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Suggested reading before Kant

Rusty
Posts: 2,109
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7/6/2011 11:48:24 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
To start off, I'm a complete philosophy noob so if I misstate something, that's why.

If someone had an interest in epistemology among other things and wanted to be able to effectively read Kant's first Critique at some point in time as a goal, would there be a significant benefit from studying rationalism and empiricism beforehand? From what I understand, before opening up a third option, doesn't he critique each of these?

Assuming so, if you had to pick one book from each of these subjects, what would they be? I thought maybe Descartes and Hume would be the go to guys, but I'm not really sure. Would that be right? And if so, again, what works of theirs?

Oh, one last thing. Would that alone even be enough to get the most out of Kant? I'm hearing that he's extremely hard to read. If you agree, is that due more to his writing style or the depth of his thinking?

Thanks ahead of time.
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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7/7/2011 12:35:10 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
While reading the "classics" (Hume, Kant, Descartes) is good there is also a lot of value to be had in reading later scholars on them as well. They often illuminate many things that you probably wouldn't catch reading them directly.

Due to the fact that I'm biased towards the rationalist side of the debate (being one myself) I'll just suggest some books from my favored side. I'm sure some other people could give suggested works on empiricism. Anyways, as for rationalism, I think Laurence Bonjour is the go to epistemologist for a contemporary defense of rationalism - he also happens to be one of the best epistemologists working today. A lot of his arguments heavily incorporate Descartes' thoughts, too.

For a very good introduction to epistemology as a whole (plus his own suggestions as to his favored position) read his book Epistemology: Classic Problems and Contemporary Responses (Elements of Philosophy).

http://www.amazon.com...

For an absolute full on defense/onslaught of rationalism read his book In Defense of Pure Reason: A Rationalist Account of A Priori Justification (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy).

http://www.amazon.com...

Both books are highly recommended - especially the first one.

You can also read this:

http://plato.stanford.edu...

Kant is notoriously hard to read because of his writing style. :/
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
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Rusty
Posts: 2,109
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7/7/2011 1:08:37 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/7/2011 12:35:10 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
While reading the "classics" (Hume, Kant, Descartes) is good there is also a lot of value to be had in reading later scholars on them as well. They often illuminate many things that you probably wouldn't catch reading them directly.

Due to the fact that I'm biased towards the rationalist side of the debate (being one myself) I'll just suggest some books from my favored side. I'm sure some other people could give suggested works on empiricism. Anyways, as for rationalism, I think Laurence Bonjour is the go to epistemologist for a contemporary defense of rationalism - he also happens to be one of the best epistemologists working today. A lot of his arguments heavily incorporate Descartes' thoughts, too.

For a very good introduction to epistemology as a whole (plus his own suggestions as to his favored position) read his book Epistemology: Classic Problems and Contemporary Responses (Elements of Philosophy).

http://www.amazon.com...

For an absolute full on defense/onslaught of rationalism read his book In Defense of Pure Reason: A Rationalist Account of A Priori Justification (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy).

http://www.amazon.com...

Both books are highly recommended - especially the first one.

You can also read this:

http://plato.stanford.edu...


Kant is notoriously hard to read because of his writing style. :/

Thanks. I'm probably going to go with the first one to start with for the reasons you gave, plus the price tag difference. Should be good.

Do we have anyone for empiricism? Preferably someone who happens to be sympathetic?
CosmicAlfonzo
Posts: 5,955
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7/7/2011 1:22:09 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Robert Anton Wilson is very knowledgeable when it comes to epistemology. He is also considered a Discordian saint, so you know he's awesome(Hah, epistemology joke). I haven't heard much from him that I didn't agree with in some way.

Seriously though, his talks on epistemology are right on. It is very rare that you find someone who is completely aware of their own epistemology. I'd be willing to wager that there are many scientists even who are naive realists.
Official "High Priest of Secular Affairs and Transient Distributor of Sonic Apple Seeds relating to the Reptilian Division of Paperwork Immoliation" of The FREEDO Bureaucracy, a DDO branch of the Erisian Front, a subdivision of the Discordian Back, a Limb of the Illuminatian Cosmic Utensil Corp
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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7/7/2011 1:26:45 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/7/2011 1:08:37 AM, Denote wrote:

Thanks. I'm probably going to go with the first one to start with for the reasons you gave, plus the price tag difference. Should be good.


If you get the first book make sure to get the latest edition which the one that was re-released in 2009:

http://www.amazon.com...
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
CGBSpender
Posts: 82
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7/7/2011 2:50:58 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
It is also very important to read Hegel. Not only because the two are the greatest system builders in the history of philosophy, but because they wrote in similar circumstances and had a lot to do with each other (Phenomenology of Spirit). That's why Hegel is divided into pre and post Kant. Bertrand Russel's History of Western Philosophy is also a good read just because I don't think you can understand any one philosopher without putting him/her into the context of the historical conversation they're taking part in. Nietzsche is also really good because of how much he hated Kant and to form a fair opinion you need to hear all the sides. I don't really know what of Nietzsche to reccomend... maybe On the Geneology of Morals. Hope this helps.
Rusty
Posts: 2,109
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7/7/2011 3:37:22 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/7/2011 1:26:45 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 7/7/2011 1:08:37 AM, Denote wrote:

Thanks. I'm probably going to go with the first one to start with for the reasons you gave, plus the price tag difference. Should be good.



If you get the first book make sure to get the latest edition which the one that was re-released in 2009:

http://www.amazon.com...

Ordered, looking forward to it. Thanks for the fix.
Rusty
Posts: 2,109
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7/7/2011 3:39:05 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/7/2011 2:50:58 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
It is also very important to read Hegel. Not only because the two are the greatest system builders in the history of philosophy, but because they wrote in similar circumstances and had a lot to do with each other (Phenomenology of Spirit). That's why Hegel is divided into pre and post Kant. Bertrand Russel's History of Western Philosophy is also a good read just because I don't think you can understand any one philosopher without putting him/her into the context of the historical conversation they're taking part in. Nietzsche is also really good because of how much he hated Kant and to form a fair opinion you need to hear all the sides. I don't really know what of Nietzsche to reccomend... maybe On the Geneology of Morals. Hope this helps.

Thanks. I agree about the both sides deal and the historical conversation thing was a good point. I'll check that out.
Rusty
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7/7/2011 3:44:17 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/7/2011 2:50:58 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
It is also very important to read Hegel. Not only because the two are the greatest system builders in the history of philosophy, but because they wrote in similar circumstances and had a lot to do with each other (Phenomenology of Spirit). That's why Hegel is divided into pre and post Kant. Bertrand Russel's History of Western Philosophy is also a good read just because I don't think you can understand any one philosopher without putting him/her into the context of the historical conversation they're taking part in. Nietzsche is also really good because of how much he hated Kant and to form a fair opinion you need to hear all the sides. I don't really know what of Nietzsche to reccomend... maybe On the Geneology of Morals. Hope this helps.

Wow, I just found this. No kidding.

"An action demanded by the instinct of life is proved to be right by the pleasure that accompanies it; yet this nihilist with his Christian dogmatic entrails considered pleasure an objection. What could destroy us more quickly than working, thinking, and feeling without any inner necessity, without any deeply personal choice, without pleasure—as an automaton of "duty"? This is the very recipe for decadence, even for idiocy. Kant became an idiot. And this man was a contemporary of Goethe! This catastrophic spider was considered the German philosopher—he still is! "
OMGJustinBieber
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7/7/2011 5:08:45 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
For the love of God, read something interesting before jumping into texts that philosophy majors avoid like the plague. Just find a specific subject you find interesting and go from there rather than trying to meet some reading list standard of what you or someone else has defined to be "essential philosophy."
Rusty
Posts: 2,109
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7/7/2011 8:02:51 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/7/2011 5:08:45 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
For the love of God, read something interesting before jumping into texts that philosophy majors avoid like the plague. Just find a specific subject you find interesting and go from there rather than trying to meet some reading list standard of what you or someone else has defined to be "essential philosophy."

Whoa, calm down there bud. I was asking for suggestions because the topic of epistemology does interest me. There's absolutely nothing wrong with getting a little direction.
TheSkeptic
Posts: 1,362
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7/7/2011 9:23:10 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
mmm, people have mentioned good sources and people to read on your grand quest towards Kant (both his writing style and substance are difficult, good luck), but if as you say you're a 'complete noob' to philosophy, I'd recommend reading secondary sources as an introduction. In other words, don't read the direct works of Kant or of other great philosophers, as more often than not you're jumping into a complete academic forray of many bizarre concepts and terms that will be completely foreign to you. Approach Kant like how a college curriculum is set up -- start with basic encyclopedia introductions to him before ending up reading his direct works in depth.
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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7/16/2011 6:17:58 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/6/2011 11:48:24 PM, Rusty wrote:
To start off, I'm a complete philosophy noob so if I misstate something, that's why.

If someone had an interest in epistemology among other things and wanted to be able to effectively read Kant's first Critique at some point in time as a goal, would there be a significant benefit from studying rationalism and empiricism beforehand? From what I understand, before opening up a third option, doesn't he critique each of these?

Assuming so, if you had to pick one book from each of these subjects, what would they be? I thought maybe Descartes and Hume would be the go to guys, but I'm not really sure. Would that be right? And if so, again, what works of theirs?

Oh, one last thing. Would that alone even be enough to get the most out of Kant? I'm hearing that he's extremely hard to read. If you agree, is that due more to his writing style or the depth of his thinking?

Thanks ahead of time.

I highly suggest you also find a supplementary guide to First Critique. My personal method was listening to a podcast of an university class on it. It was free.

When it comes to Critique of Reason, I don't see how one could understand it without some outside help. Heck, Kant defines the categorical imperative three different way.s