Philosophy - further reading guide

Philosophy - further reading guide

libcom's guide to further reading on philosophy, materialism and dialectics.

Karl Marx:
*Intro to Grundrisse
Preface to The Critique of Political Economy
The Holy Family (or The Critique of Critical Criticism)
*Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844
The Poverty of Philosophy
The German Ideology

Jean Hyppolite:
Logic and Existence
Genesis and Structure of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit
Introduction to Hegel’s Philosophy of History
Studies on Marx and Hegel

*Theodore Adorno:
Dialectic of Enlightenment (w/ Horkheimer)
Hegel: Three Studies
Negative Dialectics
Against Epistemology
The Jargon of Authenticity
Critical Models
The Stars Down to Earth
Minima Moralia

*Max Horkheimer:
Critical Theory
Eclipse of Reason
Between philosophy and Social Science
Critique of instrumental reason

*Gyorgy Lukacs:
*History and Class Consciousness

*Ernst Bloch
Aesthetics and Politics
Essays on the Philosophy of Music
Heritage of Our Times
The Principle of Hope, 3 Vols.
The Utopian Function of Art and Literature : Selected Essays

*Open Marxism, 3 vols. – Bonefeld, et al.
*Notes on Dialectics – C.L.R. James
*Marxism and Philosophy – Korsch
*Marx’s Grundrisse and Hegel’s Logic – Uchida
Reason and Revolution – H. Marcuse
Towards A Critical Theory of Society - Marcuse
Dialectic of the Concrete - Karl Kosik
*Philosophy and Revolution – Dunayevskaya
The Marxist-Humanist Philosophical moment – Dunayevskaya
Lenin, Hegel and Western Marxism – K. Anderson
The Origin of Negative Dialectics – S. Buck-Morss
The Dialectical Imagination : A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research 1923-1950 – M. Jay
Marxism and Totality: The Adventures of a Concept from Lukacs to Habermas – M. Jay
Adorno – M. Jay
Permanent Exiles – M. Jay
Marx, The Young Hegelians and the Origins of Radical Social Theory – W. Breckman
The Poverty of Theory – E. P. Thompson
Not Yet: Reconsidering Ernst Bloch - Jamie Owen Daniel
The Condition of Postmodernity – Harvey
*Notebooks on Dialectics - Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 38

Non-Dialectical Philosophy Relevant to Marx’s Critique of Philosophy

Schelling and Modern European Philosophy – A. Bowie
On The History of Modern Philosophy – Schelling
Aesthetics and Subjectivity: From Kant to Nietzsche – A. Bowie
The Myth of the Other: Lacan, Foucault, Deleuze, Bataille - Franco Rella

The Critique of Pure Reason
The Critique of Practical Reason
The Critique of Judgment

On Friedrich Nietzsche:
The Gay Science
Beyond Good and Evil
Twighlight of the Idols
On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo
Thus Spake Zarathustra
Human, All Too Human
The Anti-Christ
The Birth of Tragedy
Nietzsche and Philosophy – Deleuze
Why We are not Nietzscheans – Ferry, Ed.
Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle – Klossowski
Nietzsche on Truth and Philosophy – M. Clark
Nietzsche and Postmodernism - Robinson
Nietzsche: The Man and His Philosophy – R. J. Hollingdale
Nietzsche’s Case – B. Magnus
Nietzsche: Life as Literature - Nehamas
Hegel, Nietzsche and the Criticism of Metaphysics – S. Houlgate
*Nietzsche’s Corp/se – Geoff Waites
The Adventures of Difference – G. Vattimo

On Spinoza:
A Spinoza Reader (The Ethics and other works)
A Theologico-Political Treatise
The Savage Anomaly – Negri/Hardt
Spinoza, Practical Philosophy – Deleuze
Spinoza and Politics – Balibar

On Martin Heidegger:
Being and Nothingness
The Ticklish Subject - Zizek

On Deleuze and Guattari:
A Thousand Plateaus
What Is Philosophy?
Pure Immanence - Deleuze
Bergsonism - Deleuze
Foucault – Deleuze
Soft Subversions – Guattari
Chaosophy - Guattari
Gilles Deleuze: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy – M. Hardt
Deleuze: A Critical Reader – P. Patton, Ed.
Deleuze and the Political – P. Patton
The Myth of the Other: Lacan, Foucault, Deleuze, Bataille – F. Rella

Slavoj Zizek:
Tarrying with the Negative
The Ticklish Subject
Lacanian Ink
Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left – w/Butler and Laclau

On Michel Foucault:
Archeology of Knowledge
The Order of Things
Madness and Civilization
Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics by Hubert L. Dreyfus, Paul Rabinow
Politics, Philosophy, Culture: Interviews and Other Writings, 1977- 1984
Foucault Live
Bodies and Pleasures: Foucault and the Politics of Sexual Normalization - Ladelle McWhorter

Capital and Class
Common Sense
Historical Materialism

Dialectical Materialism

George Novack:
Polemics in Marxist Philosophy
The Origins of Materialism
Existentialism versus Marxism
An Introduction to The Logic of Marxism

Perry Anderson:
In The Tracks of Historical Materialism
Western Marxism
The Question of Europe
A Zone of Engagement
Arguments Within English Marxism
The Origins of Post-Modernity

Friedrich Engels:
Socialism: Utopian and Scientific
Ludwig Feuerbach and The Outcome of

Classical German Philosophy
On Historical Materialism
The Dialectics of Nature

V. I. Lenin:
*Notebooks on Dialectics - Lenin, Collected

Works, Vol. 38
Marxism and Empirio-Criticism
Marx, Engels, Marxism - Lenin

On Historical Materialism - F. Mehring
The Development of the Monist View of

History – Plekhanov
Fundamental Problems of Marxism - Plekhanov
Socialism and Philosophy - Antonio Labriola
Essays on the Materialist Conception of

History - A. Labriola
Historical Materialism - N. Bukharin
Four Lectures on Marxism - Paul Sweezy
Freedom and Determination in History - J.

Post-Modernism - A. Callinicos
Algebra of Revolution – A. Callinicos
Marxism in the Post-Modern Age –

For Marx – Althusser
Lenin and Philosophy – Althusser
The Philosophy of Marx – Balibar
Masses, Classes, Ideas: Studies on Politics

and Philosophy Before and After Marx -


Gyorgy Lukacs:
In Defense of History and Class

Ontology of Being (Hegel)
Ontology of Being (Marx)
Destruction of Reason

Posted By

Jan 29 2010 22:09


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Jan 30 2010 06:35

That's some reading list and by the time I scrolled down to Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason" I was well and truely scared - you need a degree to understand that book alone!!!

Feb 3 2010 16:19

Personally I would add some of the pillars of analytic philosophy who were radical in their own right, and offer perhaps a more proletarian methodology for the presentation, engagement, and construction of philosophy than say... hegel. Bertrand Russell, Wittgenstein come to mind. You could add early communists coming out of the anglo-american philosophical tradition too like Thompson. Bakunin had his own critique of metaphysics and philosophical works.

on the dialectical side, you're missing Dietzgen.

Feb 3 2010 18:45

thanks for those comments - could you list particular books please that we could add?

Feb 4 2010 11:51

Agreed about Wittgenstein...

... the 'duck-rabbit' and how we perceive for example, the 'cliff edge of language' etc

Particular books: "Tracatus Logico-philosophicus" which should be augmented with "The Blue and Brown Books" (and perhaps "Wittgenstein for Beginners" for plebs like me).

Hegel, Shopenhauer and Goethe are useful for a better understanding of Nietzsche

Hegel "Phenomenology of Spirit" (1807) and "Elements of the Philosophy of Right" (1822)
Shopenhaur "The World as Will and Representation" (1818)

Gottlob Frege would be important from an analytical perspective:

"Function and Concept" (1891)
"Logical Investigations" (1924)

You might also consider Peter Singer

"Animal Liberation" (1975)
"Practical Ethics" (1979)

Feb 4 2010 12:04

some ancient but in parts still interesting stuff:

- Laozi: Daodejing
- Zhuangzi
- Liezi
- Epicurus: Letters
- Lucretius: De rerum natura

Yorkie Bar
Feb 4 2010 12:14

You rockin' out the Daoist mystics I see wink. Have you read the LeGuin transcription of the Daodejing (afaik the only version assembled by an anarchist).

Feb 8 2010 12:20

the old taoist philosphers displayed both dialectical thinking and a criticism of institutions and (confuzianist) culture ... must have a look at the LeGuin translation

Yorkie Bar
Feb 8 2010 18:42
the old taoist philosphers displayed both dialectical thinking and a criticism of institutions and (confuzianist) culture

This is true, but actually dialectics is common to many cultures. Plus, the Daoist critique of property, the state etc. is entirely mystical and highly regressive, stressing 'returning' rather than progress or advancement. I was very struck when reading it by what DeBord said about cyclical time in Ch. 5 of SoS:

Debord wrote:
From this moment on, the succession of the generations left the natural realm of the purely cyclical and became a purposeful succession of events, a mechanism for the transmisiion of power. Irreversible time was the prerogative of whoever ruled,

I think the Daoists represented a reaction against this movement away from the primal, cyclical time - this would be borne out by the rejection of modernity (writing, tool use) evidenced in the penultimate chapter of the Book of De. Confucianism, on the other hand, represented a more 'civilised', sophisticated and rational way of viewing the world, which is probably why it eventually became the dominant belief system in Chinese civil society.

Feb 9 2010 00:31

For more modern stuff on knowledge, reality, mind, etc. John McDowell is the best.

Mind, Value and Reality *
Meaning, Knowledge and Reality
Mind and World


Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Feb 9 2010 23:01


Sep 2 2011 14:34

Yeah, to echo what s.nappalos said:

Joseph Dietzgen's Nature of Human Brain Work: An Introduction to Dialectics
Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell's Principia Mathematica
Bertrand Russell's The Principles of Mathematics
Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations

Sep 3 2011 17:45

If you’re interested in the ideas of Kant and need a great introduction, read Roger Scruton’s ‘Kant’, Oxford, 1985. A right wing git writes the best book (I know of) on Kant. Don’t buy it get it from your library.

Jul 22 2012 16:01

I have some comments I'd like to make on this list.

First, a simple mistake. Under the section for Heidegger, it says "Being and Nothingness." Being and Nothingness is one of Sartre's main books, not Heidegger's. Heidegger's opus is Being and Time (Sein und Zeit).

Anyway, on to more substantive comments. First, I think the amount of material dedicated to "dialectical materialism" critical or otherwise is out of proportion to how important that ideology is. Engelsian/Leninist diamat is shit and is also not that relevant today other than the insistence upon it by Stalinists and some Trots. For anarchism and communism, I think a better grounding in modern and contemporary thought is a lot more useful in terms of illuminating or at least providing context for current debates. Some works I think are sorely missing, even if we don't endorse what is said within them:

Being and Nothingness - Sartre
Critique of Dialectical Reason - Sartre
The Age of Reason - Sartre
Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology - Husserl
Creative Evolution - Bergson
Duration and Simultaneity - Bergson
Matter and Memory - Bergson
Time and Free Will - Bergson
Existence and Existents - Levinas
Otherwise than Being - Levinas
Totality and Infinity - Levinas
Time and the Other - Levinas
Knowledge and Human Interests - Habermas
The Gift - Mauss
Given Time I. Counterfeit Money - Derrida
Margins of Philosophy - Derrida
Writing and Difference - Derrida
Who's afraid of philosophy? - Derrida
In Praise of Philosophy - Merleau-Ponty
Phenomenology of Perception - Merleau-Ponty
Signs - Merleau Ponty
Ideology: An Introduction - Terry Eagleton
After Theory - Terry Eagleton
Postmodernism, Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism - Fredric Jameson
Valences of the Dialectic - Fredric Jameson

I also find the Zizek selection sorely lacking. The selections presented won't even make as much sense without some other works. I'd suggest adding:

The Sublime Object of Ideology (MANDATORY)
Looking Awry
The Fragile Absolute
In Defense of Lost Causes
First as Tragedy, Then as Farce
The Metastases of Enjoyment
The Indivisible Remainder
Welcome to the Desert of the Real
The Parallax View (which is in the library)
Less Than Nothing

To the collection of Marxist stuff I highly recommend:

Intellectual and Manual Labor - Alfred Sohn-Rethel
The Concept of Nature in Marx - Alfred Schmidt

And finally, in terms of journals, definitely add Radical Philosophy.

Jul 26 2012 23:34
First, I think the amount of material dedicated to "dialectical materialism" critical or otherwise is out of proportion to how important that ideology is.

Totally agree.

Joseph Kay
Jul 27 2012 06:52

Do people find these guides useful? I'm wondering if they need at least a sentence about each one explaining why it's of interest to libertarian communists, otherwise it's kinda just a list of ALL THE BOOKS.

Jul 27 2012 09:14
Joseph Kay wrote:
Do people find these guides useful? I'm wondering if they need at least a sentence about each one explaining why it's of interest to libertarian communists, otherwise it's kinda just a list of ALL THE BOOKS.

I have found them useful enough. In that, I know if I want to read on something I can look at relevant guide. Obviously it would be better if there were a short description with each one similar to intros on library article, but that is a massive task.

Joseph Kay
Jul 27 2012 09:20

Yeah it's a genuine question. Personally I haven't really used them, but I'm interested how/if others do.

Jul 27 2012 09:52

I use them, just for book ideas. Not sure a specific intro is needed, should be obvious that it's books of interest to readers of the site, and it's clear that it's a libertarian communist site, I suppose it's no biggie either way.

Mar 31 2013 15:13

I saw some comments suggesting more analytic philosophy for this list. So, I'll suggest some that may have been overlooked:

forallx by P.D. Magnus
An excellent introduction into formal logic for the absolute beginner and the author has made it available for free (link below).

An Introduction to Modal Logic by G.E. Hughes and M.J. Cresswell
If you read the text above you should transition pretty well into this one.

A Defense of Common Sense by G.E. Moore

On Certainty by Ludwig Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein takes Moore's argument from the essay provided above and expands it a bit.

Political Philosophy:
Why Not Socialism? by G.A. Cohen
While this one is not necessarily up to the standards in the field, because he uses concepts which go on undefined sometimes, doesn't address his opponents, etc, this very factor makes it an easy introductory text into Cohen's socialism/analytical Marxism (I would suggest that, if you've never read Cohen, you read this book and then read the following in order).

On The Currency of Egalitarian Justice by G.A. Cohen
Pretty much his most influential work. From what I've read, everything else he wrote on egalitarianism stemmed from add-ons and re-working of theses' he put forward on this one.

The Structure of Proletarian Unfreedom by G.A. Cohen

Incentives, Inequality and Community by G.A. Cohen

Anarchism: some theoretical foundations by Alan Carter
(This one was free on his page until recently. I don't know what happened.)

Proposed Roads to Freedom by Bertrand Rusell
This one is not really philosophy, it's more political theory of the "political science" variety. However, it does show that Russell was a Guild Socialist with strong leanings towards syndicalism.

The Philosophical Foundations of Private Property by Alan Carter
(He gave me permission to post the entire book here; however, I have it on image files and I'm in the process of transcribing it and progress is slow. So, if anyone is interested in helping me transcribe it, shoot me a private message and I'll send them some files. The book is an excellent demolition of the most common arguments in favor of private property in political philosophy, e.g. Locke, Nozick, Rawls, etc).