10 Mind-Altering Philosophy Books from 2014

Philosophy books often don’t get their due. They’re usually long, often badly written, frequently pompous and annoying, and sometimes even poorly edited. But 2014 has been a hallmark year for works of philosophy that can genuinely impact your life (even in the immediate future) without becoming self-help nonsense. These books deal try to change what is possible in politics, sex, feminism, art, and more.

Thermonuclear Monarchy

Elaine Scarry, Thermonuclear Monarchy (W.W. Norton & Co.)

Elaine Scarry’s The Body in Pain is without question one of the most illuminating books we have about the body, language, and torture. A crude summary: a tortured body is a body that struggles to create its own world. Scarry’s new book suggests that nations with nuclear weapons are exacting a kind of torture on nations without them. It’s a mind-blowing argument against nuclear proliferation, and it goes so far as to recommend the eradication of our global nuclear arsenal.