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Created Tuesday 17 November 2020

The following is adapted from a Word document titled What Every Educated Person Should Know about Philosophy. My dad RandallRDipert created the document in 1998 while he was a philosophy professor at West Point. The document was later available on his web site, where he described it as:

A list of books and articles, concepts, and quotations which I suggest every college graduate should know; also, extended to a graduate who is a philosophy major. A bit grandiose, overreaching, and pompous--but maybe suggestive of something useful.

What Every Educated Person Should Know in Philosophy

A well-read undergraduate should ideally have read, or at least be somewhat familiar with the content of, many or most of the works in boldface. (Works that can be read first have one asterisk; works to read next, two asterisks; and the hardest introductory works have three asterisks.) Other works are listed as part of a suggested reading list for a well-read undergraduate major in philosophy.

Novels and other Literature with Philosophical Substance

Author Work
Aristophanes The Clouds (satire of philosophy and Socrates)
Alexander Pope Essay on Man (long poem in English, religious metaphysics)
Voltaire Candide (parody of Leibniz) and other short works
J.W. von Goethe Faust
Fyodor Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment (or Notes from the Underground), The Brothers Karamazov (esp. section "Grand Inquisitor")
Hermann Hesse Siddharta (novella)
Albert Camus The Stranger; The Plague (novels)
, The Myth of Sisyphus (essays, meaning of life, suicide)
Ayn Rand The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged
Jean-Paul Sartre **No Exit (drama)
Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) **Alice in Wonderland (read as an adult, preferably after
studying some logic)
, Through the Looking Glass (logic)
T.S. Eliot Several works, especially The Waste Land and Four Quartets
Robert Pirsig ***Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
**, Lila