After recently starting to read again, I got interested and picked up a few more books.

The first one I read was Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre. That book, in return, made me think about life, etc.

So my question is if there is a book which manages to explain multiple philosophies.

In case there isn't, is there a List of Books, which each explains a different philosophy in detail.

If possible the books should not be too long.

Also I aplogize in advance if this isn't the type of question which should be asked here.

Edit: If the books are in german, that would be a plus, although English is fine too.

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    Ludwig Landgrebe, who was Husserl’s personal assistant for many years, wrote: Major Problems In Contemporary European Philosophy (1966). Free at Internet Archive. 1966. Certainly not contemporary anymore, but you may get something from it. archive.org/details/majorproblemsinc00landrich
    – Gordon
    Jun 18, 2020 at 21:27
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    To questions like this I recommend The Story of Philosophy, by Will Durant. The book dates from the 1920s, but is a capable survey of Western philosophy up to that point. Jun 19, 2020 at 1:01

4 Answers 4


Welcome, youngtrashbag!

What might help is the series of short books in the Oxford Very Short Introduction series. Nearly all the major philosophers are covered. The texts are accessibly written by experts on individual philosophers - a huge range from Socrates, Plato and Aristotle through to major names from 20th-century philosophy.

The series includes not only individual philosophers also particular philosophies - Buddhism, analytical philosophy, German philosophy, Continental Philosophy, postmodernism, Indian philosophy, to take a sample at random.

As well, areas of philosophy are on the list: ethics, political philosophy, logic.

Choice enough here to make a start.

  • I've read some of the books in that series. The quality of each of course varies depending on the author but I'd say they're generally a good source to start up reading on any subject.
    – SpiderRico
    Jun 19, 2020 at 22:44

Try Sophie's World, I quote from the Wikipedia article:

It follows Sophie Amundsen, a Norwegian teenager who is introduced to the history of philosophy by Alberto Knox, a middle-aged philosopher.

Sophie's World became a best-seller in Norway and won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 1994. The English translation was published in 1995, and the book was reported to be the best-selling book in the world in that year.

It's a fiction book, where one is introduced to different philosophers / thoughts throughout, packaged in a way that may be easier to consume than a big, dry book. :)

  • I was just about to make the same suggestion Jun 21, 2020 at 17:04

Frederick Charles Copleston wrote a series of books under the title 'A History of Philosophy Series'.

As the name suggests this series of books are about history of philosophy ranging from THALES to CAMUS.

And the good thing is that these books are available for free at archive.org.

This is the link for first volume of the book.

There is also A series named 'Cambridge Companions to Philosophy' by, obviously, Cambridge. On there site it is said that:

[It is] Enjoyed by students, scholars, and anyone with an interest in philosophy, this internationally acclaimed series offers lively, clear introductions to major writers, thinkers, artists, topics, and periods. Each volume contains specially commissioned essays by a team of leading scholars, therefore offering a variety of viewpoints rather than a single voice.

So ya, have have a look on it.


After perusing Will Durrant's The Story of Philosophy (recommended above), if you want to get an eclectic taste of the actual works of various "favorites," you might want to pick up Forrest Baird's Philosophic Classics: From Plato to Derrida. I still have my third edition copy, which I will refer to on occasion, but it looks like it's on its sixth. And you can purchase a used one at a cheap price from: https://www.amazon.com/Philosophic-Classics-Derrida-Forrest-Baird/dp/0205783864

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