• Lost God
    3
    I wish to learn more about philosophy, and how to do it. Any tips? Books? How to learn more about philosophy. Currently I'm reading Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Any other books you recommend or strategies?
  • Pfhorrest
    3.1k
    The History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russel gives a kind of neat narrative overview of how the whole field has unfolded over time.

    On a much lighter note, there's a YouTube channel called Philosophy Tube that covers a lot of the basics in brief in their early videos. Newer videos are more deep dives on particular political or existential topics than general academic philosophy though.
  • tim wood
    5.4k
    Search this site. Your topic is raised from time to time and many have been the answers - all good, but needing you to review them.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.9k
    A lot of the classical works aren't going to be very useful or relevant to you, although many of them might be downright enthralling (contemporary debates are among my favorite sources of information).

    Usually people get into philosophy because they're interested in something specific. What are your interests? Since you seem to be interested in philosophy in general, can I assume that you're curious about "truth"? (as in: What is truth? How did it get there? What is it good for?). In this case, you should look for introductory materials (videos, essays, or texts) on the subject of "epistemology".

    Some other areas that might be interesting are "ontology" (similar to epistemology, but to do with the nature of existence/ as opposed to the nature of truth), "normative ethics/morality" (do do with the nature of right and wrong or moral value), and finally the philosophy of science (which should include an examination of basic logic (inductive vs deductive).

    There's more to learn in the broader field of philosophy than can be learned in ten lifetimes, so it's a bit of a tradition to follow your own interests...
  • Maw
    2.1k
    Start with The Philosopher's Toolkit by Julian Baggini
  • I like sushi
    2.4k
    If you’re interested in Nietzsche then you’ve started in the wrong place.

    I tried to read Thus Spake after Beyond Good and Evil ... had to stop quarter way through because I didn’t understand where he was coming from. Go for Plato and Aristotle first, then Birth of Tragedy.

    I don’t think you can go wrong by picking up The Republic and looking into other works of Plato before seeing the different approach of Aristotle - key to understanding Nietzsche!

    A Brief History of Time (I meant A History of Western Philosophy! Haha!) is a great suggestion. I’ve not read it cover to cover myself, but it’s certainly a good reference.

    You may also find it useful to attach your reading choices to other interests. If you’re into music look at ‘aesthetics’, if you’re interested in politics/business look into economic models and the use of rhetoric, if you’re interested in pedagogy linguistics and epistemology may tickle your fancy more.

    Mix and match, don’t get sucked into one particular area too deep too early though.

    Once you’ve found your feet, if you’re not put off by the pretentious nature of the subject and the winding jargon, buy a copy of Kant’s Critic of Pure Reason and slog through it - painful but rewarding.
  • Lost God
    3
    Thank you! I have encountered the same problem. I have a good idea now.
  • alcontali
    1.3k
    Since you seem to be interested in philosophy in general, can I assume that you're curious about "truth"? (as in: What is truth? How did it get there? What is it good for?). In this case, you should look for introductory materials (videos, essays, or texts) on the subject of "epistemology".VagabondSpectre

    if truth is about correspondence with the real, physical world, and if epistemology seeks to detect patterns of justification in the abstract, Platonic world of knowledge, then epistemology does not deal with truth.

    Knowledge itself, as a Platonic abstraction expressed in language, is never a true object or observable, because it does not live in the real, physical world. Language expressions cannot be intrinsically true. They can only be moderately true by correspondence.

    The map is not the territory.

    Knowledge does not gain its status by being true, but merely by being justified.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    I would suggest that you read about philosophy first. Libraries and bookstores have introductions to philosophy which range from very simple to quite difficult. Pick a book toward the simpler side, and work your way up.

    You don't have to read philosophy in chronological sequence -- starting with Heraclitus 2500+ years ago and ending in the present time.

    If you are not in a class, then you need a guide (book) that will tell you what the field of philosophy is about.

    If you get bored with the topic, don't feel bad. Philosophy can involve a lot of difficult concepts and obscure writing styles. Plowing into a field like Philosophy, English Literature, Russian History, Mathematics, Archeology, and so forth is fine if you are REALLY interested in it and are willing to stick with it until you get good at it. But...

    Lots of people find that philosophy is not all that interesting beyond a certain point. Same goes for English lit, Russian History, and everything else.
  • uncanni
    338
    Usually people get into philosophy because they're interested in something specific.VagabondSpectre

    This is certainly true in my case. I got interested in Existentialism in the late 60s because it was relevant to my generation, plus I wanted to understand my own existential angst. Since I was an avid reader, I just kept going. I was in college in the 1970s and took some philosophy courses; I was in grad school in the 80s and got a minor in critical and cultural theory, which I consider a branch of philosophy. So I have a long list now, but I started with Kaufman's Existentialsim from Dostoyevsky to Sartre
  • NOS4A2
    3.8k


    The basics should give you a general understanding of what philosophy entails. Personally, I never read philosophy in order to learn what to think, but how to think. As for how to do philosophy, well, the first step is to stop reciting another’s philosophy and start coming up with your own.
  • simeonz
    116
    My interests are quite light and superficial compared to other forum posters. Still, I recommend the Bryan Magee interviews in philosophy as an accessible and general background.
  • Lost God
    3
    Thanks everyone for your thoughts on how to start. I appreciate it.
  • Pfhorrest
    3.1k
    Usually people get into philosophy because they're interested in something specificVagabondSpectre

    Not me. I got into philosophy specifically because I was interested in the most general and fundamental parts of everything else I was interested. For all my natural science interests, that boiled down to physics, and then to metaphysics; for all my social science interests, that boiled down to something in the area of economics or political science, and then to ethics; and when I discovered that those are both parts of the field of philosophy, I felt I'd finally found the field I had really been interest in the whole time.
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