Catholic Philosophy Reading List for Beginners
In his recent interview with Lisa Maldinich on the Homeschooling Saints Podcast, Dr. Sam Nicholson spoke on the topic of the role that philosophy plays in developing and enhancing our spiritual lives.
You’re never too young or too old to delve into philosophy. Studying the subject, at any age, helps us to develop clear thinking and gives us the ability to scrutinize the small, as well as the big, details in our everyday lives. It is key in searching out Truth and in growing closer to our Creator.
Yes, the study of Catholic philosophy can sound daunting at first but don’t let that stop you. We encourage you simply dive in and give it your time and commitment. To help you get started in your study of philosophy, Dr. Nicholson has put together a book list for you…
Edward Feser has two very nice introductory books: The Last Superstition and Aquinas: A Beginner’s Guide. The first is a polemic against certain modern philosophical errors, and the second does a very good job making some difficult philosophical topics in Aquinas comprehensible to the layperson.
Mortimer Adler’s Ten Philosophical Mistakes is a basic overview of philosophy from a topical perspective and is a good book for beginners.
Norris Clark’s book The One and the Many is a very readable general introduction to philosophy, from a Scholastic perspective. It is not the most rigorous treatment, but it does a good job of introducing many of the starting points of philosophical reflection.
If you want to get a good overview of what is taking place in contemporary academic philosophy, then Scott Soames’s two-volume set The Analytic Tradition in Philosophy is fairly accessible and is a good introduction to some of the nuances of technical philosophical argumentation.
Alexander Miller’s book The Philosophy of Language is another good introduction to some of the main concerns of contemporary philosophers.
G.K. Chesterton’s The Dumb Ox is a classic introduction to Aquinas that remains a very popular and entertaining introduction to St. Thomas.
For sheer comprehensiveness, one can hardly do better than Fr. Frederick Copleston’s multi-volume history of philosophy. Admittedly, it is daunting in its scope but it remains one of the best histories of philosophy in English.
Finally, one can never go wrong by reading any of the original works of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, or Aquinas.
We hope this list helps you get started in the study of Catholic philosophy. Now for that podcast episode…
Homeschooling Saints Podcast Episode 108: The Role of Philosophy in the Spiritual Life with Dr. Sam Nicholson and Lisa Mladinich
Note: This post includes affiliate links. Some of these texts are pricey. Therefore, we recommend checking your public library or BookFinder.com.