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Great Books of Philosophy

Click on each clue for its answer.

  1. Work of political philosophy published anonymously in 1689 by John Locke the first part of which contains a critiques of the divine rights of kings and the second part outlines a theory of civil society based on natural rights and contract theory.

    Two Treatises of Government

  2. 1710 work by the Irish Empiricist philosopher George Berkeley in which he seeks to refute the claims made by his contemporary John Locke about the nature of human perception. A noted work of metaphysical idealism, this book also tries to offer a proof of God.

    Principles of Human Knowledge

  3. Bertrand Russell's best known book, it is a guide to Western philosophy from the pre-Socratic philosophers to the early 20th century.

    A History of Western Philosophy

  4. The most famous work of Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274) although it was never finished. It is famous for its five arguments for the existence of God, and is perhaps the greatest theological statement of the Middle Ages.

    Summa Theologica

  5. John Locke's greatest achievement, in it he describes the mind at birth as a blank slate (tabula rasa, although he did not use those actual words) filled later through experience. The essay was one of the principal sources of empiricism in modern philosophy, and influenced many enlightenment philosophers, such as David Hume and George Berkeley.

    An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

  6. His works include his Essays, as well as the Colours of Good and Evil and the Meditationes Sacrae, all published in 1597. His famous aphorism, "knowledge is power", is found in the Meditations. The incomplete Instauratio magna (Great Renewal) was his plan for reorganization of human thought.

    Francis Bacon

  7. In this book, Rousseau's masterpiece, he claimed that a perfect society would be controlled by the "general will" of its populace. Inspired political reforms or revolutions in Europe, especially in France and expelled the myth that the King was appointed by God to legislate.

    The Social Contract

  8. Written approximately in 360 BC, it is one of the most influential works of philosophy and political theory, and perhaps Plato's best known work.

    The Republic

  9. Published in 1651, this masterpiece of moral and political philosophy takes is titled after a biblical monster. The book concerns the structure of society as represented figuratively by the frontispiece, showing the state giant made up of individuals. In the book, the author argues for a social contract and rule by an absolute sovereign.

    Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes

  10. David Hume's most important work and one of the most important books in the history of philosophy, it is divided into 3 parts and is intended as a complete analysis of human nature.

    Treatise of Human Nature

  11. A bona fide classic of philosophy written by Spinoza in 1677 in which he lays out that reality can be either God or Nature.

    The Ethics

  12. The Principles of Psychology, a monumental text in the history of psychology, was written by this American pragmatist and published in 1890. It includes a famous account of the stream of consciousness.

    William James

  13. This book of Bertrand Russell is probably the best introductory book of philosophy.

    The Problems of Philosophy

  14. Blaise Pascal's last and unfinished work, it contains his famous 'wager', an argument for the rationality of a belief in God.

    Pensees (Thoughts)

  15. One of Hegel's most important philosophical works, he develops the concept of dialectic, absolute idealism, ethical life, and sublation in this book. The book had profound impact in Western philosophy (particularly in the development of Marxism), and "has been praised and blamed for the development of existentialism, communism, fascism, death of God theology, and historicist nihilism."

    The Phenomenology of Spirit

  16. Series of personal writings by a certain Roman emperor setting forth his ideas on Stoic philosophy. Written on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty and has been praised for its "exquisite accent and its infinite tenderness."

    Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

  17. An influential book written by the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, exploring the aesthetic and ethical "phases" or "stages" of existence. It portrays two life views, one consciously hedonistic, the other based on ethical duty and responsibility. Each life view is written and represented by a fictional pseudonymous author, the prose of the work depending on the life view being discussed.


  18. Sometimes regarded as the most important philosopher of the 20th century, he wrote the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations, both of which are regarded as highly influential in analytic philosophy.

    Ludwig Wittgenstein

  19. Classic work of Marx's revolutionary philosophy of history that begins "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles."

    The Communist Manifesto

  20. A French satire by the Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire in which the protagonist who has been indoctrinated with Leibnizian optimism becomes disillusioned after witnessing and experiencing many great hardships. Through the allegory of the character, Voltaire pokes fun at religion and theologians, governments and armies, philosophies and philosophers; most visibly, Voltaire rails against Leibniz and his Optimism.


  21. Nietzsche's best-known book and the one he considered the most important. In this he uses a prophet to prophesize the coming of the overman (Ubermensch).

    Thus Spoke Zarathustra

  22. Simplification of his own A Treatise of Human Nature, Hume published this anonymously in London in 1739-1740 to make it more accessible to the general public.

    An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

  23. Plato's fifth and last dialogue (the first four being Euthyphro, Apology, Crito and Meno) which details the final days of Socrates and contains the scene of his death. The dialogue is told from the perspective of one of Socrates' students, ___ of Elis.


  24. Written by Plato, it contains the speech given by Socrates as he defends himself against the charges of being a man "who corrupted the young, did not believe in the gods, and created new deities."

    (The) Apology (of Socrates)

  25. Also called Treatise on the Light, this book by René Descartes written between 1629 and 1633 contains a relatively complete version of his philosophy, from method, to metaphysics, to physics and biology. This book endorsed the Copernican view of the moving earth, so Descartes cautiously delayed its release when he heard of the condemnation of Galileo’s Copernicanism by the Catholic Church.

    Le Monde (The World)

  26. Sometimes subtitled A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, this 1943 philosophical treatise by Jean-Paul Sartre is regarded as the beginning of the growth of existentialism in the 20th century. Its main purpose was to define consciousness as transcendent.

    Being and Nothingness

  27. This man, the father of phenomenology, wrote Logical Investigations, Ideas, Formal and Transcendental Logic and Cartesian Meditations.

    Edmund Husserl

  28. One of the greatest books of the modern period, this Descartes work contains six meditations and discards all belief in things which are not absolutely certain, and then tries to establish what can be known for sure.

    Meditations on First Philosophy

  29. The masterpiece of Arthur Schopenhauer in which he implies that the nature of the empirical world consists in blind willing.

    The World as Will and Representation

  30. An extensive treatise on political economy written in German by Karl Marx and edited in part by Friedrich Engels. The book is a critical analysis of capitalism and its practical economic application and also, in part, a critique of other related theories.

    Das Kapital

  31. Kant was one of the most influential thinkers of modern Europe and of the late Enlightenment. Name his 3 major works that are titled critiques.

    Critique of Pure Reason (1781), Critique of Practical Reason (1788), Critique of Judgement (1790)

  32. Work by Aristotle on virtue and moral character which plays a prominent role in defining Aristotelian ethics. It consists of ten books based on notes from his lectures at the Lyceum and were either edited by or dedicated to his son, from which it gets its name. Among the most influential treatises on morality ever written.

    Nicomachean Ethics

  33. German philosopher Martin Heidegger's most important work, it introduces the concept of Dasein, 'being-in-itself', and attempts to rethink Being completely.

    Being and Time