Political Philosophy: An Advanced Reading List

This reading list is intended as a follow-on to the two previous lists in political philosophy (introductory and intermediate). Like those lists, it can be profitably read over the course of a year. The purpose of this list is to further both extend your understanding of important concepts, as well as to introduce you to other important thinkers. It bears repeating that in approaching these texts, the first goal ought to be to understand what each philosopher is saying, accurately and on his own terms, in the hope of sharing in his best thoughts, and that this will require careful, repeated rereading, and much thought of your own.

The list is broken down into two collections.

The first collection includes the primary texts themselves with a hyper link to a recommended edition (or English translation, as appropriate). But really, almost (almost) any edition will do. While the books can be read in any order, beginning at the beginning is encouraged, as later books are often responding to and arguing with earlier ones.

The second collection consists of a selection of secondary resources that can aid in understanding the works included in the first collection. It is by no means necessary to consult them, but it is sometimes helpful to read what other intelligent people have thought about what these books have to teach us. Similarly, it is very often most helpful to discuss these books with others who have also read them. In fact, doing so can often give rise not only to better and fuller understandings of the work itself, but also to genuine friendships.

Primary Texts

  1. Xenophon. Education of Cyrus. Wayne Ambler. ISBN: 9780801487507.
  2. Marcus Tullius Cicero. On Moral Ends. Raphael Woolf. ISBN: 9780521669016.
  3. St. Augustine. The City of God. Robert Dyson. ISBN: 9780521468435.
  4. Moses Maimonides. Guide for the Perplexed, Volume 1. Shlomo Pines. ISBN: 9780226502304.
  5. Moses Maimonides. Guide for the Perplexed, Volume 2. Shlomo Pines. ISBN: 9780226502311.
  6. Niccolò Machiavelli. Discourses on Livy. Harvey C. Mansfield and Nathan Tarcov. ISBN: 9780226500362.
  7. Baruch Spinoza. Theologico-Political Treatise. Martin Yaffe. ISBN: 9781585101122.
  8. Georg W. F. Hegel. Elements of a Philosophy of Right. H. B. Nisbet. ISBN: 9780521348881.
  9. Friedrich Nietzsche. Beyond Good and Evil. Walter Kaufmann. ISBN: 9780679783398.
  10. Martin Heidegger. Being and Time. Joan Stambaugh. ISBN: 9781438432762.
  11. Leo Strauss. On Tyranny. ISBN: 9780226030135.
  12. Alexandre Kojève. Outline of a Phenomenology of Right. Bryan-Paul Frost and Robert Howse. ISBN: 9780742559059.

Secondary Texts

  1. Christopher Nadon. Xenophon’s Prince: Republic and Empire in the Cyropaedia. ISBN: 9780520224049.
  2. Harvey C. Mansfield. Machiavelli’s New Modes and Orders: A Study of the Discourses on Livy. ISBN: 9780226503707.
  3. James H. Nichols. Alexandre Kojève: Wisdom at the End of History. ISBN: 9780742527775.
  4. Laurence Lampert. Nietzsche’s Task: An Interpretation of Beyond Good and Evil. ISBN: 9780300103014.
  5. Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey, editors. History of Political Philosophy. ISBN: 9780226777108.
  6. Mark Blitz. Heidegger’s Being and Time and the Possibility of Political Philosophy. ISBN: 9781589881174.
  7. Richard L. Velkley. Heidegger, Strauss, and the Premises of Philosophy: On Original Forgetting. ISBN: 9780226214948.
  8. Timothy W. Burns and Bryan-Paul Frost, editors. Philosophy, History, and Tyranny: Reexamining the Debate between Leo Strauss and Alexandre Kojève. ISBN: 9781438462103.