At the age of 21, I realized that schooling had left me with no real understanding of anything. So I took it upon myself to get an education. For fifteen years I lived to read, combing through used book stores and devouring books insatiably as I sought knowledge and understanding wherever I could find it. Eventually, as my own ideas matured, I found myself more and more critical of authors' ideas. I began to write in the books that I read--notes on the author's errors and inadequacies; references that might be useful for my own writing. And when a lull in my medical work in 1990 offered me ample time to think, I began to write down my own theory of everything. I began to realizing that the vast majority of intellectual works were contaminated with old ideas. Since then I have never recaptured my old joy in reading. I guess that's the price I paid for growing up intellectually.
This is just a partial list. It would take me an entire day to enter the rest. I've added comments on those authors or works that I've found especially important.
Aristotle - Physics, Metaphysics, Nichomachean Ethics, Logic, works
Deserves to be called "The philosopher"--Unequalled in the range and power of his philosophical cognition. Difficult to follow at times, but full of brilliant, deep insights and arguments
Plato - Republic, dialogues
Luecippus, Democritus, and Epicurus - works These works demonstrate what philosophy is: the creation of theories to explain all phenomena and to guide human behavior. Understanding brings freedom and happiness.
Epictetus - Discourses
Lucretius - On the Nature of Things
Marcus Aurelius - Meditations
Francis Bacon - Novum Oraganum, The Great Instauration
The premier scientist/philosopher of the Renaissance. Understood very well the dependence of the sciences on philosophy.
Rene Descartes - Meditations of First Philosophy
John Locke - works
Thomas Hobbes - works
Spinoza - selections
Kant - Critique of Pure Reason, Prolegmena, and Eternal Peace
Ludwig Von Mises - Theory and History
Fuller - A History of Philosophy
Will Durant - The Pleasures of Philosophy
Ayn Rand - Philosophy, Who Needs It?, The Virtue of Selfishness, For the New Intellectual, Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, and other works Ayn Rand Taught me how to think philosophically--that is to understand the power of clear ideas and logic. She was my intellectual mother. She certainly was not perfect or omniscient. Her callousness and ignorance of the criminal nature of capitalist banking and legal systems caused her to give moral legitimacy to capitalism, thus spurring the rise of modern Neo-Conservativism and Neo-Liberalism..
Mortimer Adler - Ten Philosophical Mistakes, A Guidebook to Learning, Haves Without Have-Nots, Reforming Education, Intellect: Mind over Matter
Karl Popper - works
Julian Huxley - Religion Without Revelation Important work pointing to the conclusion that I reached: that philosophy is the natural religion of all mankind
Blanshard - Reason and Analysis
Copi - Introduction to Logic
Halverson - A Concise Introduction to Philosophy
Needham - Cerebral Logic
Kelley - The Evidence of the Senses
Frankfurt and Others - Before Philosophy
Smith - Atheism - The Case Against God
Taylor - Good and Evil, A New Direction
Nielsen - Ethics Without God
Hans Kung - Does God Exist?
Needleman - The Heart of Philosophy
Bloom - The Closing of the American Mind
Friedrich - The Philosophy of Law in Historical Perspective
Toynbee - Civilization on Trial
Muller - Science and Criticism
Herbert Dingle - Through Science to Philosophy, Science at the Crossroads
Fearnside and Holther - Fallacy - The Counterfeit of Argument
Robert Nozick - Philosophical Explanations
Ervin Laszlo - The Systems View of the World
Joseph Campbell - Myths To Live By
Richard Tarnas - The Passion of the Western Mind
Peter Redpath - Wisdom's Odyssey, Cartesian Nightmare, Masquarade of the Dream Walker I agree with Dr. Redpath's assertion that philosophy has not existed in our society or our schools since ancient Greece.
Freud - works
Nathaniel Branden - works
Albert Ellis - works
B. F. Skinner - Beyond Freedom and Dignity
Irv Yalom - Existential Psychotherapy
Julian Jaynes - The Origin of Concsiousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind
Karen Horney - Neurosis and Human Growth, The Neurotic Personality of our Time, Self-Analysis
Erich Fromm - To Have or to Be
Maslow - The Farther Reaches of Human Nature
Yankelovich - New Rules
George Vaillant - Adaptation to Life
Rogers and Stevens - Person to Person
Bach and Goldberg - Creative Aggression
Paul Kurtz, ed. - A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology
Alice Miller - The Drama of the Gifted Child, Banished Knowledge, For Your Own Good, The Untouched Key
Derek Bickerton - Language and Species
John McCrone - The Ape That Spoke
Joseph Campbell - Myths To Live By
Andrew Weil - The Natural Mind
John Bradshaw - Bradshaw On: The Family, Homecoming
Rollo May - Man's Search for Himself
Carl N. Degler - In Search of Human Nature
Pat Duffy Hutcheon - Leaving the Cave, The Road to Reason
Wilhelm Reich - The Mass Psychology of Fascism, Character Structure, and works If you want to understand Nazi fascism and the methods used even today to create sick, obedient citizens, read the MP of F.
Thomas Szasz - The Myth of Mental Illness, works
Henry Hazlitt - Economics in One Lesson Best simple introduction to economic laws.
Adam Smith - The Weath of Nations
Ludwig von Mises - Human Action Best philosophical treatment of the fundamental questions in economics.
Murray Rothbard - Man Economy and State
Thomas Sowell - Marxism
Milton Friedman - Free To Choose
Walker - The Science of Wealth
Malabre - Understanding the Economy
Harry Browne - The Economic Time Bomb
Todd G. Buchholz - New Ideas From Dead Economists
Michael Rothschild - Bionomics - The Inevitability of Capitalism
POLITICS, LAW, AND PUBLIC POLICY
Kelso and Adler - The Capitalist Manifesto
Mortimer Adler - Reforming Education
Ludwig Von Mises - Omnipotent Government, Bureaucracy
Ayn Rand - Capitalism, The Unknown Ideal, The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution
Walter Williams - The State Against Blacks
Charles Murray - Losing Ground, In Pursuit of Happiness and Good Government
Wortham - The Other Side of Racism
Leonard Peikoff - The Ominous Parallels
Geis - Not the Law's Business
Hodgson - The Democratic Economy
David Stockman - The Triumph of Politics
Ekirch - The Decline of American Liberalism
Thomas Jefferson - writings
George Gilder - Wealth and Poverty
David Bergland - Libertarianism in One Lesson
Robert A. G. Monks, Neil Minow - Power and Accountability
Paul H. Weaver - The Suicidal Corporation
Daniel Callahan - What Kind of Life
Walter Bogdanich - The Great White Lie
James H. Cassedy - Medicine in America
David Friedman - The Machinery of Freedom
Bruce L. Benson - The Enterprise of Law
John S. Mill - On Liberty
Morris Berman - The Twilight of American Culture, Dark Ages America
EDUCATION AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT
Sears and Sears - The Baby Book The Best manual on intensive parenting of infants and children. Throw out Dr. Spock and the rest. We follows the advice in this book with both our children and are very happy (and tired).
A.S. Neill - Summerhill School The only description of a truly democratic school which observes the rights of children. It's an eye-opener!
Grace Llewellyn - The Teenage Liberation Handbook The best single introduction to what's wrong with coercive government schooling. How to drop out of school and get a real life and education. My own experience with deprogramming myself and learning things on my own confirms the truth of Ms. Llewellyn's ideas.
Bärbel Inhelder and Jean Piaget - The Growth of Logical Thinking from Chilhood to Adolescence A crucial work that demolishes our society's sooner-better-than-later pedagogy. Children's minds go through definite stages of development. It's counterproductive or worse to try to force them to think abstractly when they are not neurologically capable.
Herodotus - The Histories
Will Durant - The Story of Civilization, 11 volumes, The Lessons of History It took me nearly two years to read his delightful Story of Civilization. A must for anyone who wants a broad grasp of human civiliation and ideas.
Arnold Toynbee - A Study of History, abridgement of vols. 1-6
Spengler - The Decline of the West, abridged
Herbert Muller - Freedom in the Ancient World, Freedom in the Modern World, The Loom of History, Uses of the Past
Palmer and Colton - A History of the Modern World since 1815
Kemmerer and Jones - American Economic History
Paul Johnson - Modern Times, Intellectuals
Alexander Rüstow - Freedom and Domination Every state originated in conquest. So much for the "social contract" theory of the state
Jared Diamond - Guns, Germs, and Steel A must read. The first true history of human civilization. It is what history should be--a branch of philosophy in which hypotheses and theories are put forward to explain the facts of history.
Lord Kinross - The Ottoman Centuries
Peter Mansfield - The Arabs
Ron David - Arabs and Israelis for Beginners Best Introduction to the truth about the conflict in the Middle East
Norman Finklestein - Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, The Holocaust Industry
Benny Morris - The birth of the Palestinian refugee problem, 1947-1949 A Zionist, Morris still presents the facts and explodes the usual myths regarding the expulsion of the Palestinians. The necessary followup to this book is Finkelstein's Image and Reality (above) in which Finkelstein draws the conclusions that Morris evaded.
Noam Chomsky - Fateful Triangle; The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians
Sandra Mackey - Lebanon, Death of a Nation, The Saudis: Inside the Desert Kingdom
Edward Said - Orientalism
Avi Shlaim - The Iron Wall
Israel Shahak - Jewish History, Jewish Religion
Israel Shamir - Pardes, an Etude In Cabbala
Galileo - Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo
Nicolas Copernicus - On the Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres
Johannes Kepler - Epitome of Copernican Astronomy, Harmonies of the World
Isaac Newton - Principia Mathematica
Einstein - Relativity, Ideas and Opinions, The Evolution of Physics, works
Schlipp, editor - Albert Einstein, Philosopher-Scientist Important resource in my figuring out what Einstein really meant by "reality", "external world", "causality", etc. See my papers for my analysis of his epistemology.
Abraham Pais - "Subtle is the Lord...The Science and Life of Albert Einstein
Werner Heisenberg - Physics and Philosophy
Richard Feynman - QED I thank Feynman for his honest presentation of exactly what QED is. He helped me to understand it.
Karl Popper - Works including Quantum Theory and the Schism in Physics, Realism and the Aim of Physics, The Open Universe His destruction of the rationale for subjectivism in Quantum Theory encouraged me to continue in my line of thinking. Popper respected Einstein too much, however, to extend his criticism to Relativity itself. Popper remained too much of a positivist.
Herbert Dingle - Science at the Crossroads, Through Science to Philosophy Dingle tries, but doesn't quite get from Science to philosophy. I have done so.
Bruce Wheaton - The Tiger and the Shark
Clifford Will - Was Einstein Right?
Lincoln Barrett - The Universe and Dr. Einstein
Chaisson - Cosmic Dawn
Heinz Pagels - Perfect Symmetry
Stephen Hawking - A Brief History of Time
Capra - The Tao of Physics
Eric Lerner - The Big Bang Never Happened
John D. Barrow - Theories of Everything
Nick Herbert - Quantum Reality
Turner and Hazlett, Eds - The Einstein Myth and the Ives Papers
Edwin Burtt - Metaphysical Foundations of Physics Important discussion of the religious and metaphysical origins of modern physics
Edmund Whittaker - A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity The history of the actual production of physical ideas, a history suppressed today as all academics are orthodox Relativists.
Branden, Barbara - The Passion of Ayn Rand
Sciabarra - Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical
Blum, Carol, Diderot - The Virtue of a Philosopher
Farrington, Benjamin - The Faith of Epicurus
Will Durant - Transition
Charles Darwin - Autobiography