Western traditions. It’s intellectually substantial, and it doesn’t require advanced degrees. A joy to read, and in a word, for me, life-changing.

By Will Durant,

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?

A brilliant and concise account of the lives and ideas of the great philosophers, from Plato to Dewey.

Few write for the non-specialist as well as Will Durant, and this book is a splendid example of his eminently readable scholarship. Durant's insight and wit never cease to dazzle; The Story of Philosophy is a key book for anyone who wishes to survey the history and development of philosophical ideas in the Western world.


Book cover of A History of Western Philosophy

Michael E. Long Author Of The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity—and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race

From my list on finding your place in the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m interested in everything – which is a problem, because there’s not time for everything. So how do you find the best of the world and your own place in it? Understanding your motivations is a good place to start, hence The Molecule of More. The rest comes from exploring as much as you can, and that begins with understanding the scope of what’s out there: ideas, attitudes, and cultures. The greatest joy in my life comes from the jaw-dropping realization that the world is so full of potential and wonder. These books are a guide to some of the best of it, and some of the breadth of it.

Michael's book list on finding your place in the world

Michael E. Long Why did Michael love this book?

Whatever those deep questions are that you have, somebody’s already thought about them, and this masterwork of a book will show you that you’re not alone. In fact, you’re thinking and feeling the same way women and men did a couple thousand years ago – and some very wise individuals have thought through what you’re thinking through. This book will change your life and your mind. You have to be patient, but it’s worth it. Read three pages (no more) a day, every day. Plan on sticking with this for more than a year, then do so. Use a highlighter for a bookmark. It changed me. It’ll change you, too.

By Bertrand Russell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A History of Western Philosophy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1946, History of Western Philosophy went on to become the best-selling philosophy book of the twentieth century. A dazzlingly ambitious project, it remains unchallenged to this day as the ultimate introduction to Western philosophy. Providing a sophisticated overview of the ideas that have perplexed people from time immemorial, it is 'long on wit, intelligence and curmudgeonly scepticism', as the New York Times noted, and it is this, coupled with the sheer brilliance of its scholarship, that has made Russell's History of Western Philosophy one of the most important philosophical works of all time.


Book cover of The Trial and Death of Socrates: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, death scene from Phaedo

Carly Stevens Author Of Laertes

From my list on dark academia novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sometimes, you just want to feel like you’re reading in an old library during a storm, you know? Because I’ve read so widely and studied so many Classics, I’ve had the opportunity to immerse myself in old books in a way that many others haven’t. Take that obsessive bookishness and add a love for magical, literary, character-driven stories, and voilà! I’m lucky I got to write my own dark academia novel for people looking to have that experience. Hopefully these books make you just as cozy and melancholy as they make me.

Carly's book list on dark academia novels

Carly Stevens Why did Carly love this book?

There has to be a Greek or Roman classic on this list if it’s going to feel like dark academia. Homer’s Iliad is great, but I went off the beaten path. I read this collection of dialogues in college, and my favorite is definitely the Phaedo, which recounts Socrates’ death. It’s short, dynamic, and easy to follow. Some philosophy is tough for non-philosophers to wrap their heads around, but Plato’s dialogue style of writing and Socrates’ clear arguments make it easier.

I’m always struck by the contentment Socrates finds, even though his death is unjust. I’ve never forgotten some of the things he says to his friends at the end.

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

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The third edition of The Trial and Death of Socrates presents G. M. A. Grube's distinguished translations, as revised by John Cooper for Plato, Complete Works. A number of new or expanded footnotes are also included along with a Select Bibliography.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Plato, philosophy, and western philosophy?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Plato, philosophy, and western philosophy.

Plato 68 books
Philosophy 1,659 books