Philosophy Books for UPSC - Best Philosophy Optional Booklist

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : January 5th, 2023

Philosophy Books for UPSC are focused on the issues and topics related to the evolution of Philosophy and its influence on Indian culture. Philosophy has been one of the most popular optional subjects in the UPSC Mains Exam. Due to this, there is a wide range of Philosophy Books for UPSC available in the market. But not all of the books would be the right choice for you to ace the philosophy optional, and that’s why you need to make the right selection of Philosophy optional books.

We have prepared a list that covers the best Philosophy Books for UPSC of all time. Additionally, we have differentiated the UPSC Philosophy Books topic-wise to help the candidates while choosing.

Table of Content

Philosophy Books for UPSC

Paper 1 of the UPSC Philosophy Syllabus focused on western and Indian philosophy. This paper is purely conceptual, and there is no applied part to it. Paper 2 majorly deals with the socio-political philosophy of and philosophy of religion. To cover both papers, you will need to have the right Philosophy Books for UPSC. Below we will divide the right books to cover the syllabus of both Paper 1 and Paper 2.

Philosophy Books for UPSC Paper 1

Following are the Philosophy optional books for paper 1 that would help the candidates to learn about all the topics covered in the paper. 

Top Philosophy Books for UPSC

History & Problems of Philosophy Books

☛A History of Philosophy by Frank Thilly

☛Survey of Indian Philosophy by C D Sharma

☛Indian Philosophy, A Counter Perspective by Dr Daya Krishna 

Philosophy Books for Existentialism

☛Existentialism: A Reconstruction by David Cooper

☛Existentialism Is A Humanism by Jean-Paul

Indian Philosophy, and Western Philosophy Optional Books

☛An Introduction to Indian Philosophy- S Chatterjee

☛A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy- C Sharma

Philosophy Optional Booklist for Paper 2

Paper 2 of the philosophy optional is vast, and you need the Best Philosophy Books for UPSC to cover the topics from this section. Below we have mentioned some highly recommend Indian Philosophy books to cover this section. These Philosophy optional books cover all the topics from paper 2 and help you to fetch good marks in the philosophy optional paper 2

  • A History of Philosophy- Frank Thilly
  • A Critical History of Western Philosophy- Y Masih
  • Contemporary Western Philosophy- Dr B.K. Lal
  • An Introduction to Political Theory by O P Gauba
  • Introduction to Religious Philosophy By Y Masih
  • Philosophy of Religion by John H. Hick

Best Indian Philosophy Books for UPSC

Indian philosophy is a huge part of the philosophy optional paper-1, and questions from this topic will be asked in the interview round as well. Candidates should choose the best Indian Philosophy Books for UPSC to cover this section. This part majorly focuses on Indian philosophy and shares many concepts that a UPSC aspirant must know. Some of the best books on Indian Philosophy are 

  • An Introduction to Indian Philosophy- S Chatterjee
  • A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy- C Sharma
  • Indian Philosophy, A Counter Perspective by Dr. Daya Krishna 
  • Indian Philosophy II Volume by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan

Philosophy Books for UPSC PDF

Candidates can download the list of all the Philosophy Books for UPSC that we have listed above from the link given below. It will help them to memorize the book names and decide which ones to buy

☛ Philosophy Optional Booklist PDF

Strategy to Cover Philosophy Books for UPSC

For a highly competitive subject like philosophy, a candidate must come up with a solid strategy to score well. In this case, choosing the right Philosophy Books for UPSC would be a great addition to their preparation. But it is not easy to cover all the books in a limited period of time, and candidates must do it in smart ways. 

  • Candidates should pick the UPSC Books as per their comfort and understanding.
  • You should not read one topic from multiple books; however, gathering more information on a particular topic would be wise.
  • Make short notes while covering the UPSC philosophy books, which would make your revision easy.
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UPSC FAQ's about Philosophy Books for UPSC

  • Indian philosophy is a big part of philosophy optional paper-1, and candidates must cover it properly by choosing the Best Indian Philosophy Books. Some of the highly recommended Indian Philosophy Books are

    • An Introduction to Indian Philosophy- S Chatterjee
    • A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy- C Sharma
    • Indian Philosophy, A Counter Perspective by Dr. Daya Krishna 
    • Indian Philosophy II Volume by Dr. S. Radhakrishnan
  • Paper 2 of the UPSC philosophy syllabus carries 250 marks, and that is why candidates should try their best to fetch good marks in this paper. Some of the best Philosophy Books for UPSC optional paper-2 are mentioned below.

    • A History of Philosophy-Frank Thilly
    • A Critical History of Western Philosophy- Y Masih
    • Contemporary Western Philosophy- Dr B.K. Lal
    • An Introduction to Political Theory by O P Gauba
    • Introduction to Religious Philosophy By Y Masih
  • Western philosophy covers the philosophical thinking of the western world, and it is a part of the Paper-1 of the UPSC philosophy syllabus. Following are the Best Philosophy Books for UPSC for western philosophy.

    • A History of Philosophy-Frank Thilly
    • A Critical History of Western Philosophy- Y Masih
    • Contemporary Western Philosophy- Dr B.K. Lal
  • Paper 1 of philosophy optional in UPSC deals with the history and problems of philosophy. A total of 250 marks questions will be asked on this topic. Candidates can follow these Philosophy Books for UPSC we have mentioned below to prepare for this paper.

    • A History of Philosophy by Frank Thilly
    • Survey of Indian Philosophy by C D Sharma
    • Indian Philosophy, A Counter Perspective by Dr Daya Krishna 
    • An Introduction to Indian Philosophy- S Chatterjee

    Candidates can find additional Philosophy Books for UPSC above in this post.

  • To choose the best UPSC philosophy books candidates need to take a look at the philosophy syllabus first, and the important topics in it. It will help you to choose what kind of books you need. Go for the reputed publishers, and choose the books that you find easy and comfortable to read. 

  • Books are an integral part of the preparation; the best  Philosophy Books for UPSC are:

    • An Introduction to Indian Philosophy- S Chatterjee
    • An Introduction to Political Theory by O P Gauba
    • Introduction to Religious Philosophy By Y Masih
    • Philosophy of Religion by John H. Hick
    • A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy- C Sharma
  • To prepare with the Philosophy Books for UPSC, candidates need to have a complete idea of the Philosophy syllabus. Then they must make notes from the books, and revise them thoroughly. Candidates need to read one book at a time.

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