Western Philosophy

This is a list of important publications in Western Philosophy, organized by field.

Some reasons why a particular publication might be regarded as important:

  • Topic creator – A publication that created a new topic
  • Breakthrough – A publication that changed scientific knowledge significantly
  • Influence – A publication which has significantly influenced the world or has had a massive impact on the teaching of philosophy.

Ancient Philosophy

Parmenides, Ontological Poem
Plato, Protagoras
Plato, Cratylus
Plato, Phaedrus
Plato, Symposium
Plato, Meno
Plato, Euthyphro
Plato, Apology
Plato, Crito
Plato, Phaedo
Plato, Gorgias
Plato, The Republic
Plato, Timaeus
Plato, Parmenides
Aristotle, Organon
Aristotle, Physics
Aristotle, Metaphysics
Aristotle, On the Soul
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
Aristotle, Politics
Aristotle, Rhetoric
Aristotle, Poetics
Lucretius, On the Nature of Things
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Plotinus, Enneads

Medieval Philosophy

Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, c. AD 397
Augustine of Hippo, The City of God, early 5th century
Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy, c. 500
Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed
Maimonides, Mishneh Torah
Yehuda Halevi, Kuzari
Saadia Gaon, Emunoth ve-Deoth
Al-Ghazali, The Incoherence of the Philosophers
Averroes, The Incoherence of the Incoherence
Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra Gentiles, c. 1260
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae
Anselm, Proslogion

Modern Philosophy

Desiderius Erasmus, The Praise of Folly, 1509 (printed 1511)
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, 1513 (printed 1532)
Sir Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, 1620
Hugo Grotius, De iure belli ac pacis, 1625
René Descartes, Discourse on Method , 1637
René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, 1641
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, 1651
Blaise Pascal, Pensées, 1670
Baruch Spinoza, Ethics, 1677
Baruch Spinoza, Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, 1677
John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, 1689
John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 1689
Gottfried Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics, 1686
Gottfried Leibniz, New Essays Concerning Human Understanding, 1704 (printed 1765)
Gottfried Leibniz, Théodicée, 1710
Gottfried Leibniz, Monadology, 1714 (printed 1720)
George Berkeley, Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, 1710
David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, 1738–1740
David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1748
David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, 1751
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Arts and Sciences, 1750
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile: or, On Education, 1762
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, 1762
Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1759
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, 1781
Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, 1785
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason, 1788
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgement, 1790
Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women, 1792
Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Foundations of the Science of Knowledge, 1794
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit , 1807
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Science of Logic, 1812–1817
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Philosophy of Right, 1820
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Philosophy of History, printed 1837
Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, 1819–1859
Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or, 1843
Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, 1843
Søren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Anxiety, 1844
Max Stirner, The Ego and Its Own, 1844
Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto, 1848
Karl Marx, Das Kapital, 1867–1894
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859
John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism, 1861–1863
John Stuart Mill, Harriet Taylor Mill, The Subjection of Women, 1869
Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 1883–1891
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 1886
Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, 1887
Henri Bergson, Matter and Memory, 1896

Contemporary Philosophy

Phenomenology and Existentialism

Edmund Husserl, Logical Investigations (1900/1901)
Edmund Husserl, Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy (1913)
Martin Heidegger, Being and Time (1927)
Edmund Husserl, Cartesian Meditations (1931)
Albert Camus, Myth of Sisyphus (1942)
Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness (1943)
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception (1945)
Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (1949)
Jean-Paul Sartre, Critique of Dialectical Reason (1960)

Hermeneutics and Deconstruction

Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method (1960)
Paul Ricœur, Freud and Philosophy: An Essay on Interpretation (1965)
Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology (1967)

Structuralism and Post-structuralism

Michel Foucault, The Order of Things (1966)
Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition (1968)
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1972-1980)
Luce Irigaray, Speculum of the Other Woman (1974)
Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish (1975)

Critical Theory and Marxism

Herbert Marcuse, Reason and Revolution (1941)
Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944)
Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization (1945)
Louis Althusser, Reading Capital (1965)
Theodor Adorno, Negative Dialectics (1966)
Jürgen Habermas, Theory of Communicative Action (1981)
Alain Badiou, Being and Event (1988)


Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy (1912)
G.E. Moore, A Defence of Common Sense (1925)
Edmund Gettier, Is Justified True Belief Knowledge? (1963)
Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979)
Roderick Chisholm, A Theory of Knowing
Alvin Goldman, Epistemology and Cognition
John McDowell, Mind and World
Susan Haack, Evidence and Enquiry
Laurence Bonjour, The Structure of Empirical Knowledge.
Stephen Stich, The Fragmentation of Reason
Timothy Williamson, Knowledge and its Limits
Keith DeRose, The Case for Contextualism
Jason Stanley, Knowledge and Practical Interest
Hilary Kornblith, Knowledge and its Place in Nature
Jonathan Kvanvig, The Value of Knowledge and the Pursuit of Understanding.
David K. Lewis, ‘Elusive Knowledge’
Willard van Orman Quine, ‘Epistemology Naturalized’


John Dewey, Experience and Nature, 1929
William James, Pragmatism
G. E. Moore, The Refutation of Idealism, 1903
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (a.k.a. The Tractatus)
Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality
A. J. Ayer, Language, Truth, and Logic
Rudolf Carnap, Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology
D.M. Armstrong, Universals and Scientific Realism
W.V.O. Quine, Two Dogmas of Empiricism
W.V.O. Quine, On What There Is
Saul Kripke, Naming and Necessity
Derek Parfit, Reasons and Persons
David Kellogg Lewis, On the Plurality of Worlds
John McDowell, Mind and World
Timothy Williamson, Modal Logic as Metaphysics
Stephen Mumford, Dispositions.
Theodore Sider, Writing the Book of the World.
David Chalmers, Constructing the World.

Philosophy of biology

Elliott Sober, The Nature of Selection
Erwin Schrödinger, What is Life? The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell, 1945
Ruth Garrett Millikan, Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories
Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea

Philosophy of chemistry

  1. van Brakel, Philosophy of Chemistry, Leuven University Press, 2000.

Philosophy of mind

David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind and The Character of Consciousness
Daniel Dennett, Consciousness Explained
Thomas Nagel, What Is it Like to Be a Bat?
Hilary Putnam, The Meaning of Meaning
Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind, 1949
Wilfrid Sellars, Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind, 1956
John Searle, Intentionality
Roger Penrose, The Emperor’s New Mind
Ruth Millikan, Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories.
Jerry Fodor, The Language of Thought
Jerry Fodor, The Modularity of Mind
Andy Clark, Supersizing the Mind
Tyler Burge, ‘Anti-Individualism and the Mental’
Paul Churchland, ‘Eliminative Materialism and Propositional Attitudes’
Stephen Stich, From Folk Psychology to Cognitive Science
David K. Lewis, ‘An Argument for the Identity Theory’.

Philosophy of physics

Hans Reichenbach, The Philosophy of Space and Time
John Stuart Bell, On the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox, 1964

Philosophy of psychology

William James, The Principles of Psychology
Donald Davidson, The Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme

Philosophy of religion

Alvin Plantinga, God and Other Minds, 1967
Alvin Plantinga, ‘Is Belief in God Properly Basic’, 1981
Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God, 1979
William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument, 1979
J. L. Mackie, The Miracle of Theism, 1982
Dewi Zephaniah Phillips, ‘Religion Without Explanation’
William Rowe, ‘The Evidential Argument from Evil: A Second Look’, 1996

Philosophy of science

Karl Pearson, The Grammar of Science, 1892
Nelson Goodman, Fact, Fiction, and Forecast, 1954
Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, 1959
Thomas Samuel Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1962
Hans Reichenbach, The Rise of Scientific Philosophy
Paul Feyerabend, Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge, 1975
David K. Lewis, ‘How to Define Theoretical Terms’, 1970.
Bas C. van Fraassen, The Scientific Image, 1980
Larry Laudan, ‘The Demise of the Demarcation Problem’, 1983

Ethics, value, and social philosophy


R.G. Collingwood, The Principles of Art
Nelson Goodman, Languages of Art: An Approach to a Theory of Symbols, 1968
Arthur C. Danto, After the End of Art
Theodor Adorno, Aesthetic Theory


E. M. Anscombe, Modern Moral Philosophy
Philippa Foot, Virtues and Vices and Natural Goodness
David Gauthier, Morals by Agreement
Alan Gewirth, Reason and Morality
Allan Gibbard, Thinking How to Live
Susan Hurley, Natural Reasons
Shelly Kagan, The Limits of Morality
Christine Korsgaard, The Sources of Normativity
John McDowell, Values as Secondary Qualities
Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue
J. L. Mackie, Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong
G. E. Moore, Principia Ethica
Martha Nussbaum, The Fragility of Goodness
Derek Parfit, Reasons and Persons
Derek Parfit, On What Matters
Peter Railton, Facts, Values, and Norms
W. D. Ross, The Right and the Good
Thomas M. Scanlon, What We Owe to Each Other
Samuel Scheffler, The Rejection of Consequentialism
Peter Singer, Practical Ethics
Michael A. Smith, The Moral Problem
Bernard Williams, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy
Jeremy Bentham, The Principles of Morals and Legislation

Freedom and responsibility

F. Strawson, Freedom and Resentment


Paul Ramsey, The Patient as a Person
Paul Ramsey, Fabricated Man
Judith Jarvis Thomson, “A Defense of Abortion”

Business ethics

Tibor R. Machan, The Morality of Business: A Profession for Human Wealthcare (2007)


Judith Butler, ‘Performative Acts and Gender Constitution’, (1988)

Philosophy of economics

Kenneth Arrow, Social Choice and Individual Values
Ludwig von Mises, The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science
Elizabeth S. Anderson, Value in Ethics and Economics

Philosophy of education

B.F. Skinner, Walden Two
John Dewey, Democracy and Education
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Philosophy of history

R.G. Collingwood, The Idea of History

Philosophy of law

John Finnis, Natural Law and Natural Rights
H.L.A. Hart, The Concept of Law, 1994
Lon L. Fuller, The Morality of Law
Ronald Dworkin, Law’s Empire

Political philosophy

Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies
John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, 1971
Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Isaiah Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty


Edward Said, Orientalism

Logic, language, and mathematics

Logic and philosophy of logic

Charles Sanders Peirce, “How to Make Our Ideas Clear”
Gottlob Frege, Begriffsschrift
Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead, Principia Mathematica, 1910-1913
Kurt Gödel, “On Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Mathematica and Related Systems”, 1931
Saul Kripke, “Semantical Considerations on Modal Logic”
Alfred Tarski, “The Concept of Truth”
Donald Davidson, “Truth and Meaning”

Philosophy of language

Gottlob Frege, “Sense and Reference”
Bertrand Russell, “On Denoting”
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
Willard Van Orman Quine, “Word and Object”
J. L. Austin, “A Plea for Excuses”
Saul Kripke, Naming and Necessity
H. P. Grice, “Logic and Conversation”
Michael Dummett, Frege: Philosophy of Language
Robert Brandom, Making it Explicit
David K. Lewis, ‘General Semantics’
David Chalmers, ‘Two Dimensional Semantics’

Philosophy of mathematics

Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell, Principia Mathematica
Paul Benacerraf, What Numbers Could not Be
Paul Benacerraf, Mathematical Truth
Paul Benacerraf and Hilary Putnam, Philosophy of Mathematics: Selected Readings
George Boolos, Logic, Logic and Logic
Penelope Maddy, Second Philosophy.
Hartry Field, Without Numbers.