IAS Exam Preparation: Booklist for Philosophy Optional

UPSC Mains Exam: Booklist and Strategy for Philosophy Optional

Philosophy is one of the optional subjects of UPSC Mains Exam. This subject deals with the study of general and fundamental problems related to matters such as existence, knowledge, reason, values, language, and mind. Philosophical approach includes questioning, rational argument, critical discussion, and methodical presentation.

Here, we present the booklist and some preparation strategies for this subject.

Booklist for Philosophy Optional

Western Philosophy

  • A History of Philosophy by Frank Thilly
  • A Critical History of Western Philosophy by Y Masih 

Indian Philosophy

  • An Introduction to Indian Philosophy by S Chatterjee
  • A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy by C Sharma 

Socio-Political Philosophy

  • An Introduction to Political Theory by O P Gauba 

Philosophy of Religion

  • Introduction to Religious Philosophy By Y Masih
  • Philosophy of Religion by John H. Hick

Important Topics to focus on this optional subject

  • In  Indian Philosophy aspirants should focus on (Nne Schools: 6 orthodox – Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimansa and Vedanta; 2 heterodox – Jainism and Buddhism; 1 materialism Western Philosophy. Major terminologies and theories like “Pratitya-Samutpada”. One should have conceptual clarity and upper-hand in basics. Candidates should also focus on particular areas in Indian Philosophy like attributes and substance, while in western philosophy focus should be on Thales to Sartre. 
  • Philosophy of Religion – One should focus on Indian arguments in Philosophy of religious topics.
  • Socio-political Philosophy – One should have a good grip on basics like liberty, justice to individual, rights, duties, environmentalism, feminism, etc. Importance should also be given to contemporary thinkers like AmartyaSen, Alasdair MacIntyre, and debates on Multiculturalism, Communitarianism etc.  

Basic Preparation tips

  • Stick to the UPSC Syllabus. It is recommended to by-heart the syllabus and also keep the syllabus handy.
  • Solve UPSC Previous Years’ Question Papers and identify the areas of focus.
  • Also, aspirants should keep a watchful eye on contemporary issues.
  • One should make notes on each topic and sub topic.
  • Aspirants should practice Answer writing regularly.
  • Revision is the key to writing quality answers in the exam.

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