Rare Philosophy Books for Sale Online
Raptis Rare Books is a trusted antiquarian book dealer of rare and first edition philosophy books. You can view our full collection of these rare philosophy books below where you can sort by title, price, or date to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
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“FOUNDED THE SCIENCE OF MODERN POLITICS”: RARE 1640 FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF MACHIAVELLI’S THE PRINCE
Nicholas Machiavel’s Prince. Also, The life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca. And The meanes Duke Valentine us’d to put to death Vitellezzo Vitelli… Translated out of Italian into English by E.D.
London: R. Bishop for Wil: Hils 1640.
Rare first edition in English of Machiavelli’s Prince, a seminal work in the foundation of modern political theory, and the great classic of political science. 12 mo, bound in full contemporary calf. From the library of William Constable, Baronet with his bookplate, in near fine condition. Housed in a custom full morocco clamshell box. An exceptional example, most rare and desirable in this condition.
Venice: Aldus Manutius September, 1502.
Rare first edition of Herodotus‘ history of the Persian Wars, one of the most important texts edited by the great scholar-printer-publisher. Folio, bound in contemporary vellum, woodcut title in Greek and Roman letter, verso with dedication in Latin, text in Greek letter throughout with spaces for capital letters, woodcut device on title and last page. Aldus claims in the dedication that he corrected the text from multiple exemplars, one of the few instances where such a claim by him is justified and can be verified. He was the first to have access to the ‘Florentine’ codices, where Valla had used the so-called Roman family of manuscripts for his translation. The printer’s copy was discovered in Nuremberg by Brigitte Mondrain in 1993 (Scriptorium 49 , pp. 263-273). The History was designed to match the Aldine Thucydides of four months earlier: they share a paper stock, all types and the number of lines per page. Ahmanson-Murphy 50; Isaac 12782; Laurenziana 64; Renouard, Alde 35:8; Sansoviniana 67. In excellent condition with light rubbing and wear, bookplates to the pastedown, some light toning to the text, occasional Greek and Latin annotations in a c.17th-century hand, small repairs to the final four leaves. An exceptional example of this landmark work, rare and desirable in contemporary vellum.
“The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat": Rare First Edition of Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich; Signed by Him
CT: Ralston Society 1937.
First edition of this classic bestseller, which has sold over 100 million copies. Octavo, original cloth. Boldly signed by Napoleon Hill on the front free endpaper. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. This is the first example of a first printing we have seen signed. Rare and desirable.
Extremely rare first Latin edition of Galileo's revolutionary Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems
Systema Cosmicum in Quo Quatuor Dialogis, de Duobus Maximis Mundi Systematibus, Ptolemaico et Copernicano. [Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems].
Strasbourg: D. Hauttius for the Elzevir 1635.
Rare first Latin edition of Galileo’s epoch-making Dialogo, the summation of the extraordinary mathematician’s astronomical thought and the work which directly precipitated his 1663 trial and judgement for heresy. Preceded only by the 1632 edition in Italian. Small octavo, bound in full contemporary vellum, engraved additional title page, full page engraved frontispiece portrait of Galileo by Jacob van der Heyden, woodcut diagrams, with the final leaf of errata. This Latin edition includes two tracts in the appendix not in the Italian edition of 1632, and it is the only major work of Galileo’s to be published outside Italy during his lifetime. The two added Latin tracts are the introduction to Kepler’s Astronomia nova (pp. 459-464), and a letter by Paolo Antonio Foscarini defending the truth of Copernicanism and rebutting the charge that it conflicted with scripture (pp. 465-495). With the appendix by P.A. Foscarini which contains an attempt to reconcile the Copernican views with the Holy Scripture. In near fine condition. Exceptionally rare, as the work was rigidly suppressed from the start.
Rare Subscribers Issue: First editions of the celebrated translations of Homers Iliad and Odyssey by Alexander Pope in Rare Contemporary Calf Binding
London: Bernard Lintot 1715-26.
First editions of Alexander Pope’s monumental illustrated translations of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Quarto, 11 volumes. Uniformly bound in full contemporary calf, gilt tooling to the spine with red morocco labels. Some rubbing to the spine and extremities, a very good set overall, scarce and desirable in contemporary calf.
Philadelphia: C. Sherman, 5605 1845-46.
First edition of the “first English translation of the Pentateuch in America,” the 1845 Hebrew-English Bible by one of the most prominent and influential figures in American Jewish history. Octavo, 5 volumes. Translated by Isaac Leeser. Bound in contemporary polished calf, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, rebacked. Lightly rubbed, moderate wear. A very nice example of a scarce and important work.
“Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought": First Edition of John Rawls Magnum Opus A Theory of Justice; Signed by Him
Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 1971.
First edition of the author’s masterpiece. Octavo, original cloth. Signed by John Rawls on the front free endpaper. Near fine in an excellent dust jacket with some rubbing. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Books signed by Rawls are rare.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves": First Edition of Viktor Frankl's Classic Work Man's Search For Meaning; Signed by Him
Boston: Beacon Press 1959.
First edition in English of Frankl’s classic work, which was later titled Man’s Search For Meaning in 1962. Octavo, original cloth. Boldly signed by Viktor Frankl on the title page. Near fine in a very good dust jacket. Translated by Ilse Lasch. Preface by Gordon Allport. Originally published in German, in 1946 under the name Ein Psycholog erlecbt das konzentrationslager. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Signed first editions are exceptionally rare and desirable.
Original signed artwork from Thomas Merton. In the last decade of his life, while living as a hermit-monk in dialogue with the world, Thomas Merton created a body of visual art, drawing from the Zen Buddhist tradition. When he was a student at Columbia University, Merton sought out a Hindu monk named Bramachari for counsel. The monk advised Merton to follow his own Christian tradition to find what he was most deeply looking for. A strong admirer of Gandhi, Merton also noted how Gandhi, a Hindu, had found a congenial ‘ second home’ of sorts in the Christian Sermon on the Mount. In the 1950’s Merton began exploring Buddhism, especially Zen Buddhism. He thought he found some resonance between Zen and the Desert Fathers. Merton sent a copy of his study of the Desert Fathers to Daisetsu Suzuki, the leading exponent of Zen in the west. They began a long correspondence in the late 1950’s, and Suzuki’s influence can be seen in Merton’s artwork. Includes a letter from activist W.H. Ferry, which reads, “4/3/68 For Mary Sue Dilliard: Daisetsu Suzuki told Father Tom Merton in 1965 that the only way finally to understand Zen was to practice calligraphy. This is the result: one of Tom’s earliest calligraphs. W.H. Ferry.” On the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions letterhead, which Ferry was the Vice President. Matted and framed, which measures 13 inches by 15 inches. Calligraphy drawing measures 9 inches by 12.5 inches. On the verso of the frame, it includes various Merton material including numerous clippings. Original artwork by Merton is exceptionally rare in the marketplace.
First Edition in English of "One of the Most Important Texts of the Twentieth Century" Martin Heidegger's Being and Time; Signed by Him
New York: Harper & Row, Publishers 1962.
First edition in English of the book that “changed the course of philosophy” (Richard Rorty). Octavo, original cloth. Signed by Martin Heidegger on the front free endpaper. Fine in a very good dust jacket with some wear to the rear panel. Translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Exceptionally rare signed, as no signed examples have appeared at auction in the last 50 years.
The Indian War of Independence of 1857; signed by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and from the famed library of Raja Shamraj Rajwant Bahadur
First edition in English of this highly influential work on the history of the 1857 rebellion by “one of the makers of free India.” Octavo, original cloth with gilt titles to the spine and front panel, patterned endpapers, folding map. Signed by the author on the half-title page. From the famed library of Raja Shamraj Rajwant Bahadur with his ownership initials and library notes to the front free endpaper noting that the book was “purchased on 1-3-1943” (prior to Gandhi’s assassination) and that the author’s autograph was obtained subsequently on 23-12-1957 in Bombay. Indian nobleman Raja Shamraj Rajwant Bahadur assembled India’s greatest library, famed for its diverse collection of rare antiquarian manuscripts and important books. Tipped in is a 1958 newspaper clipping from The Times of India adhered to the pastedown which reads in part, “Dr. C.P. Ramaswami Alyar said here today that the Indian people owed a debt of gratitude to Mr. V.D. Savarkar for his contribution to revolutionary thought and as such he was entitled as being one of the makers of free India.” In very good condition. Uncommon, the only signed example of this work we have seen.
“The timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream": Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet; lengthily inscribed by him
New York: Alfred A. Knopf 1923.
First edition, early printing of the author’s masterpiece. Octavo, original cloth, with illustrations by the author. Association copy, lengthily inscribed by Kahlil Gibran on the title page, “This is for Elenor Fisch, who lives in the world of beautiful understanding. Kahlil Gibran, 1926.” From the library of D. Rajagopal with his library stamp to the front pastedown. Rajagopal was the lifelong friend and editor of Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti, the leader of the Theosophy movement in the early 20th century, and one of its most famous figures. In his teachings, Krishnamurti stressed the necessity for a revolution of human consciousness, which could only occur with radical religious, political, and social change. Near fine in a very good dust jacket. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Rare and desirable signed and with noted provenance.
“Though freedom is not a state of nature but an artifact of civilization, it did not arise from design: FIRST EDITION OF THE ECONOMISTS CLASSIC WORK, THE CONSTITUTION OF LIBERTY; SIGNED BY F.A. HAYEK
London: Routledge and Kegan Paul 1960.
First edition of Hayek’s classic statement on the ideals of freedom and liberty. Octavo, original cloth. Boldly signed by F.A. Hayek on the title page. Fine in a near fine dust jacket. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.
“In any society freedom of thought will probably be of direct significance only for a small minority": First Edition of F.A. Hayek's The Road To Serfdom; In the Rare Original Dust Jacket
London: Routledge & Sons 1944.
First British edition of one of the most influential and popular expositions of classical liberalism ever published. Octavo, original black cloth. Very good in the rare original dust jacket with some rubbing and wear to the extremities. The British edition was published in March of 1944, preceding its American counterpart, which was published later that same year in September. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.
Chicago: The University of Chicago 1960.
First edition of Hayek’s classic statement on the ideals of freedom and liberty. Octavo, original cloth. Boldly signed by F.A. Hayek on the title page. Fine in a near fine dust price-clipped jacket with a few small closed tears. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.
“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human": Exceptionally Rare First Edition in English of Aristotle's A Treatise on Government
London: T. Payne 1776.First edition in English of this important work on government by Aristotle. Quarto, bound in three quarters leather over marbled boards. In very good condition with light toning to the text and wear. Bookseller plate of George Gregory, Bath, Sept. 22, 1936 on the front pastedown. Translated by William Ellis. First editions are rare, with the last example appearing at auction in 1914.