Preparing to study Philosophy

Philosophy books

The best way to prepare for your Philosophy course is to start doing Philosophy.

This is easier in company than alone, so try to find your local Philosophy club or society.

If you live near Hatfield you are welcome to come to our free talks. In London, you could get involved with Philosophy For All. There are Philosophy clubs all over the country, but they can be tricky to track down.

Philosophy can be hard to study without some guidance, so don't be put off if you find some of the reading complicated. If a passage seems too difficult, come back to it later. It is better to read just one book carefully than to try to read several books quickly.

Recommended reading

Philosophy StudentThe first textbook you will need for Introduction to Philosophy (the main First Year module) is:

  • Reading Philosophy: Selected Texts with a Method for Beginners edited by Guttenplan, Hornsby and Janaway. Wiley Blackwell. 2002.

Read the introduction and any chapter that takes your fancy.

Later in the course you will need:

  • The Meaning of Life edited by E.D. Klemke. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2008

Some good preparatory readings on ethical Philosophy are:

  • Being Good. Simon Blackburn. Oxford University Press. 2002.
  • Exploring Ethics: A Traveller's Tale. Almond, B. Oxford: Blackwell. 1998.
  • Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory edited by Lafollette, H. Oxford: Blackwell. 1999.

Some recent general introductions to Philosophy:

  • Think. Blackburn, S. Oxford: OUP. 1999.
  • A Brief History of Western Philosophy. Kenny, A. Oxford: Blackwell. 1998.