87 critical theory books

87 Texts Every Critical Theorist Needs to Read

The following was posted to Reddit by user Adartesirhc. We have linked to the free public domain work where applicable. All other links are to Amazon.

Kant, Idealism, and Nietzsche:

# 1 Kant – Critique of Pure Reason

kant critique of pure reasonDownload the free ebook from Project Gutenberg.

#2 Kant – Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals

groundwork moral kant

Read it for free here.

#3 Fichte – An Attempt at a Critique of All Revelation

fichte critique pure revelation

Buy it here.

#4 Hegel – The Phenomenology of Spirit

Phenomenology hegelBuy it here.

#5 Hegel – Philosophy of History

hegel history of philosophyBuy it here.

#6 Schopenhauer – The World as Will and Representation

schopenhauer will representation

Read it for free here.

#7 Nietzsche – Beyond Good and Evil

beyond good and evil nietzscheRead it for free here.

#8 Nietzsche – On the Genealogy of Morals

nietzsche geneology of moralsRead it for free here.

#9 Nietzsche – Twilight of the Idols

twilight of the idols nietzscheBuy it here.

  • TrevorSG
  • bernardza

    Interesting list. I would add:
    Du Bois. Souls of Black Folk
    Fanon, F. Black Skin, White Masks (arguably a richer text of critical theory than Wretched of the Earth, without denying the latter’s importance)
    Mbembe, A. On the Postcolony.
    Postone, M. Time, Labor and Social Domination.

    • Critical Theory

      The first two are on my reading list as well. Haven’t heard of the second two.

  • Epicurus

    No Arendt? A huge shortcoming.

  • Damos

    I noticed all these have incredibly artsy, eye catching covers.

  • David Michael Mullins

    No Derrida, Arendt, or Paul De Man, and yet all the deconstructive postcolonial and feminist people? And Agamben, whose entire project is enabled by deconstruction? For shame!

  • Abbas

    Why there is no sign of Arendt’s “Human Condition”, “Eichmann in Jerusalem” and “The Life of Mind”?

  • RW

    Third for adding Arendt, The Human Condition at least.

  • Razvan Repciuc

    Riiiiiight; I’m supposed to assume that these texts have been adequately read and studied by the fine folk that recommend and discuss this list.

  • Guest

    I would like to add some books that address
    the questions of the largest democracy of the world with varied problems relating
    to huge population, deplorable human conditions yet it is home to a good
    numbers of billionaires and millionaires, from socio-economic-political and spiritual
    point view. Those books which provide a comprehensive account of the problems
    that India face and how problems could be solved in a best possible democratic
    ways.

    1. Caste in India: Their Mechanism,
    Genesis and Development

    2. Annihilation Caste.

    2. The riddles of Hinduism.

    4. Buddha and his Dhamma

    All these books were written by Dr. B.
    R. Ambedkar who was the first to link the problems of caste based inequities
    with gender inequities. Who spoke that division of labor was not merely a division
    of labor but division of laborer purely from the human right perspectives. He established
    a rational-legal account of ‘scientific Buddhism’ called ‘Navayana Buddhism’
    that can suit and cope with the changing needs of the present generation of
    people.

  • Pabitra Bag

    I would like to add some books that address
    the questions of the largest democracy of the world with varied problems relating
    to huge population, deplorable human conditions yet it is home to a good
    numbers of billionaires and millionaires, from socio-economic-political and spiritual
    point view. Those books which provide a comprehensive account of the problems
    that India face and how problems could be solved in a best possible democratic
    ways.

    1. Caste in India: Their Mechanism,
    Genesis and Development

    2. Annihilation of Caste.

    2. The riddles of Hinduism.

    4. Buddha and his Dhamma

    All these books were written by Dr. B.
    R. Ambedkar who was the first to link the problems of caste based inequities
    with gender inequities. Who spoke that division of labor was not merely a division
    of labor but division of laborer purely from the human right perspectives. He established
    a rational-legal account of ‘scientific Buddhism’ called ‘Navayana Buddhism’
    that can suit and cope with the changing needs of the present generation of
    people.

  • Dr. Renaldo

    gilles deleuze’s difference and repetition.

  • Thomas Edwin Elliott

    No Paul Virilio? Surely “Speed & Politics” or “Pure War” deserve to make this list.