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Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Beyond Good and Evil (German: Jenseits von Gut und Böse), subtitled "Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future" (Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft), is a book by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, first published in 1886.
It takes up and expands on the ideas of his previous work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, but approached from a more critical, polemical direction.
In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche attacks past philosophers for their alleged lack of critical sense and their blind acceptance of Christian premises in their consideration of morality. The work moves into the realm "beyond good and evil" in the sense of leaving behind the traditional morality which Nietzsche subjects to a destructive critique in favour of what he regards as an affirmative approach that fearlessly confronts the perspectival nature of knowledge and the perilous condition of the modern individual.


Apology, Plato

(The) Apology (of Socrates) is Plato's version of the speech given by Socrates as he defends himself against the charges of being a man "who corrupted the young, did not believe in the gods, and created new deities". "Apology" here has its earlier meaning (now usually expressed by the word "apologia") of speaking in defense of a cause or of one's beliefs or actions (from the Greek απολογία).


An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith

Adam Smith's masterpiece, first published in 1776, is the foundation of modern economic thought and remains the single most important account of the rise of, and the principles behind, modern capitalism. Written in clear and incisive prose, The Wealth of Nations articulates the concepts indispensable to an understanding of contemporary society.


The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli

Il Principe (The Prince) is a political treatise by the Florentine public servant and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. Originally called De Principatibus (About Principalities), it was written in 1513, but not published until 1532, five years after Machiavelli's death. The treatise is not representative of the work published during his lifetime, but it is the most remembered, and the work responsible for bringing "Machiavellian" into wide usage as a pejorative term. It has also been suggested by some critics that the piece is, in fact, a satire.


The Antichrist, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche's "The Antichrist" might be more aptly named "The Antichristian," for it is an unmitigated attack on Christianity that Nietzsche makes within the text instead of an exposition on evil or Satan as the title might suggest. In "The Antichrist," Nietzsche presents a highly controversial view of Christianity as a damaging influence upon western civilization that must come to an end. Regardless of ones religious or philosophical point of view, "The Antichrist" makes for an engaging philosophical discourse.


Thus Spake Zarathustra, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Thus Spoke Zarathustra (German: Also sprach Zarathustra, sometimes translated Thus Spake Zarathustra), subtitled A Book for All and None (Ein Buch für Alle und Keinen), is a written work by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, composed in four parts between 1883 and 1885. Much of the work deals with ideas such as the "eternal recurrence of the same", the parable on the "death of God", and the "prophecy" of the Overman, which were first introduced in The Gay Science.
Described by Nietzsche himself as "the deepest ever written", the book is a dense and esoteric treatise on philosophy and morality, featuring as protagonist a fictionalized Zarathustra. A central irony of the text is that the style of the Bible is used by Nietzsche to present ideas of his which fundamentally oppose Judaeo-Christian morality and tradition.


Utopia, Thomas More

De Optimo Republicae Statu deque Nova Insula Utopia (translated On the Best State of a Republic and on the New Island of Utopia) or more simply Utopia is a 1516 book by Sir (Saint) Thomas More.
The book, written in Latin, is a frame narrative primarily depicting a fictional island society and its religious, social and political customs. The name of the place is derived from the Greek words οὐ u ("not") and τόπος tópos ("place"), with the topographical suffix -εία eía, hence Οὐτοπεία outopeía (Latinized as Utopia), “no-place land.” It also contains a pun, however, because “Utopia” could also be the Latinization of Εὐτοπεία eutopeía, “good-place land,” which uses the Greek prefix ευ eu, “good,” instead of οὐ. One interpretation holds that this suggests that while Utopia might be some sort of perfected society, it is ultimately unreachable. Despite modern connotations of the word "utopia," it is widely accepted that the society More describes in this work was not actually his own "perfect society." Rather he wished to use the contrast between the imaginary land's unusual political ideas and the chaotic politics of his own day as a platform from which to discuss social issues in Europe.


Tao Te Ching, Laozi

The Tao Te Ching is fundamental to the Taoist school of Chinese philosophy and strongly influenced other schools, such as Legalism and Neo-Confucianism. This ancient book is also central in Chinese religion, not only for Taoism but Chinese Buddhism, which when first introduced into China was largely interpreted through the use of Taoist words and concepts. Many Chinese artists, including poets, painters, calligraphers, and even gardeners have used the Tao Te Ching as a source of inspiration. Its influence has also spread widely outside East Asia, aided by hundreds of translations into Western languages.


Candide, Voltaire

Candide, ou l'Optimisme (1759) is a French satire by the Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire, English translations of which have been titled Candide: Or, All for the Best (1759); Candide: Or, The Optimist (1762); and Candide: Or, Optimism (1947). The novella begins with a young man, Candide, who is living a sheltered life in an Edenic paradise and being indoctrinated with Leibnizian optimism (or simply optimism) by his tutor, Pangloss. The work describes the abrupt cessation of this existence, followed by Candide's slow, painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships in the world. Voltaire concludes with Candide, if not outright rejecting optimism, advocating an enigmatic precept, "we must cultivate our garden", in lieu of the Leibnizian mantra of Pangloss, "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds".


The Book of Tea, Kakuzo Okakura

The Book of Tea was written by Okakura Kakuzo in the early 20th century. It was first published in 1906, and has since been republished many times.
In the book, Kakuzo introduces the term Teaism and how Tea has affected nearly every aspect of Japanese culture, thought, and life. The book is accessibile to Western audiences because Kakuzo was taught at a young age to speak English; and spoke it all his life, becoming proficient at communicating his thoughts to the Western Mind. In his book, he discusses such topics as Zen and Taoism, but also the secular aspects of Tea and Japanese life. The book emphasises how Teaism taught the Japanese many things; most importantly, simplicity. Kakuzo argues that this tea-induced simplicity affected art and architecture, and he was a long-time student of the visual arts. He ends the book with a chapter on Tea Masters, and spends some time talking about Sen no Rikyu and his contribution to the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
According to Tomonobu Imamichi, Heidegger's concept of Dasein in Sein und Zeit was inspired — although Heidegger remains silent on this — by Okakura Kakuzo's concept of das-in-dem-Welt-sein (to be in the being of the world) expressed in The Book of Tea to describe Zhuangzi's philosophy, which Imamichi's teacher had offerred to Heidegger in 1919, after having followed lessons with him the year before.