I think the work of great past philosophers is no longer in copyright. Is it possible to read them online somewhere?

More specifically I want these:

  • Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
  • Aristotle, Metaphysics
  • Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics
  • Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason
  • Plato, The Republic
  • 2
    Internet Archive you can read online, it's rather cumbersome. If you can download you can also find pdf's of books by entering in the search title and PDF. You will soon learn that some PDFs come with strings attached, avoid these. Also, don't forget real books. Even a small local county library has the ability to order books for you from other, and larger, libraries, at least in the US.
    – Gordon
    Aug 19 '17 at 13:00
  • It's probably not what you're looking for but I always get my books from bookfi.org. Aug 19 '17 at 23:22
  • Here is a start -- they are very old translations, but the message is preserved. openculture.com/free-philosophy-ebooks
    – user9166
    Aug 20 '17 at 0:06
  • Oh man. The thought of reading Kant online terrifies me. I'd have to be paid a lot of money to do it. Books are wonderful things and cost next to nothing. .
    – user20253
    Aug 20 '17 at 11:18
  • @PeterJ Very true. I think a real book that you own is the best thing to have, particularly to learn the material for the first time. I would mention an online used source I use, but I don't know if it's proper.
    – Gordon
    Aug 20 '17 at 13:35

The place to go is presumably gutenberg.org. They even have a philosophy bookshelf here


One place to check for texts is the Internet Archive.

If the text is available they offer multiple formats in which you can download it or you may read the text online. If you read it online flipping the pages changes the URL. You can be quickly access the page you are ready by copying the link or saving it in a bookmark. Information about the text is also available.

They also offer texts that you may borrow. Sometimes there is a waiting list. If you join the waiting list you will receive an email when the the text becomes available.

Here are links to the list of works requested. Often there is more than one link available showing various editions and translators.

  1. Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy
  2. Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
  3. Aristotle, Metaphysics
  4. Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics
  5. Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason
  6. Plato, The Republic

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