Best Philosophical Literature

Fiction that aims to enlighten the reader "philosophically" (whatever you take that word to mean).
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4.32 avg rating — 196,267 ratings
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11

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4.11 avg rating — 57,340 ratings
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3.98 avg rating — 1,322,665 ratings
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17

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3.80 avg rating — 488,937 ratings
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18

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4.36 avg rating — 2,441 ratings
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19

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3.84 avg rating — 1,647,184 ratings
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20

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3.90 avg rating — 160,648 ratings
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21

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4.17 avg rating — 70,579 ratings
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22

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4.24 avg rating — 4,785 ratings
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23

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3.93 avg rating — 52,360 ratings
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24

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3.92 avg rating — 68,585 ratings
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25

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4.05 avg rating — 6,034 ratings
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26

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3.76 avg rating — 189,432 ratings
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27

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4.28 avg rating — 140,111 ratings
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28

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4.11 avg rating — 27,234 ratings
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29

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3.98 avg rating — 124,086 ratings
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30

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3.65 avg rating — 62,701 ratings
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31

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3.77 avg rating — 169,609 ratings
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32

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4.07 avg rating — 976,866 ratings
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33

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4.40 avg rating — 12,043 ratings
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34

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3.68 avg rating — 320,498 ratings
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35

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3.90 avg rating — 2,234,489 ratings
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36

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3.86 avg rating — 271,931 ratings
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37

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4.01 avg rating — 627,371 ratings
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38

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3.82 avg rating — 132,876 ratings
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39

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3.77 avg rating — 975,177 ratings
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40

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4.34 avg rating — 8,537 ratings
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41

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4.12 avg rating — 1,455,777 ratings
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42

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4.21 avg rating — 271,522 ratings
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43

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4.10 avg rating — 24,042 ratings
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44

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4.20 avg rating — 36,885 ratings
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45

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4.23 avg rating — 26,367 ratings
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46

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3.99 avg rating — 508,459 ratings
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47

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4.09 avg rating — 28,628 ratings
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48

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4.14 avg rating — 28,581 ratings
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49

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3.89 avg rating — 1,150,531 ratings
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50

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3.42 avg rating — 344,031 ratings
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51

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4.26 avg rating — 3,740,949 ratings
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52

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3.89 avg rating — 577,031 ratings
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53

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3.94 avg rating — 617,494 ratings
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54

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3.81 avg rating — 166,576 ratings
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55

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4.05 avg rating — 631,277 ratings
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56

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4.06 avg rating — 56,593 ratings
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57

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4.17 avg rating — 299,185 ratings
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58

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4.48 avg rating — 16,102 ratings
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59

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4.26 avg rating — 39,768 ratings
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60

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4.36 avg rating — 367,452 ratings
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61

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4.08 avg rating — 17,716 ratings
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62

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4.44 avg rating — 2,015 ratings
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63

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4.10 avg rating — 154,088 ratings
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64

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3.86 avg rating — 1,008,820 ratings
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65

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3.85 avg rating — 138,451 ratings
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66

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4.46 avg rating — 24,981 ratings
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67

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3.63 avg rating — 300,588 ratings
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68

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4.06 avg rating — 67,070 ratings
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69

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4.22 avg rating — 5,981 ratings
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70

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4.05 avg rating — 106,383 ratings
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71

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3.81 avg rating — 44,471 ratings
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72

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3.84 avg rating — 6,138 ratings
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73

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4.01 avg rating — 17,212 ratings
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74

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4.21 avg rating — 3,369 ratings
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75

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4.14 avg rating — 50,549 ratings
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76

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4.22 avg rating — 94 ratings
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77

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3.76 avg rating — 561,992 ratings
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78

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3.98 avg rating — 170,601 ratings
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79

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4.31 avg rating — 187,289 ratings
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80

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4.21 avg rating — 207,317 ratings
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81

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4.46 avg rating — 39,893 ratings
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82

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3.77 avg rating — 106,739 ratings
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83

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4.20 avg rating — 66,646 ratings
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84

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3.80 avg rating — 113,474 ratings
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85

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4.09 avg rating — 25,206 ratings
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86

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3.96 avg rating — 612,455 ratings
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87

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3.80 avg rating — 301,032 ratings
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88

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4.01 avg rating — 257,758 ratings
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89

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4.82 avg rating — 51 ratings
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90

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3.75 avg rating — 129,332 ratings
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91

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4.19 avg rating — 44,086 ratings
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92

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3.98 avg rating — 57,224 ratings
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93

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3.98 avg rating — 638,245 ratings
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94

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4.15 avg rating — 590,651 ratings
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95

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3.94 avg rating — 54,871 ratings
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96

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4.39 avg rating — 71 ratings
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97

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3.48 avg rating — 430,643 ratings
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98

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4.35 avg rating — 21,729 ratings
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99

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4.08 avg rating — 26,951 ratings
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100

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3.89 avg rating — 52,932 ratings
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flag this list (?)
1,042 books · 2,824 voters · list created July 30th, 2008 by Worth (votes) .
1419 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Worth 621 books
79 friends
Antoine 949 books
168 friends
Seth 2016 books
444 friends
David 1924 books
556 friends
Fire-fish 243 books
1 friend
Nathan 267 books
0 friends
Anastasia 559 books
111 friends
Naomi 827 books
45 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-27 of 27 (27 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Derya (new)

Derya Each and every text could be a subject for a philosophical discussion. Thus, The Little Prince may "enlighten" the reader, as well as The Happy Prince and Other Tales.


message 2: by ibrahim (new)

ibrahim mushekwe so entrusting book to red and inspire


message 3: by Sam (new)

Sam Funderburk This is the best group of books I have seen on a list. I am going to work my way down it!


message 4: by ibrahim (new)

ibrahim mushekwe work on it brother,then you can brief me sir


message 5: by Timatima (new)

Timatima I love this list!! Thank you x


message 6: by Denisa (new)

Denisa Ștefănescu Life of Pi, seriously?


message 7: by Booklovinglady (last edited Sep 20, 2014 02:23AM) (new)

Booklovinglady Believe it or not, but Justine, of De tegenspoed der deugdzaamheid by Marquis de Sade does pose some very interesting philosophical questions...


message 8: by Paul (new)

Paul Bowes Checked for duplicates: 1 book removed.


message 9: by Catherine (last edited Aug 11, 2015 01:10AM) (new)

Catherine Loving this list because:

1. It has quite a few of my favourite books
2. For once the voters have stuck to the brief
3. It doesn't have Twilight on it!

PS - I added Knowledge of Angels - please read it.


message 10: by Mike (last edited Jun 12, 2016 06:37AM) (new)

Mike To Kill a Mockingbird?


message 11: by B (new)

B Mike wrote: "To Kill a Mockingbird?"

Are you serious? Of course!! It's a beautiful piece


message 12: by Mike (last edited Jun 24, 2016 03:27PM) (new)

Mike B wrote: "Mike wrote: "To Kill a Mockingbird?"

Are you serious? Of course!! It's a beautiful piece"

it's a beautiful piece and a great novel but not a philosophical one.


message 13: by Booklovinglady (last edited Jun 24, 2016 10:37PM) (new)

Booklovinglady Mike wrote: "it's a beautiful piece and a great novel but not a philosophical one. "

I was wondering why the book was on the list, but it seems I'm not the only one. I just thought my idea of what would be considered 'philosophical literature' was (completely) different from others, as it's not the only title I wouldn't have put on this list :-) But again, I might have a completely different idea of philosophical literature, because after all the description does say "whatever you take that word to mean".


message 14: by Mike (new)

Mike Booklovinglady wrote: "Mike wrote: "it's a beautiful piece and a great novel but not a philosophical one. "

I was wondering why the book was on the list, but it seems I'm not the only one. I just thought my idea of what..."


Yeah! I just saw that. But it's wrong and actually it doesn't need any explanation why it's wrong. 'Philosophical literature' is a category. It can't be "whatever you take that word to mean".


MarpleInvestigates Mike wrote: "B wrote: "Mike wrote: "To Kill a Mockingbird?"

Are you serious? Of course!! It's a beautiful piece"
it's a beautiful piece and a great novel but not a philosophical one."


It may not explore what is more often considered to be philosophy like metaphysics or epistemology but the themes of morality and value of living could be considered philosophical to some but I agree that it's not really philosophical literature like some of the other pieces like The Little Prince or Steppenwolf.


message 16: by Greg (new)

Greg Hickey Great list! I'm always looking for a great novel with some philosophical undertones so I searched curated lists and took suggestions from readers and from philosophical fiction authors like Khaled Hosseini, Irvin D. Yalom, Rebecca Goldstein and Daniel Quinn. From over 400 books, I came up with this list of The 105 Best Philosophical Novels: https://www.greghickeywrites.com/best...

I also produced two free bonus downloads: 1) the favorite works of philosophical fiction from eleven contemporary philosophical fiction authors and 2) a one-page PDF shopping guide to The 105 Best Philosophical Novels. Happy reading!


message 17: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis Mike wrote: "B wrote: "Mike wrote: "To Kill a Mockingbird?"

Are you serious? Of course!! It's a beautiful piece"
it's a beautiful piece and a great novel but not a philosophical one."


How can one not see this as philosophical? Think about issues surrounding race and justice. Think about the ways in which we treat people with mental health issues; how many Boo Radleys out there have been treated as pariahs? You can see the philosophy inherent.


message 18: by Donna (last edited Aug 25, 2017 09:44PM) (new)

Donna Davis Removed as nonfiction: Phenomenology of Spirit, by Hegel

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9...

The Invention of Religion, by Drake
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

Gagh. It's like a wreck on the freeway. Everything is flowing along nicely, and then someone isn't paying attention and does something dumb; next thing you know, half the world has crashed along with them.

PEOPLE. Read the description of the list. This is fiction. There's no place for straight philosophy here. Now trusty souls like me have to come clean up your mess. It's either that or look at it, so to me the choice is clear. NOW...

Nietzsche didn't write fiction. Seriously. There's a mess of it here, and he's not alone either. Here we go:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

The Sickness Unto Death, by Kierkegaard et al...

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...

Fear and Trembling, also Kierkegaard
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...

And yet more Kierkegaard:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...

The Trial and the Death of Socrates, by Plato:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...

Tuesdays with Morrie is memoir, NOT fiction; the same is true of Night:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

Crimony. MORE Nietzsche:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

Medium-Stupid: It's true at least that Camus wrote a lot of fiction; still, the word "Essays" in the title should have been a clue:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

Winnie the Pooh is fiction; however, The Tao of Pooh and Piglet is not:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8...

Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius...c'mon now.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...

And Kahlil Gibran
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...

Critique of Reason, by Kant:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

More Nietzsche:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5...

Autobiography of a Yogi cannot be fiction because it's an...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6...

And Tao te Ching:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6...

Pretty sure the first page is clean now.

Those that see books left on this list in error--not because you don't care for the book, but because it's not fiction--please note the title of the book in this comment section along with the # or at least the page on which you saw it. Those of us editing these lists are all volunteers; I get notified when a comment pops up, so extraneous comments about books liked or not liked, and especially spam done by authors whose books aren't selling yet are to be avoided.


message 19: by Donna (last edited Aug 25, 2017 09:53PM) (new)

Donna Davis Good grief. I thought I would just go enjoy the list and vote; I went to page 2, and there it was...more Nietzsche:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8...

Okay then. I am leaving for the night. Turning off the monitor and muting sound. If anyone sees anything that shouldn't be here, shoot me a message via this thread and I'll check it Saturday. My copy of Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad is waiting...

(Forehead smack) As soon as I knock The Republic, by Plato, off the list at #23. How did I miss that? Gone:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...

'night, all.


message 20: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis I return, fresh as a daisy, and the first thing I see is that I missed something else on the first page. Rats!

Removed, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...


message 21: by Donna (last edited Aug 26, 2017 11:09AM) (new)

Donna Davis Back again, fresh as a daisy from an almost-full-night's sleep, and sure enough, I missed titles on page 1. I've removed over a dozen titles that are nonfiction, and still they aren't all gone.
Usually with a list this severely compromised, I would be tempted to abandon it, but the concept is so strong, I've grown attached to it and want to save it. So here we go.
The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays, gone from page 1, nonficiton:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

From #43, The Decline of the West:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8...
Page 2, Foucault, Discipline and Prisons:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8...
A note: I'm seeing a lot of poetry collections here. For the moment I am not touching them; it seems to me to be a gray area, especially in the case of ballads that tell a story in verse rather than prose. If anyone sees a work that straight-up lands outside the category of fiction, say what it is and where it is, and I will deal with it. A further complication, of course, is that many of these are collections of poems AND short stories. So for now, never mind all that; it's looking like a job just to pull out the nonfiction works of philosophy and the occasional philosophic memoir, biography, autobiography.

If anyone reading this comment knows which is the best list that embraces philosophy as a genre, please post it here so that readers that want to spend time with Hegel, Kant, and (*shudder*) Nietzsche can go there.


message 22: by Donna (last edited Aug 26, 2017 10:18PM) (new)

Donna Davis From #116 By Descartes, Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy (say that one ten times fast and I will give you a nickel):

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...

Top o' page 2, nonfiction philosophy by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...

Page 2, Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

Page 2: Love Richard Dawkins, but The God Delusion is nonfiction, and so it's been removed:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

Page 2, Complete Essays
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...

Page 2 :
Again with the Tao of Pooh. No, no, no.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...
Oracles by Mario Brooks
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...
#166 Om Chanting and Meditations
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9...
#168 Birth of Tragedy by (of course) Nietzsche
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7...
#182 The Unwords
#165 Poena Damni
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...
#186
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...
#187 Meetings with Remarkable Men
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...


message 23: by Greg (new)

Greg Hickey To all voters/commenters, what are your favorite philosophical fiction books of 2017?


message 24: by Donna (last edited Nov 02, 2017 11:38AM) (new)

Donna Davis Greg wrote: "To all voters/commenters, what are your favorite philosophical fiction books of 2017?"
Greg, that sounds like a good topic for a new list. Have you thought about starting one? Of my votes, 11 (if I counted correctly) are books published this year. 2 of them actually haven't been published yet--I read the DRCs for them--but they will be published soon.

The system found and removed 2 duplicates.


message 25: by Greg (new)

Greg Hickey Donna wrote: "Of my votes, 11 (if I counted correctly) are books published this year."

Thanks Donna. I went through the entire list and identified books published in 2017. I just wanted to see if anyone had others to add.


message 26: by Donna (last edited Nov 02, 2017 12:01PM) (new)

Donna Davis Removed as nonfiction from page 3: Antifragile...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

and from page 2, The Love Poems of Rumi:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6...

Also page 2, Letters to a Young Poet, nonfiction
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...

And from page 3, Utilitarianism, by John Stuart Mill, who totally didn't write fiction EVER:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5...

Okay, readers, that's it for now, but Granny Donna will be back, so don't go sliding any more nonfiction into this list. Nobody that fails to follow directions may have dessert tonight.


message 27: by Greg (new)

Greg Hickey Here's the update to my previous list of The 105 Best Philosophical novels, with the best of 2017: https://www.greghickeywrites.com/best....

The list is based on rankings from Amazon, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Publishers Weekly and The Washington Post, suggestions from readers on Goodreads and Reddit and ratings on Goodreads and Amazon. Enjoy!


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