Girl reading a book on a beach

This is a list of interesting and accessible philosophy books which you might want to have a look at before you start your course. We've arranged them by topic - feel free to read whatever interests you! These are not compulsory in any way (and most aren't set texts for any module next year) so by no means should you try to read too many of them (after all, it is summer). But if you have a look at one or two, they will give you a sense of what you will be doing and also help when you begin your studies. 

General philosophy:

  • Simon Blackburn: Think (Oxford University Press, 1999) 
  • Earl Conee and Ted Sider: Riddles of Existence (Oxford University Press, 2005)
  • Steven D. Hales: This is Philosophy: An Introduction (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013)
  • Thomas Nagel: What Does It All Mean (Oxford University Press, 1987) 


  • Thomas Hurka: The Best Things in Life (Oxford University Press, 2011)
  • Russ Shafer-Landau: The Fundamentals of Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2011)
  • Peter Singer: Practical Ethics (Cambridge University Press, various editions)
  • Heather Widdows: Global Ethics: An Introduction (Acumen, 2011) 

History of philosophy: 

  • Plato: Meno
  • Descartes: Meditations
  • Anthony Kenny: An Illustrated Brief History of Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2006) 
  • Wesley Salmon: An Encounter with David Hume

Philosophy of mind:

  • Ian Ravenscroft: A Beginner’s Guide to Philosophy of Mind (Oxford University Press, 2005)
  • John Searle: Mind: A Brief Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2004)
  • Tim Crane: Elements of Mind (Oxford University Press, 2001)

Doing philosophy:

  • Julian Baggini and Peter Fosl: Philosopher’s Toolkit (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010)
  • Claire Saunders et al: Doing Philosophy: A Practical Guide for Students (Bloomsbury, 2013) 
  • A.P. Martinich: Philosophical Writing: An Introduction (Blackwell, various editions)


  • Yujin Nagasawa: The Existence of God: Philosophical Introduction (Routledge, 2011)
  • Joseph Campbell: Free Will (Polity, 2011)
  • John Perry: Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality (Hackett, 1978)