It's all about the deep questions.
Books and Recommendations
Both for myself and others, I will start keeping a list of all notable philosophy-related books I’ve read along with recommendations to read/not read them. This page will be updated every now and then whenever I get any extra books under my belt. I will use the following rating system: 4-Highly Recommended, 3-Recommended, 2-Not recommended, 1-Stay away at all costs.
Rating – 3. Although this book wasn’t amazingly good in my eyes, it still serves as a gentle introduction into philosophy (its kindle/online version is free). I’ve also heard good reviews from Simon Blackburn’s Think, so that could also be a good candidate for one’s first or so book in philosophy.
Rating – 4. An awesome introductory book on Metaphysics along with a good introduction to heavy philosophical argumentation. Paradoxically, even though this book was very well written, it still persuaded me to adopt a skeptical stance in metametaphysics. This could be a good candidate for one’s second book in philosophy.
Rating – 2. This rating really isn’t a complaint about this particular book, per se, but really serves as a relative rank. Since there are better epistemology intro books, I would recommend them over this one.
Rating – 4. This was the book I was talking about! Definitely a really good choice for an intro to epistemology.
Rating – 4. The best intro to philosophy of mind book in my opinion. Assumes no background in psychology/cognitive science. Interestingly, Kim has been persuaded to reject physicalism about the mind relatively recently.
Rating – 3.5. Overall, a solid intro to the philosophy of science. I really enjoyed the parts about inductive logic, logical positivists, Popper, Feyerabad, Kuhn, the various paradoxes etc. However, the pretty substantial parts on the relation between sociology (along with the feminism) and science weren’t that interesting for me. However, I guess they were necessary in giving a holistic account of science.
Rating-3.5. Although this is not technically a philosophy book, it certainly is a book on critical thinking. It presents example after example of people doing very irrational things. These range from the expected (like not knowing Baye’s Theorem) mistakes to the not-so-expected mistakes. The only reason its not a 4 is that the writing style, which literally just gives example after example can be a bit repetitive. Very eye-opening however!
Rating-3.5. A solid introduction to normative ethics. At times, it almost seems as though it should be called an introduction to the history of ethics since the bulk of the text deals with ancient philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle and “modern” (which aren’t very modern) philosophers like Kant. However, an understanding of the historical context is essential for an introduction. I happen to be more interested in meta-ethical questions, but this book was a delight to read. Good writing style.
Rating-4. A very good intro to the free will debate. Four authors representing four different views defend their position in the first part, and then respond to the others in the second part.
Rating -4.5. Chalmers’ interest in consciousness is contagious. This well argued book even caused me to question my allegiance to physicalism. Chalmers goes through great pains to show that his property dualistic view isn’t spooky or mystical, and in no means “goes against” science. All in all, Chalmers gives a plausible account of what may ensue if one takes consciousness seriously (which is an if, considering people like Dennet who deny the meaningful existence of qualia). This book is required reading for those interested in consciousness.
Rating-4. One of the better introductions to the philosophy of math. Shapiro considers every position in an even-handed way and assumes as little background as possible in logic/math/philosophy.