• Nasir Shuja
    92
    So I'm a little bit familiar with everything but I'm finding that every time I try to read something it refers back to other things of which I only have a vague conception of. I studied philosophy in college so I know basic prop logic, Aristotle well, the first 3 chapters of the phenomenology of Spirit, the trends of history, some theological and mythological aspects, the isms, science studies, the general historical points of discussion, a little Wittgenstein, forgot all the Kant husserl and Hume and Berkeley, etc.

    This is a really bad explanation of what I'm familiar with but I guess lately I've been wondering about the ontological debate, philosophy of language, more logic and its core important to sound philosophy, mathematics, skepticisms, I like empiricism I think, etc but I really have no idea what to read or think about this (not that I think that's a problem).

    Feel free to share how you did it, a general advice for how you think it can or should be done, or what I need. Trust me, I'm open to anything.
  • TWI
    151
    Thinking is a priority over reading IMO, but thinking is difficult, it is a slow process, constantly going back and questioning your ideas. Once you have mastered the art of constructive thinking then you can look for reading matter that will help to expand on your ideas but always ready to change your mind and go back and modify those thoughts. It's a long process which doesn't appeal to some, who prefer the easier task of just reading about someone else's ideas.
  • Wallows
    8k
    Read more Wittgenstein.
  • Terrapin Station
    9.1k
    To best understand everything ideally one would read all of the major texts in chronological order, starting with the presocratics. No one is actually going to go through all of that in a disciplined way, though. And it would take a lifetime to do.

    At least with the Internet now it's a lot easier to quickly travel down the rabbit hole in a very topic-specific way for background info on anything you're not familiar with.
  • unenlightened
    3.6k
    ...every time I try to read something it refers back to other things of which I only have a vague conception of.Nasir Shuja

    Until you know everything, which might be a while, this is always going to be a problem. But rather than give you a reading list of every significant philosopher, I suggest you cheat. What you need is a handy crib-sheet, which is known in the trade as a Dictionary of Philosophy. If you have money, you can buy one, or if you have the internet, you can use an online one such as this: http://www.philosophypages.com/dy/

    Whenever your vagueness troubles you, you can look up the name or the term, and get a mercifully brief blurb that you can follow up on if you are still not satisfied.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    1.2k
    I recommend History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell as a good refresher.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.1k
    Don't read so-called philosophers is my advice. :smile: Philosophy is about thinking, and there's much more out there about thinking than is generally associated with 'philosophy'. Here are some books that I have found inspiring, or otherwise beneficial:

    Robert M. Pirsig - Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance and Lila, an inquiry into morals.
    Guy Claxton - Hare brain, tortoise mind.
    Alan Watts - Everything I have read by him has been a revelation. [YMMV :wink: ]
    Benjamin Hoff - The tao of Pooh and the te of Piglet.
    Lakoff and Johnson - Metaphors we live by.
    Herman Hesse - The glass bead game.

    None of the above are known as philosophers, except maybe Pirsig?, but I have found them all to catalyse my thinking, one way or another. You may enjoy them?
  • Jake
    1.4k
    Trust me, I'm open to anything.Nasir Shuja

    Well, let's find out. :smile:

    My .000000000003 bitcoins worth of advice would be....

    Stop reading. Stop concerning yourself with what somebody else said. Do your own homework.

    Stop thinking. That is, stop concerning yourself with theories about reality.

    Instead, focus on observation of reality. Embrace observation, not as a means to some other end such as theories and conclusions, but for it's own value.

    Stop taking advice from strangers. You can start with this post if you'd like. :smile:
  • Wallows
    8k
    Stop taking advice from strangers. You can start with this post if you'd like. :smile:Jake

    The paradox is REAL!
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.6k
    None of the above are known as philosophers, except maybe Pirsig?Pattern-chaser

    George Lakoff is a cognitive linguist and philosopher. His co-author, Mark Johnson (Metaphors We Live By) is a philosopher.
  • Nasir Shuja
    92
    Ive heard good things about those books.

    Here is some more background information, which is always helpful in this context.

    I had a very traumatic experience a few years ago which is related to me becoming an addict. I'm in recovery now for a good while (I'm 26). I've found that in the recovery community people see belief in a mixed fashion: as something which is meant to improve life and which should be obtained, after practicing disciplined mind training, from experience (subjective connection to a higher power). Most people, however, muddle this. From little events and coincidences they glean miracles and fate. From improvement in life after following mind training they obtain a vague dharmic concept and usually a God is inserted. Worst, even if they have sufficient (which would have to be direct mystical contact with the truth bearers) evidence to believe, it is incommunicable. I use philosophy now partly for critical thinking and it has helped me here. It is not easy with my past, my deep mysticism aside from this all, and my current problems, to inevitably maintain this straightforward analytical mindset that supervenes over emotion, but that's how I am. I'm lucky. I've began to focus mostly on very intense psychological analysis as part of my recovery and mysticism, something which I've found to be a million times more fruitful than the logic and abstractions which I studied in college and afterwards. Most people in philosophy carry strong biases and are unaware of them. Eg.: I meditated a lot and got no supernatural effect so there is no such thing. Or I saw a meditator go crazy so meditation makes you crazy. The reality is much more complex than these reductive, biased, outsiders' points of view. I could explain this all but it depends if anybody open minded is actually listening. People on forums like this usually aren't.

    So another thing which has evolved out of this all is my interest in art. Currently I've found that philosophy has a lot of concepts which are well translated into the visual arts, by their conceptual nature. It's unexplored territory as far as I see, and I have some skill in both, so that's another main use of philosophy for now for me. I have found to draw a picture is to take some stance on some level I guess (or at least it's a lot harder to draw one and not), so I've had to keep that in mind. It keeps it interesting, and seeing how a concept draws is a new way to see how art works, and what that concept really is. It's quite cool.

    One thing about formal philosophy which gets me is the subjectivity of it all. Simple scholars, with their constant argument and debate (regardless of what they invent or do) do not have a high place in the mystical heirarchy. Mind training is much more beneficial for me now that I'm out of the phase for looking for ontological answers. I'll settle for a simple empiricist epistemology and acknowledge that ontology is cordoned off for me. I don't see much fruitful endeavors coming out of that minefield.
  • emancipate
    108
    If you like art, think about philosophy as the art of creating concepts. Consider whether ontology is created or discovered (or both).

    As for your reading issue. Yes there are linear threads to be followed throughout philosophy. A succession of discourses where one philosopher refers to a previous philosopher. Chronology is boring and limiting.

    Read rhizomatically. Pick something up, if it interests you keep reading, if not, put it down. Books don't have to be finished. Create your own path. Regard philosophical reading as a self-made tapestry. Let the work prompt you into new thought. New directions. Academics might complain that this is not the way, but mostly they care more about regurgitation than creation.
  • DiegoT
    318
    What Wittgenstein could we read if we haven´t read with Wittgenstein yet? Reading is a dialogue with intellectuals, and you can not bear an intellectual for too long; I agree with emancipate that we have to be more relaxed in our readings. What I do is to use an ebook, and keep a number of books in it to pick one each time
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.1k
    Lakoff and Johnson aren't known as philosophers, but it doesn't matter. My point, and it is only a minor one, is that I have gained more from mere thinkers than I have from studying the philosophers that feature in academic philosophy courses. YMMV.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.1k
    If you like art, think about philosophy as the art of creating concepts. Consider whether ontology is created or discovered (or both).

    As for your reading issue. Yes there are linear threads to be followed throughout philosophy. A succession of discourses where one philosopher refers to a previous philosopher. Chronology is boring and limiting.

    Read rhizomatically. Pick something up, if it interests you keep reading, if not, put it down. Books don't have to be finished. Create your own path. Regard philosophical reading as a self-made tapestry. Let the work prompt you into new thought. New directions. Academics might complain that this is not the way, but mostly they care more about regurgitation than creation.
    emancipate

    Nice post. Good advice. Thank you. :up:
  • Nasir Shuja
    92
    Forgot to say, interesting advice here. Not what I expected. Thanks. I read from here and there as concepts and interests come up. Right now I picked up the phenomenology of perception and some popper, very rarely (haha).
  • redhors
    2
    John Gray's "Straw Dogs" is a good one
    I read a lot of Simone de Beauvoir, Sartre and Camus...
    "At the Existentialist Cafe" by Sarah Bakewell is a good overview of existentialism and how the main thinkers are all connected... pretty much like everyone else said, if a book interests you, keep reading. However, I do find that reading some main philosophers like Heidegger, Husserl, Beauvoir, Sartre, Hume, Hegel, etc. is a good way to not get super lost in some material, as they do show up often
    Oh one more good one, "Evil in Modern Thought" by Susan Neiman
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