Philosophy... the reading essentials?

I’m a new convert… and extremely interested in getting more knowledgable in philosophical thought… i was wondering what the essential books would be for a beginner who knows what philisophy is…yet hasn’t done much reading… i mean what books are must reads to gain a all round basic view of philosophy…?

one of my favorite intro to philosophy books is called “Looking at Philosophy- The unbearable heaviness of philosophy made lighter” by Donald Palmer, Mayfield publishing… it covers the basics (from a historical not topical p.o.v.) of philosophy and don’t let the title fool you, it isn’t a book of jokes about philosophy… it will give you the basics about most major philosophers (“beginning with Thales and his metaphysical water- the first truly heavy water”) …

also look at a book called “Six Great Ideas” by Mortimer Adler… it speaks about philosophy from a more topical point of view…

-Imp

May I ask what you mean by being a “new convert”? What did you convert from and to?

to start out in philosophy? Damn, read Plato’s Apology, Descartes Discourse on Method and Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. to start out.

Well wait do you want the canonical version of philosophy? Or Big Hermes’ Heretical Version? for the Heretical Version start off with a good source book on the PreSocratics like AA Long’s work on the Early Greek Philosophers or Nietzsche’s Philosophy in the tragic Age of the Greeks. Pick out who you like amongst the early greeks and read them - Parmenides or Heraclitus or Pythagoras or Empedocles or whoever. Then You read Plato - The apology, the Cratylus, and the Thaetatus. you can read the republic if you want, too. Then you read aristotle - the Physics and the Metaphysics. (They’re all superseded crap now, but the physics is good for the vocabulary). also It’d be good to read the Organon (at least the Categories and De Interpretatione)
Finally you get to pick either the poetics or the politics. it’s up to you.
Now the fun stuff - Read Lucretius De Rerum Natura (SP?) read AA Long’s book on the Hellenistic Philosophers and read Diogenes Laertius Lives (if you can find him).
Then go grab a copy of Etienne Gilson’s Spiirit of Medieval Philosophy and find some excerpts of Aquinas. you aren’t going to want to wade through the crap but Nobody writes more logically than Aquinas - nobody.
Now for the fun - READ MONTAIGNE !!! You will see what’s about to happen - suddenly the Europeans went nuts. Read that Descartes I mentioned - see how boring philosophy is now that there’s a split between Philosophy and literature? And it’s all Francis Bacon’s fault. Ok now for the exciting stuff . you’ve read your Descartes. Now we introduce his nemesis - Spinoza who says to that silly frog - Mind Body split? My ass! Everything is substance/body and everything is immanent (just like those Stoics I had you read back there)
Now you have to go back to politics - read Hobbes. you get to see the founding of analytic method and see how much fun violence can be for stuffy philosopher types. read locke. I can’t stand locke, but whatever.
then read Hume All hell breaks loose. Now read Kant - in the critique of Pure Reason - look at all those pretty categories all jumping around. Wow where did they come from? Nobody knows but Kant and he ain’t tellin’

at this point I’m stopping and I wil continue tomorrow because we have to habe the fight between the Romantics and the Enlightenment boys

Ouch !! I’m in the Meditations right now. ’ love Descartes and his explanation of the mind/body duality is perhaps the most misunderstood concept ever.

The Holy Bible by God
Metaphysics by Aristotle
The Critique Of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant

I will be happy to give you a reading list based on your definition of philosophy.

If you provide a dictionary definition, or anyone else’s definition, my reading list might not be very suitable for you.

To get started I would take a course. The Teaching Company offer all sorts of courses on philosphy. I would buy the one called “Great Ideas of Philosophy” by Daniel Robinson. He is an excellant lecturer who enjoys his subject and if you are at all interested, you will too. It covers from the pre-Socratics up to Wittgenstein. With the bibliography you can pick the philosphers you want to read their works.

Welcome Hedgerow

May your stay be most pleasant here. Looking at the other posts here. I could say all have been very helpful and welcoming to your question. Although delving into hilosophical thought can be so vast, you might drown in the stuff or become bored by it.

I think the best way of working your way through philosophy should be is related to the questions you seek.

So the ultimate question is for you could be. Do you want to know how philosophy tackled questions on life and death? Maybe questions on depression or something scientific. What are the most personal questions you wish to know about in your life you feel philosophy can offer.

I dare not say to go straight dive into the heavy stuff yet if starting your journey into philosophy. Look for something general, light and personal to the answers you seek.

Sorry I can’t reccomend some book or info as yet. Although the idea I have mentioned may or may not have crossed your mind.

God speed and good luck

Welcome Hedgerow

May your stay be most pleasant here. Looking at the other posts here. I could say all have been very helpful and welcoming to your question. Although delving into hilosophical thought can be so vast, you might drown in the stuff or become bored by it.

I think the best way of working your way through philosophy should be is related to the questions you seek.

So the ultimate question is for you could be. Do you want to know how philosophy tackled questions on life and death? Maybe questions on depression or something scientific. What are the most personal questions you wish to know about in your life you feel philosophy can offer.

I dare not say to go straight dive into the heavy stuff yet if starting your journey into philosophy. Look for something general, light and personal to the answers you seek.

Sorry I can’t reccomend some book or info as yet. Although the idea I have mentioned may or may not have crossed your mind.

God speed and good luck

No offence to this poster but if you begin your philosophy reading with the Bible you are not really giving yourself a fair chance.

If you need something for beginners (or even if you just have some doubts), ‘What does it all mean?’ by Thomas Nagel. It’s a very short introduction to philosophy and a very good one in my opinion. The ISBN is 0 19 505216 1

After that you will see for yourself if you need to read the bible or not next.

I second that book. It was required for my first philosophy course I ever took. Good intro.

Write on the subject and read it later.

I am (obviously) new here, but is there MUST READ/HAVE book(s) on philosophy for a beginner ?

What is Philosophy? by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Hehehehehehe

Thanx…hermes the thrice great

here is my 6 point path to epistemological success…

start at descarte’s discourse and meditations, then berkleley’s principles of human knowledge, then locke’s essay concerning human understanding, then hume’s enquiry concerning the same, then kant’s prolegomena
after that, you’d be free to roam.
but the path is not to be deviated from. follow it like a religion.

I would like to add some chaos to Monooq’s Beautifully Ordered Stained Glass - Mind And Nature by Greg Bateson OR A small primer on John Dewey’s philosophy

but I am a deviant… :evilfun: :evilfun: :evilfun:

i’ve never read either. but i don’t feel brash saying that if you posion the 6 point path to epistemological success with crap along the way, then you won’t be a success.