Philosophical Literature

I’ve been wanting to read up on philosophy.

Please recommend philosophical literature for a beginner. If you have an author you’d recommend please list one or two of his works which you think are the most exemplary of his thoughts.

I’m interested in all kinds of philosophical directions, so the literature you recommend should give the broadest spectrum of philosophical ideas.

Please bear in mind that I’m somewhat of a beginner, so don’t post obscure, hard-to-read texts. :slight_smile:

Thank you.

EDIT: Of yeah, if you recommend a litterature arguing for or against a particular philosophy, I’d very much like a litterature that argues the other way.

palmer - looking at philosophy
adler - six great ideas

-Imp

Philosophy for Dummies

The Making of a Philosopher – Colin McGinn (this recommended for all)

My strongest recommendation can be found at the link below
for anyone looking for a strong intro of great breadth minus the boredom.

writersandreaders.com/

Thank you very much. :slight_smile:

A nice contrast to the Anglo-American tradtion typified by the likes of Colin Mcguin can be found in

“Negotations” by Deleuze.

“Irrational Man” by Willaim Barrett

“Ethics” by Alain Badiou

“Existentailism and Human Emotions” by Sartre

“The Myth of Sisyphus” by Camus

A quite good history of philosophy is Frederick Copleston’s “History of Western Philosophy” which consists of a series of volumes each devolted to a particular era and constellation of concepts.

For those who like novels

The Dice Man and The Search for the Dice Man - Luke Rhinehart
Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Small World - David Lodge
Number9Dream - David Mitchell (too many Davids - I blame Goliath)
This Other Eden - Ben Elton
Idoru - William Gibson
Knots - RD Laing (not a novel, as such)
Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
Atomised - Michel Houellebecq

Perhaps beginners should begin at the beginning. I recommend Plato’s dialogues to a beginner. First philosophers I read were Plato and a little Nietzsche, and I’d say I got more positive thought out of Plato. Plato can be pretty fun to interpret too.

Who was it that said: All of philosophy is only footnotes to Plato?
(A.N.Whitehead)

There are M.A. book lists for Philosophy programs online. You might think of reading through them also.

Plato - Euthyphro (and some others are good, I don’t have it in front of me)
Descrates- Meditations
Hume- Inquiry into human understanding
Quine- Two Dogmas of Empiricism

That should give you a good sampleing and give you an idea of what philosophy is.

I think Anthony Flew’s An Introduction to Western Philosophy is excellent, since it not only gives a handle on the history of philosophy, but it also teaches you how to philosophize, which is at least as important. The contemporary great philosopher Wittgenstein put it this way: “Philosophy is not a theory, but an activity.” It is important, of course, to know what Plato and Kant and the rest had to say, and what they had to say about what others had to say. But to be a philosopher, you still have to philosophize, and that means to be able to think critically about what the philosophers had to say. Flew teaches you how to do that.

I think Anthony Flew’s An Introduction to Western Philosophy is excellent, since it not only gives a handle on the history of philosophy, but it also teaches you how to philosophize, which is at least as important. The contemporary great philosopher Wittgenstein put it this way: “Philosophy is not a theory, but an activity.” It is important, of course, to know what Plato and Kant and the rest had to say, and what they had to say about what others had to say. But to be a philosopher, you still have to philosophize, and that means to be able to think critically about what the philosophers had to say. Flew teaches you how to do that.