How To Learn About Philosophy

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This forum is NOT for factual, informational or scientific questions about philosophy (e.g. "What year was Socrates born?"). Those kind of questions can be asked in the off-topic section.
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Scott
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How To Learn About Philosophy

Post by Scott »

How To Learn About Philosophy
by Scott Hughes

Almost anyone can philosophize with no formal training or experience. It simply consists of questioning and wondering about the foundational aspects of the universe and ourselves, including metaphysics, knowledge, morality, and religion. Nonetheless, if philosophy interests you, you may want to study it and learn more about it, which in turn will improve your philosophical abilities. Let me suggest some ways to study philosophy.

School - You can go to school for philosophy. That will give you a very formal education in philosophy. Additionally, you will get a degree which can help you in life. However, school usually costs a lot. If you plan to go to school, you may want to go for something more practical than philosophy. A philosophy degree will not open up as much career paths as other degrees. In addition to costing a lot, going to school can take a lot of your time. If you have a tight schedule, you may not have time to go to school.

Library - If you want to study philosophy, you can just go to the library instead of going to school. Without the cost, you can find and read books just the same, and you can get the same research done. Of course, you will not get a degree from just going to the library. But you will have the chance to read as many philosophy books as you can for practically no cost.

The Internet - Nowadays, the internet has put all the information you can get from a school or library right at your fingertips. You can use online encyclopedias, search engines, and other websites to find all sorts of free information. In fact, you may find yourself learning more at home in front of your computer than you would in a classroom. You can find biographies of major philosophers in an instant, for example.

Discussing Philosophy - Perhaps, you can best develop your knowledge of philosophy by discussing it. Unlike just reading books by philosophers, you can interact with other people when actually having discussions. So you can ask questions to other people, and your can propose your own ideas. Getting feedback on your own explanations of your own philosophical ideas will probably help you learn philosophy better than any formal education could. You can discuss philosophy in real life or on the internet.

As you can see, you have many options for learning about philosophy and developing your philosophical abilities. You may find other ways too.

Whatever you do, good luck and have fun!

About the author: Scott Hughes maintains a philosophy club at OnlinePhilosophyClub.com with free information about philosophy. You can discuss philosophy at the Philosophy Forums. It's completely free, and it's a great way to learn more about philosophy.

Please post comments here! Thanks!
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
squarb
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Post by squarb »

Excellent guide which is applicable to all debate! I found this first linked from a myspace bulletin.. maybe your philosophy profile?
lj_elkin
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Post by lj_elkin »

School is probably the best option.
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Samhains
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How to

Post by Samhains »

How to learn Philosophy.

Step one: Learn to read and then apply this new found wisdom.

Step Two: think for your self.
:D
Joe Union
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Post by Joe Union »

lj_elkin wrote:School is probably the best option.
I would be interested in reading your reasons why school is probably the best option.

With the internet and a library one has access to what one has in school. A person has almost limitless access to philosophical material to read and discussion boards online abound with endless discussion at all levels. One can explore new areas and read areas of interest to their heart's content.
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Samhains
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Post by Samhains »

Joe Union wrote:
lj_elkin wrote:School is probably the best option.
I would be interested in reading your reasons why school is probably the best option.

With the internet and a library one has access to what one has in school.
The Internet first of all is not a relyable source, as one example, there are Four people who are credited for writing the song "Ring of Fire" Yet if you go to www.rollingstone.com they only Credit the One song writer and not the other three..so if one did not know they would asume that only one person wrote that song and others where not involved, when they where.

Second The Library has limitations too, as they do not have all the books one would need to full argue points as a bonifyed 'amiture philosopher, as anyone with a little more knowledge would argue something wrote further back, or use some obsquire reference from a novel or grimoure that may not be readly avalible in the Public Library.

But the internet is a good place to start on 'expanding on what you have learned, or think you have learned in the public school system, however creditable that may be...An example of a tought lie is the Plymoth Rock story of early Americans landing there , from the may flower, we know, and they concure that they did not land there but used it as a 'Historical land maker, for the perpose of the history books..So again what you have learned in school may also not be the truth..
Joe Union
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Post by Joe Union »

Hi, Samhains. Thank you for your reply. I tried to use the "quote" feature, but was unable to get it to work.

I agree that the internet may not be a reliable source. Some of the sites are completely wacko. But there are sites from reliable sources that can be trusted.

A public library while it may have many books, certainly does not have every book written. In the area I live college libraries are open to non-students. One can access them as one can any public library. I don't know if this is true everywhere, but I have browsed and borrowed many times from the college libraries near to where I live.

I think a point to be made, especially on a philosophy board, is to question everything. Just because information can be found online or in a library doesn't make it true. The same could be said for any lecture given by a professor. Taking something and believing it without question because it is said by an "authority" seems to be against philosophical standards.

I agree with your comments about public schools. I don't know how to improve public schools, or even what should be taught, but generally public schools get a failing grade.

Best wishes,
Joe.
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Samhains
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Post by Samhains »

Hi Joe,
Joe Union wrote:A public library while it may have many books, certainly does not have every book written. In the area I live college libraries are open to non-students. One can access them as one can any public library. I don't know if this is true everywhere, but I have browsed and borrowed many times from the college libraries near to where I live.
Joe.
So then you have answered your own question have you not? Interested to know why a school (at any degree) was a good place to start..You your self have gone to schools you do not even attend and borrowed their books. :)
Joe Union wrote: I think a point to be made, especially on a philosophy board, is to question everything. Just because information can be found online or in a library doesn't make it true. The same could be said for any lecture given by a professor. Taking something and believing it without question because it is said by an "authority" seems to be against philosophical standards.
Joe.
I agree everything must be scrutinized.
"IT is not the shell that we seek, but the nut inside, there for the shell must be broken in order to get at the nut, this is the order of things; and there must be order."
Joe Union wrote: I agree with your comments about public schools. I don't know how to improve public schools, or even what should be taught, but generally public schools get a failing grade.

Best wishes,
Joe.
Linkage needs to be tought more, and an allownce for free thinking imaginative minds to have the time to be that, not so rushed. New things, new projects, new words, new grammer and a new understanding behind each word. Religion perhaps should be taught again, as this may curve the 'gang' and gun violance in the school, where most times this is not tollerated.
We also need to remind these KIDS that they are just that; and that they are not grown men and woman, and the older people need to take back some of this "Respect" that we give to teens. Respect is earned, not given freely given because YOU think your worth it. These Kids who are 19 and younger need to realize they are still 19 and if you spell that the word TEEN is in that. The TEENAGE mind does not finish forming reasoning skills till it is in it's early 20's; A young Adult. These Kids demand repect from people they don't even know.

What respect should I give to a 15 year old other than what a 15 year old should have. They are not adults and should not be spoken to as, nor treated or trusted as.

A 15 year old cares not if he runs you over while driving drunk, thinks not of the kids you have, but only that of the scared little kid in them, that some how has to make it home past the cops and put on a big fake smile for Mom and Dad.



Till now,
blessed be.
Sam
Joe Union
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Post by Joe Union »

Samhains wrote:
We also need to remind these KIDS that they are just that; and that they are not grown men and woman, and the older people need to take back some of this "Respect" that we give to teens. Respect is earned, not given freely given because YOU think your worth it.
Yes! Well said.
anarchyisbliss
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Post by anarchyisbliss »

A 15 year old cares not if he runs you over while driving drunk, thinks not of the kids you have, but only that of the scared little kid in them, that some how has to make it home past the cops and put on a big fake smile for Mom and Dad.

Maybe this is how you felt when you were fifteen, but I beg to differ that all 15 year olds feel this way. I at least know that I didn't when I was 15.
"If there is hope, it lies in the proles." - George Orwell, 1984
grawler
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Post by grawler »

Finally someone saying you can know something without going to college or having a degree. I used to tell my dad that it doesn't matter what you actually know only that you have a degree stating that you know something. A person can have knowledge with or without school.
celebritydiscodave
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Is discussion always the best option?

Post by celebritydiscodave »

Is discussion the single final option? - Is it not actually more practical, and sometimes much easier, to develop abstract thinking and pure thought through the medium of testing theories from life experience, rather than from there going on to very possibly water down what might otherwise have been revolutionary, and perhaps even potentially positively world changing truths with an underlying need to conform? I merely pose the question.
My main social contention is over the degree of age discrimination/programming that there is of younger adults over not specifically age, but rather...
Anylitical1-10
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Re: How To Learn About Philosophy

Post by Anylitical1-10 »

I think, that as adults, we should remember that we were once a kid ourselves. And, that as with all kids, we did not learn everything in school. But rather, we had to learn many things through trial and error. For example, I remember that when I was a kid, my mother told me to not stick my hand in that fire, as it would burn. So what did I do? I stuck my hand in the fire. So it is not so much that kids should give us more respect, nor that we should give them more respect. But that we should remember.
Stormy
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Re: How To Learn About Philosophy

Post by Stormy »

You don't learn philosophy, either it comes to you, or you learn about how it came to others. Problem is, most of those who preach it, have nothing in common with it.
Anylitical1-10
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Re: How To Learn About Philosophy

Post by Anylitical1-10 »

From my own experience, I would say that it is a little of both. With myself, first came the latter, then came the former.
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