I know that there are many excellent topics of philosophy book indications. But I'm looking for a specific type of book:

• A Beginner's Guide

• A well-structured book with pedagogical resources (such as comparative tables). Example:

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• One who is not so beginner, and is not afraid to go deeper, knowing how to explain pedagogically.

• DO NOT be about the history of philosophy. I have a perfect collection in this style, written by giovanni reale. I would like a book like Reale's, but for topics such as epistemology, ethics, metaphysics and general problems of philosophy.

• It is not MUST, but it would help to have a impartial style, but also opinative (Bertrand Russell and the History of Western Philosophy is an example of this: he is quite critical, but tries to pass on the idea of philosophers impartially).

Reference books:

• I do not know if Reale's books were translated into English, but he wrote a giant collection of History of Philosophy. For me is the best reference, I would like a book like his for themes of philosophy, not history.

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The Big Questions. It's an excellent book, I would like books in that style on epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. But I feel that it does not go so deep.

Theory and Reality, a introduction to philosophy of science. I freaking love this book. It is explanatory, critical and well structured. I would love books in this style on topics mentioned above.

That's it. I hope I have made a case to justify one more topic of indications. I would like to know the best book in this style to improve my studies and not waste time with material that does not appeal to me. I hope it will be useful to someone as well.

  • I'm surprised to hear Russell being called impartial but won't niggle. I don't think the book you're looking for exists. You seem to want a summary of Western thought but there is too little agreement for such a summary to be written. You want to look into metaphysics, including epistemology and ethics, but in Russell's tradition it is a sea of conflicting opinions and not a global theory in sight. So apologies but I have no recommendations. You'd think that something like the 'Blackwell Guide to Metaphysics' would be relevant but I wouldn't recommend it to my worst enemy. .
    – user20253
    Commented Nov 23, 2017 at 12:20
  • There's one guy... Bit old/dated...But still more readable and engaging than most of his successors. And since you like Russell here's a titbit: Russell's teacher Whitehead said: «All of western philosophy is just footnotes to this guy». His name is Plato😀. More seriously the philosophy you get from real philosophers and what you get from textbook-writers is as different as pianist and this younger pianist
    – Rushi
    Commented Jul 20, 2019 at 3:07
  • Does this answer your question? What are some good introductions to philosophy?
    – user64125
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 8:23

2 Answers 2


A systematic, comprehensive, authoritative and not difficult introduction to contemporary philosophy (also including references to the history of philosophy) and all its different areas of inquiry is

Kwame Anthony Appiah, Thinking It Through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2003.

Take a look at the Table of Contents: https://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Through-Introduction-Contemporary-Philosophy/dp/0195134583


Regis Jolivet's books are great. But I am not sure if it is available in English (there are French and Portuguese editions).


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