• Drek
    93
    Seems like a lot of people have a Master's in philosophy or more, but can anyone give me some laymen books in order to argue and defend my beliefs? Intellectual self-defense?

    I have an AA in Liberal Arts and an AS in Business... that's the extent of my formal education. I've read a few basic critical thinking books, and had 3 Philosophy classes (Logic, critical thinking, and Ethics).
  • Josh Alfred
    110
    I have been studying philosophy informally for 10 years. I just bought this book, "A world of ideas" by Chris Rohmann. Its a good starter, and if you have some knowledge of philosophy, you will enjoy it for its clarification of some rather obscure ideas. There are also several anthologies you can find, as well as histories of philosophy, such as Bert Russel's "History of Philosophy." Your local library and online book stores will generate plenty of reading sources for your inquiry.
  • unenlightened
    3.7k
    can anyone give me some laymen books in order to argue and defend my beliefs? Intellectual self-defense?Drek

    No. If you want to maintain your beliefs, I recommend not studying philosophy at all. Philosophy is always dangerous to the established intellectual order, and will throw all your beliefs into question.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.8k
    I agree with unenlightened, it's not philosophy that you are looking for, maybe debating skills or something like that.
  • Mww
    788
    Find a book that describes a lot of philosophical -ism’s; pick the one closest to your beliefs. From the choice of -ism’s, look for the -ist that either created the -ism or the one responsible for making that -ism last as long as it did. You’ll probably find there isn’t a single -ism that fully sustains your beliefs, or maybe if you find an -ism that fits you’ll find there are a dozen -ist’s that have something to say about it. And rest assured it is highly unlikely you have an -ism of your own that doesn’t already have its -ist.

    Your personal philosophy is directly proportional to your age. You start out looking for other peoples’ truths you can use (how cool your drinking buddy is) then end up with your own somewhere down the line (how stupid your drinking buddy was).

    Good luck.
  • Valentinus
    474

    You might find the The Story of Utopias by Lewis Mumford to be interesting.

    His thinking cuts across many areas of philosophy and ties them into contemporary problems.
  • tim wood
    2.8k
    Seems like a lot of people have a Master's in philosophy or more, but can anyone give me some laymen books in order to argue and defend my beliefs? Intellectual self-defense?Drek

    both have a point! I would add that if your interlocutor is yourself and it is your own understanding you wish to test, and not mere sophomoric contention, then you can try on the mantle of Socrates himself!

    As to where to start. Really, start anywhere. 90 Minute Guides to So-and-so are usually readable. Histories of philosophy by various authors can make for good reference material, although this is not as easy as it sounds. And if it seems incomprehensible, set it aside. There will be plenty of difficulty to come, so there is no sin in favoring the path of the lesser resistance. Prefaces to major works can be very good. And your public library, if you've a good one you can access, is for the moment your resource of choice.

    You took the basic logic, ethics, critical thinking. Were the textbooks any good - did you keep them? With hope the courses were good ones, it's also possible they weren't. Do you understand what a syllogism is and how it works? The difference between logic and rhetoric? Any of the fallacies? Do you have any idea at all the difference between Kantian and utilitarian ethics?

    Any way, with the courses you're in better shape than most people, who have no such exposure. Start, enjoy, don't go broke buying obscure books with seductive covers, and allow for time. All this will take you awhile, but you're in good company. "There is no royal road to knowledge."
  • Fooloso4
    856
    Seems like a lot of people have a Master's in philosophy or more, but can anyone give me some laymen books in order to argue and defend my beliefs? Intellectual self-defense?Drek

    Your interest seems to be the development of rhetorical skills. Philosophy, as I understand it, involves the radical questioning of one’s beliefs, not a defense of them. Or, to put it differently, it is an examination of those beliefs in order to see how well they can be defended in response to questions and criticism.

    This is, however, not without problems. An argument is not necessarily true because one is able to provide a strong defense or weak because one is not able to. The line between philosophy and sophistry is not always clear. So, one must be honest with him or her self: do you seek the truth or merely to defend your beliefs? A related question is who it is that you wish to defend them to and against?
  • Drek
    93


    I wish to get a basic broad understanding of philosophy and then kinda see how my beliefs holds up to logic and all that. Try to narrow out the BS, including my beliefs. I'm trying to find the truth whatever that means. At least get a firm grasp on how to live my life. I want to know if I am being fooled or not is my main objective. I suppose defending my beliefs is a bit too self-centered.

    Just want to know if smoke is being blown up my butt.

    I thought philosophy has to argue at some point or else it can't convey and get people to "see the light".
  • Drek
    93


    I've gotten sorta through Crito but couldn't get what his main argument for why he stood for his reasoning even in death. What I got out of it would have been it would have made him a hypocrite and he stood by Athens even if they wanted it because it would kinda undermine them if he just left with Crito. A man above everyone else.

    I'm worried I made Crito worse than it really is. Plus the language was rough.

    I am also 3 books into the Kindle Edition's Analysis and Interpretation of The Republic. I like what I read so far but all the poetic and mythological references make it hard I'd spend infinity on it. I still get a little of the arguments and those are awesome.

    I also read Value, Price, and Profit 30 pages of dense work. What I got out of that is Marx wanted to have a wage match a truer value, like the equilibrium point. For example, company's sell things for $19.99 when it could sell for $18.67 or whatever. That price increase should go to the workers as well (how they split it up IDK). Also, they only get paid a fraction of their work, which I forgot why exactly. I think he was also arguing is that when a company got bigger so should the wages proportionally something about variable wage or variable value. I think exploitation is a little rough cause when a business starts out or can't sell they would have no choice but to "exploit" but if they continue to do so, which Marx said they did, it REALLY is exploitation.

    People had to work more than 8 hours a day and it was like modern day serfdom.

    That's why I like college cause the teacher can be like not quite or exactly! At some point you have to take it into your own hands though, especially if you don't have money or don't want debt.
  • Drek
    93
    Bertrand Russell's book sounds good. Thanks for the suggestion!
  • tim wood
    2.8k
    What I got out of it...Drek
    This is great! I am not joking. You recognize you might be missing something - maybe you are; maybe you aren't! But your head is in the game, and that is absolutely all and everything you can do - anyone can do. And if you keep at it - at whatever pace suits you - you'll "get" a piece here and there, and after a while some sense will emerge out of all of it. You've got a great start. Relax, enjoy, and keep at it as your interest leads you. Caution: after Heidegger in the 1920s, much philosophy philosophy becomes not just difficult, but incomprehensible. Be especially wary of spending money on most (not all) commentaries. Most were not written with your interests at heart or in mind. But here are two superb books that are worth buying.

    R. G. Collingwood, An Essay on Metaphysics

    https://www.amazon.com/Essay-Metaphysics-R-G-Collingwood/dp/1614276153/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1546486860&sr=1-4&keywords=r.+g.+collingwood

    And Michael Gelven, A commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time

    https://www.amazon.com/Commentary-Heideggers-Being-Time/dp/0875805442/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1546486965&sr=1-2&keywords=commentary+on+heidegger%27s+being+and+time
  • Drek
    93


    OH yeah, it's hard. I need a book/class to understand other books and classes. I'm partly an autodidact, I am assuming most this forum is in one way or another.

    That one person analyzing The Capital, I want to get there.

    I'm going at it with what I can, and people are referencing some good stuffs. Atm, I have plenty of time on my hands. I felt why not join a place that is passionate about something I want to know. I'm at the point in my life like Mww was saying about your age sets your stage of philosophy. I want to learn!

    I feel it is my civic duty to get educated, by being frugal and trying to build healthy relationships.

    Thanks for your suggestions! I got a B&N gift card hope they are there as well!
  • Fooloso4
    856
    I wish to get a basic broad understanding of philosophyDrek

    This can mean different things. It might mean an introduction to the major philosophers. It should be stressed that this is just an introduction. It may be informative but it will not give you a basic understanding of any of them.

    Another approach is through topics or "problems of philosophy" - ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, and so on. This is often done by either reading or a discussion of representative texts or by an author's view of where things stand.

    The approach that I favor is to begin with a single text, reading it carefully and discussing it, preferably with at least one person who knows the text well. I think Plato is a good place to start for several reasons.

    In the preface to his Philosophical Investigations Wittgenstein says one of the few things that all philosophers might agree on:

    I should not like my writing to spare other people the trouble of thinking. — PI Preface

    For some philosophy is a way of life, what Socrates calls the examined life.
  • Amity
    473
    Seems like a lot of people have a Master's in philosophy or more, but can anyone give me some laymen books in order to argue and defend my beliefs? Intellectual self-defense?

    I have an AA in Liberal Arts and an AS in Business... that's the extent of my formal education. I've read a few basic critical thinking books, and had 3 Philosophy classes (Logic, critical thinking, and Ethics).
    Drek

    How many people here have a Master's in philosophy?
    Compared to how many beginners or middlers ?

    To argue against and defend beliefs I think takes practice which is not always found in books.

    I've been looking online - it's good to do your own research to find out what might best fit your specific needs. The Resource section here is a great start.

    I found this:

    http://www.openculture.com/2014/02/oxfords-critical-reasoning-for-beginners-will-teach-you-to-argue-like-a-philosopher.html

    I only listened to the first 5 mins but impressed by the initial questions and humour. Will be taking a closer look.
  • Amity
    473
    A related question is who it is that you wish to defend them to and against?Fooloso4

    That's an excellent question which just happens to begin the lecture series by Oxford University's Marianne Talbot ( see link in previous post). She poses it to the students, immediately involving them with a nice mix of serious and humour.
  • Amity
    473
    http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/nature-arguments

    I note in addition to video, other media includes audio and a downloadable document in the form of slides.
  • Drek
    93
    This is amazing! Gobble Gobble.
  • Amity
    473
    This is amazing! Gobble Gobble.Drek

    :)
    Well I haven't gobbled it yet but I do hope it is useful.
    I have 2 books on critical thinking taking up space on my shelves. Bought years ago, and now can't remember if they helped me at all.

    1. Critical thinking by Kirby, Goodpaster and Levine
    2. An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis by John Hospers.

    I wish I could find the YouTube tutorials on practical logic which were excellent.
    Anyway, while searching I found this. One tutorial out of 10.

    https://philosophy.hku.hk/think/critical/video.php
    Brilliant succinct videos.
    1. 5 mins images, words and voice.
    2. 2 minutes of Bertrand Russell. Message to future generations.
  • Walter Pound
    199
    If it hasn't been already recommended, then try buying an intro to logic book. that is always a good first step.
  • Amity
    473
    Found the guy I found useful a good few years ago.
    Quite a number of videos here. You will have to scroll down to find the one on critical thinking. And others on logic.

    https://m.youtube.com/user/teachphilosophy/videos
  • DiegoT
    318
    I wish that were true...In practice, I think most philosophers are very much in tune with the zeitgeist of their time and the ideas prevalent in their social circle. Which is not what would happen if philosophy had such a shaking effect. We could not have philosophical periods and schools, as each philosopher would put into question the ideas in his or her environment and would build a unique path. That is not what happens.
    This said, the XXI century is unique in the sense that we are exposed to so many influences (if we want to) that very different philosophical personal paths are possible, at least in the privacy of our minds.
  • DiegoT
    318
    If you understand Spanish, this is a course to introduction to Philosophy from the Argentinian public tv which is quite good. Even if you already know a lot about Philosophy, it is still good, as the guy has ways to put philosophers in the History of ideas that are insightful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMPwE6Uv5Tw&list=PLgRR0bx2IcuwW-NgmPalawIM7CxXQ3RdJ
  • unenlightened
    3.7k
    In practice, I think most philosophers are very much in tune with the zeitgeist of their time and the ideas prevalent in their social circle. Which is not what would happen if philosophy had such a shaking effect. We could not have philosophical periods and schools, as each philosopher would put into question the ideas in his or her environment and would build a unique path. That is not what happens.DiegoT

    Indeed. Most philosophers. But there is also a tradition of philosophers getting crucified, of being obliged to drink hemlock, or being threatened by the inquisition, and these are indeed dangerous thinkers for any time, not just the time they were in.
  • Drek
    93
    I was thinking, outside of the other suggestions of fallacies, bias, and videos, the tools philosophers use... like Occam's Razor, or reductio ad absurdum, etc.

    Mww's suggestion is good too, work at the -ism's find a few that resonate then look into the -ist's who stand by the -ism's.

    Amity has done exceptionally by me.

    Thanks guys!
  • Drek
    93


    You've been doing it informally for 10 years... What's your typical study session? Or is it as simple as picking up a book and reading it? Is there any other mystery behind it? Do you test yourself or summarize?

    I read and take notes (Evernote) and try to study the notes periodically. I guess I could create a book club. I also found this website where you can make timelines in your books of important dates (timeglider.com) I was a student so it was free.
  • Amity
    473
    is it as simple as picking up a book and reading it? Is there any other mystery behind it? Do you test yourself or summarize?Drek

    This ties in with your question re Argumentation. I watched a few of the lectures on critical reasoning. Trying to follow the logic behind deductive and inductive arguments reminded me how I struggled with it.

    Rather than give up the whole enterprise of philosophy, I recognised my weakness at logic. I now simply try to find the main thrust of a point of view ( conclusion) and then look to see what the supporting evidence is ( the premises ). I then analyse starting with 'Is it true that...'

    As a philosophical explorer, rather than a strong believer - I start with a feeling about something - or a critical thought that something isn't right here. So, a question starts the process. Writing on a forum is a good way to challenge and be challenged. As long as you don't take things personally !
    If I do have a particular view, then I give it and try to support it with 3 reasons.

    Reading. Following and Understanding. As you probably already know, it is never all that simple. Particularly dense philosophical books or some convoluted articles.

     
    I read and take notes (Evernote) and try to study the notes periodically.Drek

    Note taking has always fascinated me. How best to do it so that there is not an overwhelming amount or too little to make sense on a reread.

    Some people use mindmaps. I think it depends on what kind of a brain you have.
    I eventually sussed out an Outline tool which then proved useful when I in turn had to produce an essay.

    Other very helpful ideas came from here:

    https://legacy.earlham.edu/~peters/courses/notes.htm

    I share your interest in how others navigate their way through reading. Especially if they wish to start a discussion.
    Great questions, very motivating.
  • Amity
    473
    For some philosophy is a way of life, what Socrates calls the examined life.Fooloso4

    Yes. That is my view of philosophy. As you have suggested in a few threads, there is a tradition of philosophy as therapy. Which philosophers help best ? Who would be in the top 10 ?

    I understand the inclusion of Socrates. But Wittgenstein ? Really ? How so ?
    I would count Marcus Aurelius.The Stoics. Anyone who can offer insight into how to live well with a degree of self-knowledge based on life experience. No academic degrees necessarily required.
  • Fooloso4
    856


    Wittgenstein says:

    Working in philosophy -- like work in architecture in many respects -- is really more a working on oneself. On one's interpretation. On one's way of seeing things. (And what one expects of them.) — Culture and Value 16

    I think the collection of remarks in Culture and Value is the most accessible way to get a sense of what he is up to. The way on sees things can change by the way one looks at them. To this end he often uses several different examples. The parenthetical remark about one's expectations is important. We typically see what we expect to see or what we want thing to be or provide us.

    I would add Nietzsche. Some of the Existentialist philosophers might be added to the list as well.
  • Drek
    93


    MindMaps are good, I like to use them after my notes, but always have a project I am working on so never get to the mindmap. So for example, i'll read a few books on critical thinking and take notes then I have to make a mindmap to see it better. Let's me work with the information more.

    That's a good idea to turn what you've read into an essay... I'll read more of that link thank you!

    There is a method to everything no matter how trivial...
  • Not
    22
    I have always found that going back to the beginning clarified so much. Plato is not hard to read......ok, he is as hard to read as you are prepared for him to be. You could read him as a kid and glean so much. You can read him as one with a PhD and still glean so much. Much of the foundation of thought comes from Plato. I am very fond of him. I started with him as a kid and then went and studied a lot, but always come back to either Homer or Plato. No matter how much I read, I find the clarity and simplicity (simple profundity or profound simplicity) of these two often to take my breath away.
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