Intro to Philosophy Source List

Earlier I had done a list on which basic philosophy texts to read. Here I should step back and look at the best secondary literature on the topic. On one hand, some philosophers like Plato need no interpreters. His writing is too good. Others, like Hegel and Kant, demand interpreters. The writing is not so good. Even worse, men like Locke and Hume are not always using terms the way you think they are.

Learning the Language

101 Key Terms in Philosophy and their use for Theology. Eds. Clark and Smith. Covers theological prolegomena, some analytic philosophy, and some hippie continental nonsense.

Using the Tools

Baggini, Julian. The Philosopher’s Toolkit. Excellent job explaining the methodology in philosophy. Written from a secular standpoint.

History of Philosophy

Frame, John. History of Western Philosophy. Okay. Frame’s strength is in linguistic analysis. Good sections on Kant and Hegel. Misreads other thinkers, though.

Russell, Bertrand. A History of Western Philosophy. Once you get over how impressed Russell is with himself, this is a handy tool. Very well-written.

Scruton, Roger. A Short History of Modern Philosophy. A sheer joy to read. Writing style surpasses Russell’s.

Tarnas, Richard. Passion of the Western Mind.

Philosophy of Religion

Thiselton, Anthony. Approaching Philosophy of Religion. Superb writing. Leans analytical with discussions on Wittgenstein.

Rowe, William. Philosophy of Religion. Rowe is an atheist but a competent philosopher. This isn’t his best work, though.


Meek, Esther Lightcap. A Little Manual for Knowing. Wonderful account of how we know. Almost has a healing effect on the mind.

Wood, W. Jay. Epistemology. Echoes some of Plantinga’s moves.


Holmes, Arthur. Ethics. Great discussion of utilitarianism.

Geisler, Norman. Ethics: Issues and Options. Probably the best modern systematic treatment of ethics. Presents his “graded absolutism.”


Hasker, William. Metaphysics. In the same series as Wood and Holmes. Hasker is an open theist, but even then he presents a very weak defense of free will.

Chisolm, Roderick. On Metaphysics. Difficult at times but a number of important discussions.

Engaging the World

Moreland, J. P. Love Your God with All Your Mind. Probably the most important philosophy text I have ever read.

Moreland, J. P. Kingdom Triangle. Similar effect as the above one. Updates JP’s project to include virtue ethics and the Spirit’s power.


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