Announcement: Your votes are in! The January 2019 Philosophy Book of the Month is The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World by David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt.
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- Favorite Philosopher: Diogenes the Cynic
by Scott Hughes
Philosophy is the contemplation of the fundamental nature of knowledge, morality, existence, and the universe as a whole. You may wonder why you would want to get involved with philosophy. Simply put, it's not as hard as you may think, and you are probably interested in it even if you have not realized.
Firstly, you may be intimidated by philosophy because of the complex ideas it addresses. Additionally, philosophy texts can be deep and hard to understand at first. However, philosophy does not require credentials or expertise. Anyone can philosophize. Life experience is enough to qualify you to philosophize. You do not need to go to school or get a degree. Unlike technical fields such as being a doctor or electrician, philosophy addresses human issues using general human reason. You can pick up a philosophy book from the bookstore and start reading it today.
Though you may wonder if philosophy will interest you, if you think about it you probably already are interested in it. This is because philosophy addresses those questions about which we all wonder. For example, most of us have asked, "what is the meaning of life?" Most of us have asked, "what happens when we die?" Most of us have asked, "can we really know anything?" Philosophy simply consists of asking and attempting to answer questions such as those.
In a way, you could be a philosopher by simply sitting in your home by yourself and asking and attempting to answer philosophical questions. Of course, you would be better off by reading philosophical texts and by discussing philosophy with others. The best way to do that is to go to the bookstore or library and find some nice philosophical books.
The trick is to find books that are written for general readers and not for people with specific knowledge. For example, you probably wouldn't want to get a college textbook for an advanced class, as such a book would assume that you have already read and studied certain works. Instead you will want to look for an "introduction to philosophy" book or just look for a book with pure philosophy, such as those written by philosophers such as Nietzsche, Hume, Kant, Plato, and Descartes.
Another great option is to use the internet. Using the internet, you can find many free online texts, including many about philosophy. Even better, you can find many free message boards and discussion forums. You can join these forums and talk to other interested people about philosophy.
If you do decide to explore philosophy, have fun and good luck!
About the Author: Scott Hughes owns and operates Online Philosophy Club at OnlinePhilosophyClub.com. It's a great website with lots of free information and articles about philosophy. If you want to discuss philosophy, you can join the Philosophy Forums for free. All viewpoints are welcome.
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