Dr Tom Kerns
North Seattle Community College


Our assigned textbooks for
Introduction to Philosophy

This page lists the assigned books for the course and where you can acquire them.

The required books

Here are the required books for this course, listed in the order in which we will be reading them.

  • Plato’s Cave (from The Republic)
  • Plato’s following five dialogues
    • The Euthyphro (entire)
    • The Apology (entire)
    • The Crito (entire)
    • The Phaedo (selections)
    • The Phaedrus (selections)

  • Book of Proverbs (entire)
  • Book of Job (entire)
  • Book of Ecclesiastes (entire)

    (These three books -- Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes -- can be found in any Hebrew or Christian bible.)

  • Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, Volume One (selections)
  • Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Hell (selections)
  • Martin Buber, The Way of Man (entire)

All these assigned books for the course are available in several formats, many of them in editions that are completely free and readily available via the web. Most are also available via google books and/or via the kindle books section of amazon.com. These editions are free because the translations are old enough to be in the public domain. Modern translations are usually more up to date, easier to read and are often more accurate as well, but they do cost something, You are free to choose whichever version of these readings best suits you.

Whichever editions and formats you choose, though, you will definitely want to be able to annotate, underline and mark up your books as you read. This usually means that you will probably want a printed version of your books. Free versions available on the web or in other electronic formats can be printed, and purchased books can be marked up too, of course.

Below is information about where you can find free, very low cost editions, or modern translations of our assigned readings.

Modern translations

The modern translations of these books, i.e., the editions I have ordered for the bookstore, are:

  • Plato, Euthyhphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo and Phaedrus, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, ISBN: 0-674-99040-4
  • New American Standard Bible, Found Publishers, ISBN: 1885217722
  • Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, Dover, ISBN: 0-486-21761-2
  • Swedenborg, Heaven and Hell, Swedenborg Foundation, ISBN: 0-87785-476-9
  • Buber, The Way of Man, Penguin Group, ISBN: 0-8065-2789-7

Free and very low cost editions

All, or almost all, of the assigned books in this course are available for free or for very low cost (less than two or three dollars), though the translations in these free editions are usually older, are sometimes a bit more difficult to understand (because they use language that is somewhat less contemporary), and are sometimes not quite as accurate. But these free versions are still serviceable and can work well for use in this course.

Many of our books are available on various locations on the web where they can be found via google searches. Many are also available for free in eBook formats such as in google books or in the kindle section of amazon. You can search for google books here, and you can search for kindle books here.

Where our required books can be found for free


  • Plato’s story of The Cave is told in Plato’s Republic, in the first 4-5 pages of Book VII, and is readily available on the web, in google books, in kindle books, and in libraries. You can also download a pdf copy of it here.

  • We will read these five Platonic dialogues in this order:
    • Euthyphro
    • Apology
    • Crito
    • Phaedo
    • Phaedrus

All these dialogues are available free in many places on the web, but for those first four -- The Euthyphro, Apology, Crito and Phaedo -- one of the best sites is this one at Clarke College titled The Last Days of Socrates. This site also includes additional useful information, stephanus numbers, audio files of some Socrates’ speeches, easy quizzes about each dialog, and other useful materials.

Plato’s dialog, The Phaedrus, can also be found at several locations on the web, such as here,and here, for example.

All these dialogues are also available in eBook formats such as google books and kindle books, both in free versions and in inexpensive versions.

Hebrew wisdom literature

Our next three assigned readings – the Book of Proverbs, the Book of Job and the Book of Ecclesiastes – can all be found in any Hebrew bible, and in any Christian bible in the section referred to as the Old Testament.

These three biblical books are available in several locations on the web, and also in eBook formats such as google books and kindle books, both in free versions and in inexpensive versions.


We will be reading selections from Volume I -- please make sure you've gotten volume 1, not volume II -- of Schopehauer's The World as Will and Representation, (E F J Payne translation). This is the modern translation so it would need to be purchased ($12 or so on amazon, for example).

The older translation has a slightly different title, The World as Will and Idea. It is translated by R B Haldane and J Kemp and is available for free on the web (here for example) and also in eBook formats such as google books and kindle books.


The modern translation of Emanuel Swedenborg's Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell, or more popularly, just Heaven and Hell, has been ordered for this class, but the older translation can work too. This modern translation is also available here, and in a pdf format for free here. Older translations are also available for free on the web here, and also in eBook formats such as google books and kindle books.


Martin Buber's The Way of Man is available on the web here and in google books here. It is also available on amazon for $8-9.