A Noob Needs Help - Where to Continue to Begin?

Hello all!

This is my first post, and I’m wondering where I should begin now that I’ve finished reading Bertrand Russell’s “History of Western Philosophy,” in an attempt to give myself a broad-brush overview of this very new subject for me.

The book was decent, I’d say, and carries you right up until about 1910. I’m positive that everything in it has been filtered through his own natural biases, which has lead me to an interesting realization: from here on out I’d like to consult original texts, with any kind of editorializing clearly labeled as strictly that. I’d rather go to alternative sources for historical background and context, but this raises a problem.

Do original texts exist for pre-Socratics? I figure I may as well jump on board with Thales, since philosophy seems to be peculiarly dependent on the past, revolutionary ideas always overthrowing what went before. Unless of course you think I should start elsewhere - being a complete noob, I’m all ears.

Also - can anyone recommend any other large, broad guides to help me navigate this ocean of stuff?

And, if you’re feeling really ambitious, might you point me in the direction of an oft-misunderstood or not-well-known favorite work?

Thanks so much! I look forward to contributing in the future!

  • Dan

there are a few fragments of original writings remaining but very little.
if you are interested in the presocratics, the definitive authority is Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker by Hermann Alexander Diels.



If you want some primary sources and have a wad of cash lying around, check out:

Great Books of the Western World (Great books of the Western world)(60 Volumes)

by Mortimer J. Adler (Editor), Clifton Fadiman (Editor), Philip W. Goetz (Editor)[/url]

Excellent, both! I wish I had a grand for that truckload of books. But what I do have is a library card and plenty of gasoline. That collection really does look awesome though.

That Diels work looks close to perfection to me. It seems like the perfect answer to what I was looking for. Thanks!

  • Dan