• theomen
    I have been self-studying philosophy for a couple of years, sometimes consulting a professor about which books to read when. I'm now thinking about applying to a bachelor's degree program in Germany or United States after a year; during which I intend to study in a more systematic form than before.

    My professor suggested two sets of books which they recommend to b.a students as main references: Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy and Copleston's a History of Philosophy. I am not sure which one to study or if there is a better option.
  • Wayfarer
    I would also have said Copleston. There’s also a series called New History of Western Philosophy published by OUP (details here). I don’t think there are that many better options in terms of compendia. My view and approach is that an historical approach is useful; and never underestimate the seminal texts, particularly Plato’s dialogues.

    Actually - an anecdote. Years ago I was perusing the Philosophy section in a very large bookstore and overheard a conversation between an obviously-erudite professor of philosophy and a grad student. (I was dying to ask him who he was, but never did.) Anyway, this professor made a remark that stayed with me - slightly tongue-in-cheek, but still - he said ‘The Greeks; The Medievals; the Germans. That is all you need to understand about philosophy. The rest is nonsense.’
  • theomen
    The Greeks; The Medievals; the Germans. That is all you need to understand about philosophy. The rest is nonsense.
    This reminds me of Whatehead's comment on Plato: 'The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.'

    I think I'll stick to Copleston and then decide about what to read next. Thank you for the help.
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