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Learn philosophy(I know it's been asked)

 
 
The-one
 
Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2011 07:48 pm
Hello, I'm 19 and I would like to learn more about the world(The Truth). I tried to read Carl Jung-The collective unconscious and Plato the republic(I was amazed by the movie The Matrix). But it's not really the type of reading that I was looking for. Do you have any suggestion on how to learn philosophy or I am on the right track it's just that I have to learn it the hard way?

Thank you very much!
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Type: Question • Score: 7 • Views: 1,498 • Replies: 18
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 01:54 am
@The-one,
I suggest you start with a standard text such as Bertrand Russell's "History of Western Philosophy" and proceed from there with later developments. But what thing you need to realize is that "Truth" is a sticking point in philosophy so you should forget that as an objective. Rorty's "Philosophy and The mirror of Nature" does much to "put philosophy in its place" as merely a historical development of ideas many of which turn out to be pretentious. That point is illustrated by the the comments of the celebrated scientist Richard Feynman who described philosophers views of modern science as the comments of "bemused intellectual tourists scratching their heads in puzzlement at the practices of the natives".
DrDick
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 02:10 am
@The-one,
Start with a question of interest and go from there. For instance, what is truth? As you explore the question you will come across writings and references to ancient and current philosophers. For instance, if I search "classical philosophy what is truth", the second link takes me to a book titled Aristotle on the Nature of Truth. Reading will hopefully lead to more questions of interest. Make sure to question and reflect on the authors interpretation of Aristotle and don't take Aristotle as the only opinion or the authority on truth.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 09:36 am
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

I suggest you start with a standard text such as Bertrand Russell's "History of Western Philosophy" and proceed from there with later developments.

I agree. The rest of fresco's post you can safely ignore.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 10:52 am
@joefromchicago,
Quote:
The rest of fresco's post you can safely ignore.
.....correct... provided you don't wish to proceed beyond 1950 !
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 12:48 pm
@fresco,
I've read Bertrand Russell's book, so I can recommend it as providing a solid grounding in the major philosophical issues -- even if it doesn't cover everything that has happened in the last half century. There are plenty of other introductory texts in philosophy that have been written in the last fifty years. I haven't read any, but I'm sure they all have something worthwhile to say. I just can't recommend any of them.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 04:36 pm
@joefromchicago,
If our young enquirer stays the course he will inevitably come up with the "anti-analytical philosophy" of Wittgenstein, Quine, Sellars and Rorty. This paved the way for post-modernism and the erosion of the status of philosophy as "an academic discipline" in its own right. Reference to the Cambridge battle over Derrida's honorary degree is illustrative of those developments.
0 Replies
 
merlin13
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 05:57 pm
I agree with all answers really. I like Aristotle as a starting point, I like Wittgenstein and I like Bertrand Russel too, although his ideas on mathematical logic are too dry for me. But if I were to teach a course on philosophy, I would choose something friendlier for a beginner. I would prefer some kind of a fictional literary setting. Many strong works of literature explore philosophy in a setting of fantasy or realism or horror, but still manage to cover the same principles and themes of philosophy raised by most of the major branches or authors of philosophy.
That is why it is my personal feeling, Neo (smiles in shared appreciation of the Matrix) that you are on the right track. You started already with something that sparked your curiosity, and that is how a beginner should start, in my opinion. I suggest you proceed with something similar, a fantasy series by Terry Goodkind, which deals with the issues of Truth in Action, as is evident from its title The Sword of Truth.
You will learn a lot from it about a branch of philosophy known as objectivism, and you will probably respond strongly one way or another to the tenets of the series. So it is perfectly fine to learn in a joyful setting. The next step is to learn what to do with it all. I personally learned to interpret from reading Soren Kirkegaard a very deep but also very clear philosopher whose works were very adequately translated to English.
Those are my suggestions to pave the way, but in actuality you will probably see that your assumptions are correct. The way towards the Truth is not easy because in practice you need to learn first to recognize falsehoods, and there are many of those initially. At any rate, to begin with, start with reading fiction , try to see how it fits into the real world, then proceed by learning how to work with it. Literary Analysis can become very helpful there. Derrida was mentioned in one of the answers very fittingly. Other names to look for are Jacques Lacan, Ferdinand de Saussure, and looking them up will give you in turn other names of interest. Then move to philosophers themselves. Kirkegaard is very good for understanding methods interpretation, Hegel for understanding psychology, Nietzsche, for enhancing creative imagination and applying it to philosophy. Hope that helps a little.
0 Replies
 
G H
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 07:00 pm
@The-one,
If you want an overview, then take into account that a rigorous "history of philosophy" didn't start to return to Anglophone philosophy until the 1970s (much the same for metaphysics). So pick-up something written after that, when some of the inaccurate and stereotypical interpretations of pre-analytic philosophers began to fade. Not to mention "lesser" philosophers that were ignored during that climate of the earlier 20th century, usually because they were considered as having no background role in the eventual genesis of analytic philosophy.
0 Replies
 
north
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2011 11:42 pm
@The-one,
The-one wrote:

Hello, I'm 19 and I would like to learn more about the world(The Truth). I tried to read Carl Jung-The collective unconscious and Plato the republic(I was amazed by the movie The Matrix). But it's not really the type of reading that I was looking for. Do you have any suggestion on how to learn philosophy or I am on the right track it's just that I have to learn it the hard way?

Thank you very much!


for myself to learn philosophy is one thing , but to DEVELOPE your thinking is to think , to dwell upon , things BEFORE you read any bodies work so that you have your own , fundamental foundation of thought , then read

thats my thinking anyway
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jan, 2011 03:33 am
@The-one,
If you want to know about the world, I would recommend history books, not philosophy books.
The truth...

It depends on what you want. Do you want to know the progress of ideas through the centuries? Do you wish to know of their social and cultural impacts, both in the times they were concieved and after?
Reading alot of philosophy is sure to give you an extensive knowledge of the history of ideas. But it isn't guaranteed to arm you better to recognize truth in your life.

But at the end of the day, reading has never made anyone a philosopher. Nor has writing. You have to think for yourself, and as long as you read philosophy in search for food for thought rather than answers, it doesn't really matter what you read. There is wisdom to be found everywhere, for those times when we are looking for it.
0 Replies
 
Ding an Sich
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jan, 2011 07:39 am
@The-one,
The-one wrote:

Hello, I'm 19 and I would like to learn more about the world(The Truth). I tried to read Carl Jung-The collective unconscious and Plato the republic(I was amazed by the movie The Matrix). But it's not really the type of reading that I was looking for. Do you have any suggestion on how to learn philosophy or I am on the right track it's just that I have to learn it the hard way?

Thank you very much!


Philosophy for me did not start with a history of philosophy or any introductory texts to philosophy, it started with reading philosophical works. In particular John Locke and Immanuel Kant, the latter of which ushered in much of the by-products of what we deal with in philosophy today.

But my suggestion would be to take one philosophy course, preferably an 100 level course, read the texts and ask lots of questions. Hopefully after a couple of these classes you can find a particular philosopher that you like (Kant became my favorite after a few classes) and read all of their works about 2-3 times, maybe even 4. You have to let what they are saying soak in.

Also, I suggest taking an intro course to logic and moving on to symbolic logic. That always helps when reading texts (unless you're reading Heidegger, in which case logic does not apply as it disintegrates under the analysis of ontology).

One final note: talk to your professors. Philosophy is about dialogue. Engage others and question. Pursue, pursue, pursue.

Have fun.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jan, 2011 07:53 am
@Ding an Sich,
I did that. I took a philosophy course. The lectures were held by a professor in philosophy, and I frequently engaged him in dialogue.

But it was such a disappointment. He kept giving me quotes from this and that philosopher, and was cleary unwilling to give any answer that had not been formulated by some thinker in history.

Later I read one of his books. It was called "the philosophy of evil", but that is my translation of the norwegian title. I don't know if the book has been publizhed in other languages.

The book was disappointing too, and contained more quotes from other authors and philosophers than text he had actually written.

This encounter with a professor of philosophy was my first indication that studying philosophy does not make you a philosopher any more than studying milk will make you a cow.

As I see it, a philosopher is one who asks questions about the things others take for granted. And a good philosopher is one who knows which questions to ask.
Ding an Sich
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jan, 2011 06:37 pm
@Cyracuz,
I remember asking questions that were not my own. But these pertained to understanding a philosopher, pointing not towards my own concerns (of which I had none at the time concerning any problems in philosophy. To some extent I still do not).

The problem with your definition of a philosopher is that there are other kinds of people that question things that we take for granted.

A philosopher has to ask questions that concern him. It is unnecessary to do otherwise.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 Jan, 2011 09:23 pm
@Ding an Sich,
I see your point, Ding.

But we could say that there is a philosophy to anything. Anyone can be a philosopher, and philosophy can be about anything, as I see it. It's in the approach.
Ding an Sich
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2011 08:12 am
@Cyracuz,
But the question remains: what is philosophy? This question I am at a loss to answer.

Anyone can be a philosopher, but that does not mean that these people are philosophers.

I doubt that philosophy can be about anything. Can philosophy involve math? Yes, but this involves a philosophy of math (or logic) to which we are no longer doing math but talking about math. It is as though we have, at one point, started doing math, but at another start making claims to which math cannot feasibly access. This is when we go up and over a subject. I may very well be able to do proofs in logic, but what do they say about the world? What does a musical score written on a sheet of paper say about the world? We want these subjects to go over and against what they cannot do. But I may very well be wrong.

An approach (perhaps attitude) is necessary in philosophy. But what methods do we tack on to it from this point?

0 Replies
 
eduece92483
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2011 10:00 am
@The-one,
I would recomend taking and introduction to philosophy course. It's what I'm doing right now via the web.
0 Replies
 
permoda12345
 
  0  
Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2011 02:09 pm
@The-one,
Read the republic again and between the lines , and the philosophy of Einestien ,as well the philosophy of " Muhyi Aldeen Ibn Arabi "who was born in "spain in al Andalus :he died 1300 years agond try to make, comparison between them ,in fact in the Arab world people consider this man as a disbeliever , and his books are prohibited , I mean publics are not allowed to read them , actually they are hidden in some places in Egypt , Damascus , Morocco , Kuwait , Qatar , and translated into Persian, Spanish , Italian and ordo" Indian language " : "phoenix of sunset , the cave of numbers , allhallg story , Dreams and imaginations , opening the clothes of the unseen world, the world of the other world , revealing the covers , the world of nothingness and blindness "
those books mostly presidents read them for curious .
I tell you some thing important , young readers in the Arab world don't have any ideas of those books , Once I wrote a short I wrote a short brief idea a bout this man in the arab forums , Directly the supervisiors have kicked me out , and sent me messages to my email considering me a disbeliever , so try to find out those books in the Google and look at his pictures and books , or travel to Eygpt and have somebody show the hidden very old books , because one of them the writer explains the secret of numbers and letters , that stand behind the " smile of Monaliza" , physics , chemistry , astronomy.
It's up to you . you have to search .


0 Replies
 
JPLosman0711
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Jan, 2011 03:08 pm
@The-one,
Who you are is Truth, it's not any'thing' you can learn. It's just a matter of un-covering it. I would suggest reading Martin Heidegger's Being and Time as it is a 'call' to Be-ing, it allows you to un-cover all the crap(misconceptions) that are covering who you are(truth). You, Be-ing is the source of the 'world'. It's not any'thing' you can learn - it's only a matter of uncovering the cover up of your projected reflection. You are the projector.
0 Replies
 
 

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