1. greenarrow
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    greenarrow New Member

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    Philosophy books - where to start?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by greenarrow, Jun 24, 2010.

    Hi all. I want to start reading some philosophy to improve my reasoning skills, but I'm not sure where to begin. Should I try going in chronological order? Or from the easier to the hard (not sure what's easy and what's hard in philosophy)? Or should I find a general introduction to western philosophy textbook and go with that? Thanks
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I would start with a textbook on philosophy, and then select readings based on what you learn from that.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    In my classes we usually read works in a chronological order, starting with Aristotle and/or Plato. I would suggest you start there as well. One of my majors is philosophy, so if you want to know anything or want names of books to start with just let me know.
     
  4. greenarrow
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    greenarrow New Member

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    Yes please. I've read on other forums that starting with Plato and his Five Dialogues is usually best. WHat's your opinion? And yes, if you could give me a general list of authors to read chronologically, that would be great.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Instead of getting a list from us, why not google history of philosophy syllabus?
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Plato is a great place to start. Here is a list of authors and what I think are their important works. I'm probably going to miss some since I'm no authority on philosophy, but this is off the top of my head. The list goes through the 19th century, although I've left out some of the more difficult philosophers (like Hegel). If you want any more suggestions, just let me know.

    Apology and The Republic by Plato
    Nicomachean Ethics and Politics by Aristotle
    Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
    Two Treatises of Government by John Locke
    Discourse on Method by Rene Descartes
    Candide by Voltaire
    The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
    Critique of Reason, Critique of Judgment, and Metaphysics of Morals by Immanuel Kant
    A Treatise of Human Nature and An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume
    Common Sense by Thomas Paine
    The World as Will and Representation by Arthur Schopenhauer
    Either/Or and Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard
     
  7. monarchwing
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    monarchwing New Member

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    For a general introduction, The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant is good. It's not too long and it's definitely readable. It's an older book, so it might be at your local library.

    Happy reading!
    Patty
     
  8. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    This is a good list. I would wish to add 'Beyond Good and Evil' by Nietzsche and the works of Socrates & Arostotle.
     
  9. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    And Lacan's Ecrits, but maybe that's just me...
     
  10. Saffron
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    Overviews/Good reads:

    Sophie's World - Jostein Gaarder

    A History of Western Philosophy - Bertrand Russell

    Confessions of a Philosopher - Bryan Magee

    Some favourites (and fairly easy):

    Any Plato

    Kant - Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals

    Schopenhauer - Essays & Aphorisms

    Hume - Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

    Other favourites (hard):

    Wittgenstein

    Language, Truth and Logic - A J Ayer

    Feel free to message me too as I graduated with a degree in Philosophy last July. :)
     
  11. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Lol, I can't believe I forgot Nietzsche. Thanks for the catch.
     
  12. greenarrow
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    greenarrow New Member

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    Thanks for the list everyone. I think I'm probably gonna start with Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction and then try Plato on for size.
     
  13. Paul
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    Paul New Member

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    Gregory Bateson wrote two very good books which may not qualify as philosophy and are great at opening up new areas of thinking and different thinking, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Mind & Nature.
     
  14. Darabos
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    Darabos New Member

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    The Basic Teachings of the Great Philosophers by SE Frost is a great book. It's specific to ideas and concepts in Western Philosophy but still the best single source for the subject I've ever come across.
     

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