100 books like The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 1

By Arthur Schopenhauer,

Here are 100 books that The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 1 fans have personally recommended if you like The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 1. 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 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 The Critique of Pure Reason

Charles P. Webel Author Of The World as Idea: A Conceptual History

From my list on how the world may or may not be what you think it is.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a lifelong student with what I sometimes call “a multidisciplinary disorder,” I have been intrigued both about “the outer world,” or the “external environment of life on planet Earth, and “the mind that knows the world.” Hence, as a teenager in New York City, I read voraciously books in philosophy, history, and the social and natural sciences to learn what “great minds” have thought about “the world.” Much later, as an “academic” researcher and writer, I scoured the shelves of university libraries to examine what I considered the strengths and weaknesses of the academic disciplines that addressed our “knowledge of the world,” and their applications for “changing the world for the better.” My book The World as Idea is the first volume of a projected trilogy modestly entitled The Fate of This World and The Future of Humanity. I’m now working on the second volume, The Reality of This World.

Charles' book list on how the world may or may not be what you think it is

Charles P. Webel Why did Charles love this book?

Kant is one the most important, and many, including myself, would argue the most seminal thinkers in the Western intellectual tradition.

His epistemological and metaphysical masterpiece, The Critique of Pure Reason, has had the single greatest impact on my own thinking about how we think and know “the world,” both in its “inner” and “outer” dimensions.

By Immanuel Kant,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Critique of Pure Reason (1781) is one of the most influential works in the history of philosophy. It is also referred to as Kant's "First Critique", being followed by the Critique of Practical Reason (1788) and the Critique of Judgment (1790). In the preface to the first edition Kant explains what he means by a critique of pure reason: "I do not mean by this a critique of books and systems, but of the faculty of reason in general, in respect of all knowledge after which it may strive independently of all experience." “There is no single philosopher of…


Book cover of Phenomenology of Perception

Charles P. Webel Author Of The World as Idea: A Conceptual History

From my list on how the world may or may not be what you think it is.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a lifelong student with what I sometimes call “a multidisciplinary disorder,” I have been intrigued both about “the outer world,” or the “external environment of life on planet Earth, and “the mind that knows the world.” Hence, as a teenager in New York City, I read voraciously books in philosophy, history, and the social and natural sciences to learn what “great minds” have thought about “the world.” Much later, as an “academic” researcher and writer, I scoured the shelves of university libraries to examine what I considered the strengths and weaknesses of the academic disciplines that addressed our “knowledge of the world,” and their applications for “changing the world for the better.” My book The World as Idea is the first volume of a projected trilogy modestly entitled The Fate of This World and The Future of Humanity. I’m now working on the second volume, The Reality of This World.

Charles' book list on how the world may or may not be what you think it is

Charles P. Webel Why did Charles love this book?

Merleau-Ponty is one of the 20th century’s most important, and frequently overlooked, thinkers.

His work The Phenomenology of Perception has had the single greatest impact on my own thinking about how we perceive both “the world” of our senses and body, and the incarnate subject—the “I”—who is in the world. It is one of the great philosophical masterpieces of the past century.

By Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Donald Landes (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

First published in 1945, Maurice Merleau-Ponty's monumental Phenomenologie de la perception signalled the arrival of a major new philosophical and intellectual voice in post-war Europe. Breaking with the prevailing picture of existentialism and phenomenology at the time, it has become one of the landmark works of twentieth-century thought. This new translation, the first for over fifty years, makes this classic work of philosophy available to a new generation of readers.

Phenomenology of Perception stands in the great phenomenological tradition of Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre. Yet Merleau-Ponty's contribution is decisive, as he brings this tradition and other philosophical predecessors, particularly Descartes…


Book cover of The World as I See it

Charles P. Webel Author Of The World as Idea: A Conceptual History

From my list on how the world may or may not be what you think it is.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a lifelong student with what I sometimes call “a multidisciplinary disorder,” I have been intrigued both about “the outer world,” or the “external environment of life on planet Earth, and “the mind that knows the world.” Hence, as a teenager in New York City, I read voraciously books in philosophy, history, and the social and natural sciences to learn what “great minds” have thought about “the world.” Much later, as an “academic” researcher and writer, I scoured the shelves of university libraries to examine what I considered the strengths and weaknesses of the academic disciplines that addressed our “knowledge of the world,” and their applications for “changing the world for the better.” My book The World as Idea is the first volume of a projected trilogy modestly entitled The Fate of This World and The Future of Humanity. I’m now working on the second volume, The Reality of This World.

Charles' book list on how the world may or may not be what you think it is

Charles P. Webel Why did Charles love this book?

Albert Einstein was, for a very good reason or three, Time magazine’s “Person of the Twentieth Century.”

Unfortunately, very few people are knowledgeable about his contributions to modern science, which are enormous and complex, and even fewer seem to know about his thinking on politics, war, and peace in particular, and the world in general.

In this book, readers have the opportunity to learn more about Einstein’s thoughts about the world of the 20th century, which are usually presented in a clear, accessible fashion.

By Albert Einstein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The most advanced and celebrated mind of the 20th Century, without a doubt, is attributed to Albert Einstein. This interesting book allows us to explore his beliefs, philosophical ideas, and opinions on many subjects. Subjects include politics, religion, education, the meaning of life, Jewish issues, the world economy, peace and pacifism. Einstein believed in the possibility of a peaceful world and in the high mission of science to serve human well-being. As we near the end of a century in which science has come to seem more and more remote from human values, Einstein's perspective is indispensable.


Book cover of Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge

Will Kitchen Author Of Film, Negation and Freedom: Capitalism and Romantic Critique

From my list on philosophy books about knowledge, culture, and freedom.

Why am I passionate about this?

My background is in academic film analysis, although this has opened doors to many subjects: literature, music, philosophy, political economy… My students are always encouraged to think beyond their "home" discipline when they come to university. I believe that if you study a subject deep enough, it will lead to all the others. So far, my research has led me from classical music through Hollywood biopics and Romanic philosophy to some of the most fundamental questions about the construction and social organisation of creative labour in the modern world. I find that the most enjoyable books explain the world to us whilst reflecting upon what that act of explanation means. 

Will's book list on philosophy books about knowledge, culture, and freedom

Will Kitchen Why did Will love this book?

The book that made the philosophy of science relevant to everything.

Popper’s rejection of inductive reasoning had fascinating implications for politics, psychology, and (through E. H. Gombrich) art. The simple idea that perception is always predetermined by experience was not new, of course (Popper always credited his predecessors, including Xenophanes), but I find his ability to develop this theme against the contemporary vogue for empirical positivism deeply rewarding.

Popper helped to establish our modern intellectual climate with his most important lesson, adapted from Darwin: Embrace criticism. 

By Karl Popper,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Conjectures and Refutations is one of Karl Popper's most wide-ranging and popular works, notable not only for its acute insight into the way scientific knowledge grows, but also for applying those insights to politics and to history. It provides one of the clearest and most accessible statements of the fundamental idea that guided his work: not only our knowledge, but our aims and our standards, grow through an unending process of trial and error.


Book cover of A Treatise of Human Nature

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

From my list on rationality and why it matters.

Why am I passionate about this?

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

Steven Pinker 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.…


Book cover of Understanding Ignorance: The Surprising Impact of What We Don't Know

Michael Smithson Author Of Uncertainty and Risk: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

From my list on ignorance, uncertainty, and risk.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in ignorance and uncertainty was sparked when I was an undergraduate mathematics student. I was taking my first courses in probability and then reading about Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, realizing that even mathematics contains untamed unknowns. Later, as a PhD student in sociology I read theories about how knowledge is socially constructed, the foundation of the “sociology of knowledge”. I wondered why there wasn’t also a “sociology of ignorance”. That ignited my interest, and the social construction of ignorance became my life-long research topic. I have since seen it grow from my solo efforts in the 1980s to a flourishing multidisciplinary topic of research and public debate.  

Michael's book list on ignorance, uncertainty, and risk

Michael Smithson Why did Michael love this book?

If you’d like to take a relatively straightforward but sophisticated tour through ignorance, this book is for you. 

Frankly, it’s a book I would like to have written. The author is a philosopher and I’m not, so his viewpoint and voice differ from mine, but his book echoes, parallels, and expands my own work and a host of others’ writings on ignorance. DeNicola uses four engaging metaphors as vehicles for his tour: ignorance as a place, a boundary, a limit, and a horizon. 

His treatment of ignorance nicely avoids the usual negative bias against it. Like me, he recognizes that ignorance has its uses and even can be beneficial or virtuous. And his footnotes and bibliography provide plenty of material if you want to find out more. 

By Daniel R. DeNicola,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An exploration of what we can know about what we don't know: why ignorance is more than simply a lack of knowledge.

Ignorance is trending. Politicians boast, “I'm not a scientist.” Angry citizens object to a proposed state motto because it is in Latin, and “This is America, not Mexico or Latin America.” Lack of experience, not expertise, becomes a credential. Fake news and repeated falsehoods are accepted and shape firm belief. Ignorance about American government and history is so alarming that the ideal of an informed citizenry now seems quaint. Conspiracy theories and false knowledge thrive. This may be…


Book cover of Critique of Pure Reason

Adrian Johnston Author Of Zizek's Ontology: A Transcendental Materialist Theory of Subjectivity

From my list on understanding the work of Slavoj Žižek.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thanks to developing interests in both psychoanalysis and German idealism during my time as a student, I came across Slavoj Žižek’s writings in the mid-1990s. Žižek immediately became a significant source of inspiration for my own efforts at interfacing philosophies with psychoanalysis. By the time I began writing my dissertation – which became my first book, Time Driven: Metapsychology and the Splitting of the Drive – I had the great fortune to meet Žižek. He soon agreed to serve as co-director of my dissertation and we have remained close ever since. I decided to write a book demonstrating that Žižek is not dismissible as a gadfly preoccupied with using popular culture and current events merely for cheap provocations.

Adrian's book list on understanding the work of Slavoj Žižek

Adrian Johnston Why did Adrian love this book?

In Žižek’s view, philosophy as we know it today does not well and truly begin until the late-eighteenth century, with Kant’s critical-transcendental “Copernican revolution.” The Critique of Pure Reason inaugurates this revolution. It insists on the ineliminable centrality of the structures and dynamics of minded subjectivity for the constitution of what we experience as objective reality. Moreover, on Žižek’s psychoanalytic rereading of Kant’s epoch-making 1781/1787 masterpiece, Kant anticipates, among many other things, Lacan’s idea of an internally divided subject as the ultimate unconscious condition of possibility for how we humans register and understand ourselves and our world. Moreover, the Kant of the first Critique is crucial for Žižek as the inspiration for the entire tradition of post-Kantian German idealism so central to Žižek’s own philosophical program.

By Immanuel Kant, Paul Guyer (translator), Allen W. Wood (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This entirely new translation of Critique of Pure Reason is the most accurate and informative English translation ever produced of this epochal philosophical text. Though its simple and direct style will make it suitable for all new readers of Kant, the translation displays an unprecedented philosophical and textual sophistication that will enlighten Kant scholars as well. This translation recreates as far as possible a text with the same interpretative nuances and richness as the original. The extensive editorial apparatus includes informative annotation, detailed glossaries, an index, and a large-scale general introduction in which two of the world's preeminent Kant scholars…


Book cover of Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy

Deirdre N. McCloskey Author Of The Rhetoric of Economics

From my list on the rhetoric of science (from a distinguished professor).

Why am I passionate about this?

Deirdre Nansen McCloskey is Distinguished Professor Emerita of Economics and of History, and Professor Emerita of English and of Communication, adjunct in classics and philosophy, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Trained at Harvard in the 1960s as an economist, she has written twenty-four books and some four hundred academic and popular articles on economic history, rhetoric, philosophy, statistical theory, economic theory, feminism, queer studies, liberalism, ethics, and law.

Deirdre's book list on the rhetoric of science (from a distinguished professor)

Deirdre N. McCloskey Why did Deirdre love this book?

Polanyi, an eminent Hungarian Jewish chemist who spent his career at the University of Manchester, was the smarter brother of the more famous Karl Polanyi, the socialist economic historian. Michael (Mihály) shows in the book how science depends on ordinary, “personal” knowledge, as for example in riding a bicycle. He was a “liberal” in the European sense, unlike his brother, and saw the scientific community as analogous to a free market, and the free market as analogous to a scientific community.

By Michael Polanyi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The publication of Personal Knowledge in 1958 shook the science world, as Michael Polanyi took aim at the long-standing ideals of rigid empiricism and rule-bound logic. Today, Personal Knowledge remains one of the most significant philosophy of science books of the twentieth century, bringing the crucial concepts of “tacit knowledge” and “personal knowledge” to the forefront of inquiry.

In this remarkable treatise, Polanyi attests that our personal experiences and ways of sharing knowledge have a profound effect on scientific discovery. He argues against the idea of the wholly dispassionate researcher, pointing out that even in the strictest of sciences, knowing…


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.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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