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Philosophy - Wider Sixth Form Reading
Utilitarianism – J.S Mill
Essential reading for any budding Philosopher. One of the most important and contentious works of moral philosophy. Its articulation of a ‘hedonic calculus’ and its development of the ideas of Mill’s mentor, Jeremy Bentham, on what makes mankind ‘happy’ make it a classic.
The Social Contract – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Rousseau argues for the preservation of individual freedom in political society. An individual can only be free under the law, he says, by freely embracing that law as his own. This work is a defence of civil society, but also a study of the darker and potentially dangerous aspects of political systems, evident in many political cultures today.
Straw Dogs – John Gray
This is a march through the history of Philosophy, and whilst entertainingly dismissing all belief sets saying they might make you feel better, concludes that ultimately we live in chaos.
Consolations of Philosophy – Alain de Botton
In this, Botton explores different philosophies to cope with the stresses of modern day living. A great introduction to the philosophers he uses at the same time as being a useful way of feeling better about your life (and not getting in to your chosen university if that is the way it turns out).
The Problems of Philosophy – Bertrand Russell
This is a short and accessible introduction to some of the most important topics in epistemology. Highlights include Russell’s distinction between “knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description” and his account of a priori knowledge.
The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten: 100 Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher – Julian Baggini
A lively and entertaining account of 100 thought experiments, designed to expose the reader to a wide range of philosophical issues. The scope of the book and its thought-provoking style makes it perfect preparation for tackling almost any philosophy interview question.
Symbolic Logic – Lewis Carroll
Riddles of Existence: A Guided Tour of Metaphysics – Earl Conee and Theodore Sider