Looking for books to read

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Looking for books to read

Post Number:#1  Postby Ozymandias » January 14th, 2017, 6:22 pm

As someone relatively new to philosophy, I find myself way behind and not well-read at all on the subject. Could those of you more experienced than me recommend reading material that will catch me up? Just basic stuff that any philosopher ought to read? I just need to actually start reading these books that I always hear people refer to, and don't know where to begin.
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Re: Looking for books to read

Post Number:#2  Postby Mosesquine » January 15th, 2017, 12:33 am

I recommend you to read Core Questions in Philosophy: A Text with Readings by Elliott Sober. If you are more interested in analytic philosophy, read Analysis and Metaphysics by P. F. Strawson.
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Re: Looking for books to read

Post Number:#3  Postby Ozymandias » January 15th, 2017, 4:39 pm

Mosesquine wrote:I recommend you to read Core Questions in Philosophy: A Text with Readings by Elliott Sober. If you are more interested in analytic philosophy, read Analysis and Metaphysics by P. F. Strawson.


Great, thank you!
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Re: Looking for books to read

Post Number:#4  Postby Burning ghost » January 16th, 2017, 1:43 am

If you really want to challenge yourself and get an understanding of how philosophers present their arguments then read Kant.

Critic of Pure Reason is widely regarded as one of the greats for a good reason.

It really depends if you are a jump in the deep end kinda person or someone who is happier to paddle in the shallows before moving further out.

If you go for Kant your reading ability and concentration will improve a great deal. You'll find yourself rereading pages several times over just to get a vague idea of what is going on.

Good luck
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Re: Looking for books to read

Post Number:#5  Postby Ozymandias » January 16th, 2017, 5:13 am

I'll look into Kant then, thanks.
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Re: Looking for books to read

Post Number:#6  Postby Fooloso4 » January 17th, 2017, 5:53 pm

Do you want to read the philosophers or read about them?

The advantage of reading about them is that you can move pretty quickly, covering a lot of ground. It may in some cases be an advantage but in others a disadvantage to read someone else’s interpretation. The other side of the coin is that reading primary texts on your own can be very difficult without someone to help.

Another option is youtube, which would be closer to sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture.

“Sophie’s World” by Gaarder is a decent introduction that covers the history of philosophy and is accessible. It is called a novel, but that aspect of the book seems to me to be contrived.

In my opinion, there is no substitute for primary texts supplemented with good commentaries, but not everyone has the time and energy for that. The truth of the matter is that many professional philosophers specialize and rely wholly on secondary materials when venturing outside of their narrow specialty.
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Re: Looking for books to read

Post Number:#7  Postby Ozymandias » January 18th, 2017, 12:05 am

Interesting input, thanks! I do tend to learn largely on YouTube and similar area so of the internet but that always seems, ironically to what you said, too secondary, so to speak. I suppose primary sources can be hard to read and many are outdated, but somehow the idea of primaries seems more pure. I suppose that sounds just a feeling, though, so I'll look into secondary stuff and interpretations.
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Re: Looking for books to read

Post Number:#8  Postby Fooloso4 » January 18th, 2017, 11:31 am

Ozymandias:

I suppose primary sources can be hard to read and many are outdated, but somehow the idea of primaries seems more pure.


I do not think that the great works of philosophy are outdated, but there are outdated translations. Philosophy is not simply a body of knowledge but a way of thinking. The greatest thinkers give nothing away. In order to understand them we must think along with them, and this is something that can only be done through primary texts.

I just noticed that you have listed Nietzsche as your favorite philosopher:
Of all that is written, I love only what a person hath written with his blood. Write with blood, and thou wilt find that blood is spirit. It is no easy task to understand unfamiliar blood; I hate the reading idlers. He who knoweth the reader, doeth nothing more for the reader. Another century of readers—and spirit itself will stink. Every one being allowed to learn to read, ruineth in the long run not only writing but also thinking. Once spirit was God, then it became man, and now it even becometh populace. He that writeth in blood and proverbs doth not want to be read, but learnt by heart. (Thus Spoke Zarathustra, "Reading and Writing")


Here is the problem of the trade-off. You can spend years reading Nietzsche and there is much to be gained from this, but this may not leave time to become well read on the subject of philosophy in general. On the other hand, if you take the survey approach you may find that when it comes to someone like Nietzsche you are still not well read. You will know only what one or a few scholars have said about their understanding of Nietzsche. But if you had spent years reading Nietzsche instead you might conclude that these scholars had not understood him at all.

None of this is meant to discourage you but to emphasize that interpretation is a if not the central activity of philosophy.
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Re: Looking for books to read

Post Number:#9  Postby Ozymandias » January 18th, 2017, 4:30 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:I do not think that the great works of philosophy are outdated, but there are outdated translations. Philosophy is not simply a body of knowledge but a way of thinking. The greatest thinkers give nothing away. In order to understand them we must think along with them, and this is something that can only be done through primary texts.


Good point.

Neitzche is listed as my favorite philosopher more because of nihilism than anything else. I'm not much of a nihilist, but I was, and until I rejected every moral and philosophical principle I had been raised with, I didn't have any understanding of philosophy, so in a way nihilism was a fundamental ideology for me, everything I believe is based on building up from nihilism. I'm not sure if that makes sense.

Thanks for the input!
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Re: Looking for books to read

Post Number:#10  Postby Fooloso4 » January 18th, 2017, 7:34 pm

It is often assumed that Nietzsche was a nihilist but his philosophy is anti-nihilistic. His Zarathustra speaks of a “sacred no” and a “sacred yes”. A rejection of Christian morality (in the larger sense of good and evil) is a necessary step toward the sacred yes, but unless one is able to replace what one says no to with something else, something life affirming, one is lost.
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Re: Looking for books to read

Post Number:#11  Postby Ozymandias » January 18th, 2017, 8:48 pm

Wasn't his work edited by his sister after his death to be more nihilist? Or am I right thinking of someone else?

-- Updated January 18th, 2017, 8:49 pm to add the following --

Thinking* sorry for the typo, "right" shouldn't be there.
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Re: Looking for books to read

Post Number:#12  Postby Fooloso4 » January 19th, 2017, 2:18 pm

Ozymandias:

Wasn't his work edited by his sister after his death to be more nihilist?


His sister Elisabeth was a supporter of Nazism. She had a hand in editing his works that were unpublished at the time of his death and attempted to make them appear to promote the Nazi cause and ideology. He held tight control, however, over the works that were published while he was alive.
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Re: Looking for books to read

Post Number:#13  Postby CarolineVardigans » June 20th, 2017, 10:33 pm

Just to get an idea of where you're at:
i) Have you taken any courses in philosophy?
ii) Are there any areas of philosophy that are of particular interest to you?

We were assigned a lot of readings in first year from Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings , which you can find on Amazon.

Also, welcome to your new favourite website: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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Re: Looking for books to read

Post Number:#14  Postby Gabrielbtst » July 18th, 2017, 12:41 pm

I recommend to read "Genome" by Matt Ridley. This book is already badly suited for acquaintance with new discoveries and theories in the field of genetics, some of the data is already outdated, new discoveries and facts have appeared. Science does not stand still. But this book is well suited for acquaintance with the topic, immersion in the issue of inheritance of various signs and determinism of our destiny.
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Re: Looking for books to read

Post Number:#15  Postby Hereandnow » August 10th, 2017, 11:24 pm

Put aside some serious time and read Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Why play around?

Why Kant? Because he is simply basic to all serious philosophy. Understanding what a Copernican Revolution is can actually turn your world inside out. But he's hard. All good things, profound things especially, are hard. Depends on if you really want to understand.

-- Updated August 10th, 2017, 11:25 pm to add the following --

I mean, how can you really understand Nietzsche if you don't read Kant?
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