• DesperateBeing
    13
    Hello, I just recently entered college and I have Philosophy as one of my classes and I want to be good at it, but I just can't concentrate while studying so let me ask, What's the best way to learn philosophy?:
  • Laguercina
    15
    What's the best way to learn philosophy?:DesperateBeing

    Just talk along and google difficult words. Write them up!
  • DesperateBeing
    13
    Thank you for your tip, I'll try doing it.
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    What's the best way to learn philosophy?:DesperateBeing

    I often wondered about this. I imagine there are various approaches and they don't all work for everyone. Sometimes it can help to start with themes in philosophy and see what philosophers have made of these issues across centuries (eg, god; morality; truth). Or you can read a general introduction to the history of philosophy and use this as a springboard to explore what interests you.
  • DesperateBeing
    13
    Thanks, but names and dates don't stick with me. Is there a tip you can give to help me with that?
  • Valentinus
    1.5k
    What's the best way to learn philosophy?:DesperateBeing

    What do you think about a lot and wish you could understand better?
    You are the only philosopher you have to answer to.
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    A tip to remember names and dates? Apart from writing down notes and re-reading them and writing essays, no. Some people are blessed with exceptional memories. I used to draw timelines and diagrams to remember things.
  • Fooloso4
    2.6k
    There is a difference between learning philosophy and learning what you need to do to do well in the class. Are you using primary texts, books written by notable philosophers, or secondary texts, books written about what is written by Plato or Descartes for example? Does the class focus on presenting and defending your own views or stating the views of the philosophers or interpreting the texts?

    As a general rule I suggest not highlighting the first time you read through the material because it is often the case that you will not see what is important until you have finished the reading. Philosophers often discuss something only to then say why they disagree.

    Being confused can be a good sign. It show you understand enough to see that there is something problematic being discussed.

    Try to be flexible in your thinking. Do not make the mistake of agreeing or disagreeing too quickly. It may be that what you are agreeing or disagreeing with is your own misunderstand of what is being said.
  • Valentinus
    1.5k
    That is a good point. Having some means of annotation that is made in the moment and can be found later.
  • DesperateBeing
    13
    That's a really great way of thinking, thank you very much.
  • DesperateBeing
    13
    WOW, I didn't though about it in that way.
  • Cheshire
    911
    In philosophy class it helps to be able to frame the same subject based on different perspectives. Like, what would Socrates or Kant or whoever interpret this based on a particular person/system. Then, say why 2 of them are wrong and 1 is right and provide 3 citations. Generally, if you are expressing an opinion, it is an opinion on something someone the professor respects has said. If the professor makes more than 2 car analogies then consider dropping early if you can.
  • DesperateBeing
    13
    My philosophy teacher just confuses me a lot, first he says something, but then he says another thing that contradicts the other and I just get tangled up.
  • DesperateBeing
    13
    I have to take philosophy for almost two years, I have it because the school is trying to teach us different ways of thinking, not only the lineal way. Still, I want to be good at it,, so I won't think in only logical solutions.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    3k
    Being confused can be a good sign. It show you understand enough to see that there is something problematic being discussed.

    Try to be flexible in your thinking. Do not make the mistake of agreeing or disagreeing too quickly. It may be that what you are agreeing or disagreeing with is your own misunderstand of what is being said.
    Fooloso4

    This.

    Something else I always used to do is make my own "index" inside the back cover of a book. Like if there's a good example -- something that helped you -- involving a bird house, put an entry for "bird house p. 53" The book's index is not going to have an entry for "bird house". (Works for all classes.)

    Also practice really listening to others when you discuss things in class. Most people don't listen so much as wait for their turn to talk.
  • 180 Proof
    5.6k
    Hello, I just recently entered college and I have Philosophy as one of my classes and I want to be good at it, but I just can't concentrate while studying so let me ask, What's the best way to learn philosophy?DesperateBeing
    I recommend

    The Philosopher's Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods (3rd Ed) by Peter S. Fosl and Julian Baggini.

    Keep this reference handy as you read through surveys and summaries of topics, and you should progress without much frustration.
  • DesperateBeing
    13
    I'll try doing it, sounds fascinating and helpful
  • Gobuddygo
    28
    Hello, I just recently entered college and I have Philosophy as one of my classes and I want to be good at it, but I just can't concentrate while studying so let me ask, What's the best way to learn philosophy?:DesperateBeing

    "The world of Sophie" (De wereld van Sophie) by Jostein Gaarder.
  • DesperateBeing
    13
    Thank you very much every one for you're tips and you're advices, they really helped me with my class. I just made a test and I got 31/40.
  • Pristina
    13
    Thank you very much every one for you're tips and you're advices, they really helped me with my class. I just made a test and I got 31/40.DesperateBeing

    What were the questions about? Did you read stuff from this forum? Congrats! 31/40 is very good! You can join now! ☺
  • DesperateBeing
    13
    The questions were easy (things like ethics and morals, what kind of school founded some characters, etc.) But the open answer questions were the tricky ones, like explain what you think about this problem from the perspective of this character. It was hard to write what I was thinking, and in the end, it was confusing to read.
  • Pristina
    13
    like explain what you think about this problem from the perspective of this character.DesperateBeing

    That's tricky indeed! Don't let these charachters control your thinking though! Do you know Feyerabend?
  • DesperateBeing
    13
    Sorry, I still don't know a lot of philosophers.
  • RussellA
    156
    learn philosophyDesperateBeing

    1) Use the Philosophy Forum as a means of learning philosophy.

    2) Find any thread you are interested in - eg "Complete vs. Incomplete Reality"

    3) Find any topic you are interested in - eg "I toy with the idea that there are many important phenomena in the world, which play a crucial causal influence in the way we view the world, but which we utterly fail to detect because we are human beings and not God (or angles, or intelligent aliens)"

    4) Make an argument supporting or opposing the topic - whether 50 or 500 words.

    5) Structure your reply along the lines of a "How to write a Philosophy Paper" - eg https://philosophy.fas.harvard.edu/files/phildept/files/brief_guide_to_writing_philosophy_paper.pdf

    6) Support your argument with strong evidence - ie, incontrovertible logic or any established philosopher.

    7) Find a source relevant to the topic - whether Plato, Wittgenstein or whoever - print-off a few relevant pages - highlight in yellow relevant ideas - try to include a few of these ideas.

    8) Use a spell-checker

    9) Post your reply - get feedback.

    10) If no-one accepts your argument, then try again.
  • Pristina
    13


    He is the only philosopher I actually liked reading. Thanks to a professor at university who recommended him. "Science in a Free Society" and the work for which he is known: "Against Method". Philosopher Ian Hacking once said it was the first time he saw the same book in three utterly different editions (contrary to, for example, Popper, whose books are all the same). You will learn, I can tell you, very well! You show interest! Keep it up!
  • Bailey Gaunt
    4
    listen to the professor
  • laura ann
    2
    The best way to learn most things is to study them as if you’re going to be required to teach them to someone else. You could for example, take your notes from class and when you’re back home, pretend to be teaching what you learned that day to someone else. Reference your notes and/or books as needed while doing so.

    If you’re lucky enough to have a friend or family member who will let you, teach them the lesson you learned that day. If they ask you questions, look them up on the spot and discuss the answer(s). The more you teach others or share with them what you learned, the more it will stick with you and it will also help you memorize more information. In teaching others, you almost always end up teaching yourself as well.

    I tried doing this myself in college and it helped me tremendously.

    Best of luck!!

    ~ laura
  • emancipate
    306


    Ah the old rubber duck method. It's effective.
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