What classical books (not modern ones) are suitable for a complete beginner (meaning having no prior knowledge of philosophy) in philosophy?

I am interested in metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, religion, ontology. I am interested both in Western and Eastern philosophy.

If you recommend more than one book, please list the books in order of difficulty.


1 Answer 1


I would personally recommend five books of foundational philosophy. All of them are hugely influential, relatively brief, aimed at a general audience, and not hard to read (if you find a good translation!). One is Middle Eastern (from the Bible), one is Asian, one are European, and the last two are ancient Greek. I have listed them in rough order of difficulty.

You might also find it worth reading any one of the innumerable collections of the wisdom of the Sufis and the Zen Buddhists.

Note: the links above are to older translations freely available on the internet. In most cases there are more modern and readable translations available, but not for free.

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