Born OTD in 1809, English naturalist, geologist & biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution, Charles Darwin. Darwin’s book introduced the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It presented a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution. Darwin included evidence that he had gathered on the Beagle expedition in the 1830s & his subsequent findings from research, correspondence, and experimentation.

The book was written for non-specialist readers and attracted widespread interest upon its publication. As Darwin was an eminent scientist, … More

Born OTD in 1944, American political activist, academic, author & a prominent counterculture activist in the 1960s, Angela Y. Davis. The trial of Angela Davis is remembered as one of America’s most historic political trials, & no one can tell the story better than Davis herself. Opening with a letter from James Baldwin to Angela, including contributions from numerous radicals & commentators such as Black Panthers George Jackson, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale & Erica Huggins, this book is not only an account of Davis’s incarceration & the struggles surrounding it, but also perhaps the most comprehensive & thorough analysis of the prison system of the United States & the figure embodied in Davis’s arrest and imprisonment-the political prisoner.

Since the book was written, the carceral system in the US has grown from strength to strength, with more of … More

Born OTD in 1925, French philosopher who wrote on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art, Gilles Deleuze. Deleuze was one of the most influential figures in 20th-century philosophy, well known for his works on the philosophy of art & for his master-works, Difference & Repetition and – with Felix Guattari – A Thousand Plateaus & Anti-Oedipus. Cinema I is the first volume of Deleuze’s revolutionary work on the theory of cinema

Drawing on the philosophy of Henri Bergson, Deleuze identified his work as “a logic of the cinema”, setting out to … More

Born OTD in 1921, American social theorist, author, orator, historian, and political philosopher, Murray Bookchin. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin formulated and developed the theory of social ecology and urban planning, within anarchist, libertarian socialist, and ecological thought.

In the essays that make up this book, Murray Bookchin calls for a critical social standpoint that transcends both “biocentrism” … More

Born on 9 January 1908, French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist, Simone de Beauvoir. Of all the writing that emerged from the existentialist movement, Simone de Beauvoir’s groundbreaking study of women will probably have the most extensive and enduring impact. It is at once a work of anthropology and sociology, of biology and psychoanalysis, from the pen of a writer and novelist of penetrating imaginative power.

In 1946, Simone de Beauvoir began to outline what she thought would be an autobiographical essay explaining why, when she … More

A hero of political thought, the largely unsung and often misunderstood Hannah Arendt is perhaps best known for her landmark book, The Origins of Totalitarianism. Arendt led an extraordinary life. Having endured Nazi persecution firsthand, she fled across Europe, coming to live in a world inhabited by such luminaries as Marc Chagall, Marlene Dietrich, Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud.

She ultimately sacrificed her unique genius for philosophy and her love of a much-compromised man – the philosopher and Nazi-sympathiser … More

Noam Chomsky is widely known and deeply admired for being the founder of modern linguistics, one of the founders of the field of cognitive science, & perhaps the most avidly read political theorist & commentator of our time. In these lectures, he presents a lifetime of philosophical reflection on all three of these areas of research, to which he has contributed for over half a century. In clear, precise, & nontechnical language, Chomsky elaborates on 50 years of scientific development in the study of language, sketching how his own work has implications for the origins of language, the close relations that language bears to thought, and its eventual biological basis.

He expounds and criticizes many alternative theories, such as those that emphasize the social, the communicative, and the referential aspects … More

Born OTD in 1913, French philosopher, author, and journalist, Albert Camus. In this profound and moving philosophical statement, Camus poses the fundamental question: is life worth living? If human existence holds no significance, what can keep us from suicide? As Camus argues, if there is no God to give meaning to our lives, humans must take on that purpose themselves.

This is our ‘absurd’ task, like Sisyphus forever rolling his rock up a hill, as the inevitability of death constantly … More

Born OTD in 1844, German philosopher, cultural critic, poet & philologist, Friedrich Nietzsche. Covering topics such as nihilism, Christianity, morality and the famous ‘will to power’, the book was controversially presented as Nietzsche’s all-but-completed magnum opus containing his philosophical system.

Including some of his most interesting metaphysical and epistemological thoughts, as well as some of his most disturbing ethical and … More