10 books like Philosophy of Material Nature

By Immanuel Kant, James W. Ellington,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Philosophy of Material Nature. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Being and Time

By Martin Heidegger, John MacQuarrie (translator), Edward S. Robinson (translator)

Book cover of Being and Time

If aliens land and ask me what it’s like to be a human, I’ll give them Heidegger’s first book, Being and Time. Of course, that might prompt them to destroy all humans out of frustration at the difficulty of his writing, but if they persevere, they will find the best description of what it’s like to live out your time on this planet (One Hundred Years of Solitude comes in second).

Being and Time

By Martin Heidegger, John MacQuarrie (translator), Edward S. Robinson (translator)

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Being and Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A knowledge of Heidegger's Sein und Zeit is essential for anyone who wishes to understand a great deal of recent continental work in theology as well as philosophy. Yet until this translation first appeared in 1962, this fundamental work of one of the most influential European thinkers of the century remained inaccessible to English readers. In fact the difficulty of Heidegger's thought was considered to be almost insuperable in the medium of a foreign language, especially English. That this view was unduly pessimistic is proved by the impressive work of John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson who have succeeded in clothing…


The Metaphysics

By Aristotle,

Book cover of The Metaphysics

Aristotle’s Metaphysics marks the beginning of attempts to articulate the philosophy of metaphysics as a science. Retrospectively applying Kant’s division of metaphysics as transcendental philosophy to Aristotle’s writings: Aristotle’s Metaphysics is an in-depth examination of cosmological and theological metaphysics.

I personally enjoy Aristotle’s Metaphysics because it is mysterious. It is difficult to read, and the fact that it was written with an entirely different alphabet is exciting. Aristotle’s Metaphysics is his attempt to systematically blend his particular preference for empiricism with metaphysical insights learned from Plato’s philosophy.

The history of Aristotle’s Metaphysics – in terms of, for example, its title and organization – is fascinating in itself; however, what always stood out for me was recognizing Aristotle’s own excitement. Book 5 of his Metaphysics is often thought of as a kind of metaphysical dictionary, and shortly after this summary of vocabulary terms, it is as if Aristotle grabs hold of…

The Metaphysics

By Aristotle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Arthur Madigan presents a clear, accurate new translation of the third book (Beta) of Aristotle's Metaphysics, together with two related chapters from the eleventh book (Kappa). Madigan's accompanying introduction and commentary give detailed guidance to these texts, in which Aristotle sets out what he takes to be the main problems of metaphysics or 'first philosophy' and assesses possible solutions to them; he takes his starting-point from the work of
earlier philosophers, especially Plato and some of the Presocratics. These texts serve as a useful introduction both to Aristotle's own work on metaphysics and to classical metaphysics in general; they are…


Difference and Repetition

By Gilles Deleuze, Paul Patton (translator),

Book cover of Difference and Repetition

In my opinion, Gilles Deleuze was the greatest French philosopher of the 20th century, and that century was loaded with amazing French philosophers. Deleuze wrote a large number of excellent books. However, his doctoral dissertation, Difference and Repetition, is quite special. On the one hand, it is – from a philosophical point of view – very enjoyable to read. Though, some may find its style too layered and allusive. On the other hand, Difference and Repetition is also consistently listed as one of the three greatest works in philosophy written in the 20th century. Ultimately, in regard to Kant’s science of metaphysics, Deleuze’s book is a work in transcendental philosophy. More specifically, Deleuze’s book addresses all three divisions by treating cosmological metaphysics as the point of origin for theological and psychological metaphysics.

One last thing to mention here is that Difference and Repetition is the most difficult…

Difference and Repetition

By Gilles Deleuze, Paul Patton (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This brilliant exposition of the critique of identity is a classic in contemporary philosophy and one of Deleuze's most important works. Of fundamental importance to literary critics and philosophers,Difference and Repetition develops two central concepts-pure difference and complex repetition-and shows how the two concepts are related. While difference implies divergence and decentering, repetition is associated with displacement and disguising. Central in initiating the shift in French thought away from Hegel and Marx toward Nietzsche and Freud, Difference and Repetition moves deftly to establish a fundamental critique of Western metaphysics.


What Is Existentialism? Vol. I

By Frank Scalambrino,

Book cover of What Is Existentialism? Vol. I: History & Principles

After extensive research, this is the only book in existence that answers the question: What is existentialism? Existentialism may be understood as the correct point of departure for addressing the philosophy of being as it relates to the individual. In other words, existentialism provides the philosophical framework with which to answer the question: What does it mean to be?

Existentialism is the culmination of the philosophical tradition moving from Kant through the German Romantics to Heidegger and Sartre, among the other existentialists. In regard to Kant’s division, it differs from Deleuze’s choice to articulate transcendental philosophy with cosmology as the point of departure, in that it takes psychology as the point of departure. Yet, at the same time, just as understanding “the moment of vision” brings about a kind of gestalt shift in the reader’s perspective, so too though existentialism may be characterized as transcendental psychology, it has a higher…

What Is Existentialism? Vol. I

By Frank Scalambrino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Is Existentialism? Vol. I as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The term “existentialism” was coined in the 1940s. Whereas other books regarding existentialism merely repeat the platitudes that “There is no such thing as existentialism” or that “The term ‘existentialism’ has no coherent meaning,” this two-volume set actually answers the question “What is existentialism?”

Volume I identifies the seven (7) principles of existentialism and the necessary and sufficient conditions for a philosophy to be existential, and introduces readers to the depth of the problem by showing how the question “What is existentialism?” can be answered in multiple ways, all of which are provided in this two-volume set.

Vol. I, then,…


Naming and Necessity

By Saul A Kripke,

Book cover of Naming and Necessity

This book, given as three lectures in 1970 by a 28-year-old wunderkind, made its author one of the greatest philosophers of our era.  Just as Russell transformed the philosophy of his day by demonstrating the significance of an advanced system logic he helped to found, so Kripke transformed the philosophy descending from Russell by inventing an expressively richer version logic, and illustrating its significance. This book, more than any other,  provided the starting point for contemporary metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind. It is, nevertheless, remarkably accessible.  Delivered in a delightfully informal style, it presents ideas capable of far-reaching technical elaboration in their simplest and most comprehensible form, revealing their intuitive essence. If you want to understand philosophy today, you need to read this book.

Naming and Necessity

By Saul A Kripke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Naming and Necessity' has had a great and increasing influence. It redirected philosophical attention to neglected questions of natural and metaphysical necessity and to the connections between these and theories of naming, and of identity. This seminal work, to which today's thriving essentialist metaphysics largely owes its impetus, is here reissued in a newly corrected form with a new preface by the author. If there is such a thing as essential reading in metaphysics, or in philosophy of language, this is it.


The Problems of Philosophy

By Bertrand Russell,

Book cover of The Problems of Philosophy

In this book, one of the great philosophers of the first half of the 20th century sketches his take on two central philosophical tasks -- explaining what kinds of things exist in reality, and how they are related, and delineating what we can know and how we know it.  In so doing, Russell illustrates the new method of logical and linguistic analysis he used in The Philosophy of Logical Atomism (1918), to lay the foundations of an epistemological and metaphysical system rivaling the great systems of the past. A key transitional figure linking the history of the subject to contemporary concerns, he raised logic and language to central subjects of philosophical study in their own right, without losing sight of their relevance for more traditional philosophical quests.

The Problems of Philosophy

By Bertrand Russell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Immensely intelligible, thought-provoking guide by Nobel Prize winner considers such topics as the distinction between appearance and reality, the existence and nature of matter, idealism, inductive logic, intuitive knowledge, many other subjects. For students and general readers, there is no finer introduction to philosophy than this informative, affordable and highly readable edition.


Benedict de Spinoza

By Henry Allison,

Book cover of Benedict de Spinoza: An Introduction

My first book is an oldie but a goodie (and is due to come out soon in a third edition). Published in 1987, this is a highly readable and accessible introduction to Spinoza’s philosophy. It includes discussion of his views on God, the human being, the passions, the life of reason, and our ultimate happiness. It also covers his political thought and his views on religion. I recommend this book to anyone approaching Spinoza for the first time. Because the Ethics is such a difficult read, it is good to have a guide like this by your side.

Benedict de Spinoza

By Henry Allison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the rear cover of this 254 page book: "This highly acclaimed book provides a general introduction to the life and works of one of the major philosophers of the seventeenth century. In this revised edition, Henry E. Allison has rewritten the central chapters on the 'Ethics', taking into consideration the most important recent literature on Spinoza's metaphysics, epistemology, psychology, and moral theory. This is an excellent general introduction to Spinoza's thought. Allison expounds Spinoza sympathetically, but without glossing over the difficulties. Though written in a way which should make it accessible to undergraduates, his book also contains much that…


Riddles of Existence

By Theodore Sider, Earl Conee,

Book cover of Riddles of Existence: A Guided Tour of Metaphysics

This is a popular, reliable, wide-ranging introduction to metaphysics by two respected philosophers. It covers topics such as personal identity, fatalism, time, God, free will and determinism, possibility and necessity, and criticisms of metaphysics itself. It asks why there is something rather than nothing, and whether distinctions between good and evil and between right and wrong have any objective reality. Ted Sider is a leader of new developments in contemporary metaphysics.

Riddles of Existence

By Theodore Sider, Earl Conee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Riddles of Existence makes metaphysics genuinely accessible, even fun. Its lively, informal style brings the riddles to life and shows how stimulating they can be to think about. No philosophical background is required to enjoy this book. It is ideal for beginning students. Anyone wanting to think about life's most profound questions will find Riddles of Existence provocative and entertaining.

This new edition is updated throughout, and features two extra, specially written chapters: one on metaphysical questions to do with morality, and the other on questions about the nature of metaphysics itself.


Knowledge

By Jennifer Nagel,

Book cover of Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction

This is my favourite introduction to epistemology. It relates questions about knowledge and scepticism to human psychology, human knowledge to other animals’ knowledge, and the development of Western epistemology to epistemology elsewhere, such as ancient India. Amongst leading epistemologists today, Jennifer Nagel probably has the deepest understanding of relevant work in psychology.

Knowledge

By Jennifer Nagel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What is knowledge? How does it differ from mere belief? Do you need to be able to justify a claim in order to count as knowing it? How can we know that the outer world is real and not a dream?

Questions like these are ancient ones, and the branch of philosophy dedicated to answering them - epistemology - has been active for thousands of years. In this thought-provoking Very Short Introduction, Jennifer Nagel considers these classic questions alongside new puzzles arising from recent discoveries about humanity, language, and the mind. Nagel explains the formation of major historical theories of…


Plurality of Worlds

By David Lewis,

Book cover of Plurality of Worlds

This is an accessible defence of the astonishing theory that there are infinitely many possible worlds other than our own, with just as much flesh-and-blood reality; they are systems of space and time disconnected from ours. Many of those worlds contain almost exact counterparts of you. Lewis argues that his theory is much less alien to common sense than it seems, and that it provides the best explanation of many puzzling matters, such as the distinction between what is possible and what is impossible. Although few philosophers accept Lewis’s theory, it is extraordinarily difficult to disprove. David Lewis was the most influential metaphysician of the past half-century.

Plurality of Worlds

By David Lewis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book is a defense of modal realism: the thesis that our world is but one of a plurality of worlds, and that the individuals that inhabit our world are only a few out of all the inhabitants of all the worlds. Lewis argues that the philosophical utility of modal realism is a good reason for believing that it is true.After putting forward the type of modal realism he favors, Lewis answers numerous objections that have been raised against it. These include an insistence that everything must be actual: paradoxes akin to those that confront naive set theory: arguments that…


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