The Professor of Philosophy at UCL chooses five books by thinkers who have shaped the field. He explores the experiences that influenced each writer, saying 'it’s very rare for philosophers to say very much about their history and what brought them to the views they have'.
Some argue there is no necessary connection between the rejection of traditional religious ideas and the evolution of democracy but that's wrong, argues the eminent historian. He chooses books that give as full as possible a picture of the Enlightenment in all its dimensions.
He came from a politically active family, but renounced politics to become a philosopher. Or did he? Melissa Lane chooses the best books to help us understand Plato.
It's abstract and not everyone's cup of tea but, in many ways, inescapable. Cambridge University philosopher Tim Crane introduces the best books on metaphysics.
Many philosophical theories try to evade the uncomfortable truth that luck and fate play a role in the conduct of our moral lives, argues philosopher Paul Russell. He chooses the best books on free will and responsibility.
Pragmatism is a philosophical movement that has dominated philosophy in America from the early 1900s to the present day, argues the philosopher and political theorist. He chooses the best books on pragmatism.
Hume had a message he wanted to get out — particularly as regards skepticism about religion — but he was no proto-Richard Dawkins, says Simon Blackburn. He chooses the best books on David Hume.