100 books like Plurality of Worlds

By David Lewis,

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

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Book cover of Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction

Timothy Williamson Author Of Philosophical Method: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on contemporary epistemology and metaphysics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Timothy Williamson is a professor of philosophy at Oxford University and a visiting professor at Yale. He writes on metaphysics and epistemology because he doesn’t know how not to care about them. Metaphysics asks fundamental questions about what reality is and how it is structured; epistemology asks fundamental questions about what and how we can know about reality.

Timothy's book list on contemporary epistemology and metaphysics

Timothy Williamson Why did Timothy love this book?

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.

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…


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

Timothy Williamson Author Of Philosophical Method: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on contemporary epistemology and metaphysics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Timothy Williamson is a professor of philosophy at Oxford University and a visiting professor at Yale. He writes on metaphysics and epistemology because he doesn’t know how not to care about them. Metaphysics asks fundamental questions about what reality is and how it is structured; epistemology asks fundamental questions about what and how we can know about reality.

Timothy's book list on contemporary epistemology and metaphysics

Timothy Williamson Why did Timothy love this book?

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.

By Earl Conee, Theodore Sider,

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.


Book cover of Naming and Necessity

Yehonathan Sharvit Author Of Data-Oriented Programming

From my list on become a great developer.

Why am I passionate about this?

I boast a two-decade-long career in the software industry. Over the years, I have diligently honed my programming skills across a multitude of languages, including JavaScript, C++, Java, Ruby, and Clojure. Throughout my career, I have taken on various management roles, from Team Leader to VP of Engineering. No matter the role, the thing I have enjoyed the most is to make complex topics easy to understand.

Yehonathan's book list on become a great developer

Yehonathan Sharvit Why did Yehonathan love this book?

Naming and Necessity had a profound impact on my understanding of the importance of using proper names in programming (for functions, variables, etc.). I was fascinated by Kripke’s exploration of the usage of names in our day-to-day language. His arguments challenged my thinking and introduced me to new ways of considering reference and meaning.

The clarity and rigor of his analysis pushed me to refine my reasoning skills. Despite being a challenging read, I found it incredibly rewarding.

By Saul A Kripke,

Why should I read it?

4 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.


Book cover of Knowledge and Lotteries

Timothy Williamson Author Of Philosophical Method: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on contemporary epistemology and metaphysics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Timothy Williamson is a professor of philosophy at Oxford University and a visiting professor at Yale. He writes on metaphysics and epistemology because he doesn’t know how not to care about them. Metaphysics asks fundamental questions about what reality is and how it is structured; epistemology asks fundamental questions about what and how we can know about reality.

Timothy's book list on contemporary epistemology and metaphysics

Timothy Williamson Why did Timothy love this book?

If you buy a lottery ticket, it is very probable that it will lose, but you do not know that it will lose, otherwise you might as well throw it away. The book uses such simple examples to think very deeply about the nature of knowledge and the way common sense knowledge is threatened by chance. It critically assesses the idea that what we mean by the word ‘know’ depends on the context in which we are speaking, and explores the subtly different idea that whether you know something can depend on how much practical difference it makes to you. John Hawthorne is one of the most acute and perceptive of contemporary epistemologists.

By John Hawthorne,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Knowledge and Lotteries is organized around an epistemological puzzle: in many cases, we seem consistently inclined to deny that we know certain propositions, while crediting ourselves with knowledge of propositions that imply them. In its starkest form, the puzzle is this: we do not think we know that a given lottery ticket will be a loser, yet we normally count ourselves as knowing all sorts of things which entail that its holder will not suddenly acquire
a large fortune. After providing a number of specific and general characterizations of the puzzle, Hawthorne carefully examines the competing merits of candidate solutions,…


Book cover of Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality

J. Baird Callicott Author Of Greek Natural Philosophy: The Presocratics and Their Importance for Environmental Philosophy

From my list on how and why science began.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied Greek philosophy in college and graduate school and wrote my Ph.D. dissertation on Plato. In response to the environmental crisis, first widely recognized in the 1960s, I turned my philosophical attention to that contemporary challenge, which, with the advent of climate change, has by now proved to be humanity’s greatest. I taught the world’s first course in environmental ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1971 and, with a handful of other philosophers, helped build a literature in this new field over the course of the next decade—a literature that has subsequently grown exponentially. With Greek Natural Philosophy, I rekindled the romance with my first love. 

J.'s book list on how and why science began

J. Baird Callicott Why did J. love this book?

MIT scientist Tegmark directly connects contemporary physics and cosmology with our story of the Presocratic natural philosophers.

In his view the universe is not only described in the language of mathematics, it is a huge purely mathematical object. This was precisely the view of the Pythagoreans. In the course of expounding his theory of a mathematical universe, Tegmark brings the lay reader up to date on the latest developments in natural philosophy (aka theoretical physics and cosmology) and demonstrates their continuity with those of their ancient predecessors.   

By Max Tegmark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nature, said Galileo, is 'a book written in the language of mathematics'. But why should this be? How can mathematics be at the heart of our universe?

The great Hungarian physicist and Nobel laureate Eugene Wigner stressed that this 'unreasonable effectiveness' of mathematics at describing the world was a mystery demanding explanation. Here, Max Tegmark, one of the most original cosmologists at work today, takes us on an astonishing journey to solve that mystery.

Part-history of the cosmos, part-intellectual adventure, Our Mathematical Universe travels from the Big Bang to the distant future via parallel worlds, across every possible scale -…


Book cover of Philosophy of Material Nature: Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science and Prolegomena

Frank Scalambrino Author Of The Philosophy of Being in the Analytic, Continental, and Thomistic Traditions: Divergence and Dialogue

From my list on philosophical metaphysics on what is be-ing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a classically and formally trained philosopher. I have a Doctorate in Philosophy from Duquesne University (2011). I've been interested in philosophy for as long as I can remember; however, I began formally studying philosophy when I first discovered the work of Friedrich Nietzsche. I began teaching philosophy at the university level in 2004. I've taught over 100 university-level courses, including graduate-level courses in both philosophy and psychology. I'm presently finishing my tenth philosophy book, along with over 50 professional peer-reviewed articles in philosophy. These days my attention is devoted to sharing philosophy on the internet through The Philosophemes YouTube Channel, @Philosophemes on Instagram, and the Basic Philosophical Questions Podcast

Frank's book list on philosophical metaphysics on what is be-ing

Frank Scalambrino Why did Frank love this book?

Immanuel Kant is one of the most important figures in the history of philosophy – specifically regarding metaphysics – because he discovered the internal logic and organization for all of philosophical metaphysics. The book with which Kant accomplished that monumental feat is extremely difficult to read and understand. Therefore, Kant wrote an easier-to-read version, and that is the book that I am recommending: Philosophy of Material Nature. This book is highly affordable and readable.

The book that the Philosophy of Material Nature paraphrases is, of course, the Critique of Pure Reason. What all of these works show us is that philosophical metaphysics naturally divides into theological metaphysics, cosmological metaphysics, and psychological metaphysics. Kant’s achievement is standardly characterized as the articulation of philosophical metaphysics as a science. The general term for such a science is “transcendental philosophy.” Thus, the rest of the books in this recommendation list relate to…

By Immanuel Kant, James W. Ellington,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This volume combines two of Kant's key works on the metaphysics of nature--the Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics That Will Be Able to Come Forward as Science and Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science --in the preeminent translations of James W. Ellington. Each work is preceded by an expert Introduction by Ellington and is followed by a German-English List of Terms and an Index.


Book cover of The Problems of Philosophy

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?

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.

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.


Book cover of Benedict de Spinoza: An Introduction

Steven Nadler Author Of Think Least of Death: Spinoza on How to Live and How to Die

From my list on Spinoza.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have immersed myself in the study of seventeenth-century philosophy for almost forty years. Over that time, I have become particularly devoted to Spinoza. This is because, first, I think he got it all pretty much right; his views on religion, on human nature, and especially on what it is to lead a good life have always struck me as correct and relevant. You can be a Spinozist today, three and a half centuries after his death, and it would make perfect sense. Second, Spinoza is endlessly fascinating. I find that every time I read him⎯and I’ve been reading and re-reading him for a long time now⎯it gets more difficult. Just when you think you know him, there are always new questions that arise and new puzzles to solve.

Steven's book list on Spinoza

Steven Nadler Why did Steven love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of Spinoza on Human Freedom: Reason, Autonomy and the Good Life

Steven Nadler Author Of Think Least of Death: Spinoza on How to Live and How to Die

From my list on Spinoza.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have immersed myself in the study of seventeenth-century philosophy for almost forty years. Over that time, I have become particularly devoted to Spinoza. This is because, first, I think he got it all pretty much right; his views on religion, on human nature, and especially on what it is to lead a good life have always struck me as correct and relevant. You can be a Spinozist today, three and a half centuries after his death, and it would make perfect sense. Second, Spinoza is endlessly fascinating. I find that every time I read him⎯and I’ve been reading and re-reading him for a long time now⎯it gets more difficult. Just when you think you know him, there are always new questions that arise and new puzzles to solve.

Steven's book list on Spinoza

Steven Nadler Why did Steven love this book?

Continuing on the theme of how to make Spinoza accessible to non-specialists, this is an excellent study of the many dimensions of Spinoza’s moral philosophy. For a long time, most of the literature on Spinoza was devoted to his metaphysics and epistemology, essentially Parts One and Two of the Ethics. Kisner’s was one of the first books devoted to the work’s moral dimensions in Parts Three, Four, and Five --  the ethics of the Ethics, so to speak. He covers all the right ground: freedom, happiness, responsibility, benevolence, and so on, and does so in an engaging and illuminating way.

By Matthew J. Kisner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Spinoza was one of the most influential figures of the Enlightenment, but his often obscure metaphysics makes it difficult to understand the ultimate message of his philosophy. Although he regarded freedom as the fundamental goal of his ethics and politics, his theory of freedom has not received sustained, comprehensive treatment. Spinoza holds that we attain freedom by governing ourselves according to practical principles, which express many of our deepest moral commitments. Matthew J. Kisner focuses on this theory and presents an alternative picture of the ethical project driving Spinoza's philosophical system. His study of the neglected practical philosophy provides an…


Book cover of From the Socratics to the Socratic Schools: Classical Ethics, Metaphysics and Epistemology

Nicholas D. Smith Author Of Socrates on Self-Improvement: Knowledge, Virtue, and Happiness

From my list on Socrates as he is depicted by authors other than Plato.

Why am I passionate about this?

In Plato’s Sophist, the main speaker (not Socrates in this case!) mocks those he calls “late-learners," I fall decidedly into that category. When I first read the works of Plato, I was lured into a lifelong attempt to understand and explain the figure of Socrates as he appears in Plato’s dialogues. Lately I have been reading materials by ancient Socratic sources other than Plato and have been wrestling with the uneasy recognition that this “father of Western philosophy” was not seen in the same way even by those who knew him personally. Who was Socrates??? Once upon a time, I thought I knew…

Nicholas' book list on Socrates as he is depicted by authors other than Plato

Nicholas D. Smith Why did Nicholas love this book?

Most people who hear about Socrates are given a kind of stock portrait that comes straight out of Plato’s depictions in his dialogues. I really admire this book because it opens up new possibilities for readers to reconsider the Platonic portrait and reminded me to think about what it means for an important philosopher to be “remembered” by multiple people.

The book’s chapters include all of the important alternatives to Plato and Xenophon, usually considered the two “main” sources for Socrates.

By Ugo Zilioli (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From the Socratics to the Socratic Schools as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the two golden centuries that followed the death of Socrates, ancient philosophy underwent a tremendous transformation that culminated in the philosophical systematizations of Plato, Aristotle and the Hellenistic schools. Fundamental figures other than Plato were active after the death of Socrates; his immediate pupils, the Socratics, took over his legacy and developed it in a variety of ways. This rich philosophical territory has however been left largely underexplored in the scholarship.

This collection of eleven previously unpublished essays by leading scholars fills a gap in the literature, providing new insight into the ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology as developed by…


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