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So you want to read philosophy?

OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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7/8/2012 5:46:53 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
This thread will ideally be where we can compile our information and comment on numerous philosophers' works in a manner that would be helpful to a potential reader. I'd like to use a 1-10 scale to indicate the difficulty of the readings of that philosopher and this can hopefully serve as a helpful guide to readers as to what texts to approach with what expectations and so forth. I'm using 1 as the clearest and 10 as the most confusing/difficult. I'm aware many of these philosophers have numerous works but in my experience their difficulty levels tend to be similar unless otherwise stated.

A few who I've read:

Aristotle: 3
Descartes: 4.5
Habermas: 8.5
Hegel: 10
Hume: 5.5
Kant: 7.5
Mill: 4
Nietzsche: 4*
Plato: 2.5
Schopenhauer: 7.5
Singer: 1
Wittgenstein: 7.5

*Only from "The Nietzsche Reader." I've read a fair amount of Nietzsche but never his brute texts.

The readings are based on denseness of reading and difficulty of concepts handled. If you could add other philosophers who weren't mentioned that would be great.
Wallstreetatheist
Posts: 7,132
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7/8/2012 6:11:29 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/8/2012 5:46:53 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:

Aristotle: 3
Confucius: 1
Descartes: 4.5
Habermas: 8.5
Hegel: 10
Heidegger: 10
Hume: 5.5
Kant: 7.5
Locke: 3
Mill: 4
Nietzsche: 4
Plato: 2.5
Schopenhauer: 7.5
Singer: 1
Wittgenstein: 7.5
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OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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7/8/2012 6:19:45 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/8/2012 6:11:29 PM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
At 7/8/2012 5:46:53 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:

Aristotle: 3
Confucius: 1
Descartes: 4.5
Habermas: 8.5
Hegel: 10
Heidegger: 10
Hume: 5.5
Kant: 8
Locke: 3
Mill: 4
Nietzsche: 4
Nozick: 2
Plato: 2.5
Rawls: 2
Schopenhauer: 8
Singer: 1
Wittgenstein: 8
YYW
Posts: 36,287
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7/8/2012 7:15:05 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/8/2012 5:46:53 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:

Per your list:

Aristotle: 2
Descartes: 3
Habermas: (I am unfamiliar with this philosopher)
Hegel: 6
Hume: 4
Kant: 10
Mill: 3
Nietzsche: 9 (There is more to Nietzsche then meets the eye.)
Plato: 0.5
Schopenhauer: 5 (I am largely under read on Schopenhauer, but based on what little I have read)
Singer: 0.5
Wittgenstein: 8

And WSA's additions:

Confucius: 2 (although I am under read in this area as well)
Heidegger: 5
Locke: 2.5

A Survey of My Readings into Phil of Mind (for a class I took a few years ago):

Clark/Chalmers: 2.5 (albeit they were among the most interesting)
Husserl: 5
Lebniz: 8.5
H. Putnam: 7
JJC Smart: 6
Searle: 4 (Syllabus only included a few articles)

The readings are based on denseness of reading and difficulty of concepts handled. If you could add other philosophers who weren't mentioned that would be great.

Does that apply to political philosophy as well?
Tsar of DDO
OMGJustinBieber
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7/8/2012 7:21:17 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Hegel: 6

I dare you to open Phenomenology of Spirit.

You can throw in who you like. I won't be like "oh, take him/her off the list."
YYW
Posts: 36,287
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7/8/2012 8:01:51 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/8/2012 7:21:17 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
Hegel: 6

I dare you to open Phenomenology of Spirit.

You can throw in who you like. I won't be like "oh, take him/her off the list."

At some point, when I have read everything else in the library of congress's section on philosophy, I might occasion myself to crack another of Hegel's volumes. Truth be told, I have read more ON Hegel then OF Hegel (probably because I find contradictory secondary sources more entertaining then esoteric primary ones, in Hegel's case) but I don't find what I have read (primary or secondary) to be especially difficult. Phenomenology in sum is, for me, with the exception of Heidegger and a few others, not a subject I am especially interested in.

Of political philosophers (remember, this was a bulk of my undergraduate education):

The Giants of the Religious Lot, whose actions had remarkable political implications:
Augustine: 5
Aquinas: 5
Martin Luther: 5
John Calvin: 7

The Others:
Cicero: 4
Malthus: 3
Machiavelli: 7 (not based solely on his writings, rating includes inflated rating due to difficulty of understanding full significance and depth of reach)
Bacon: 2
Hobbes: 3
Mark/Engles: 4
Adam Smith: 5
Spinoza: 6 (although he could be cast in the religious lot fairly)
Montesquieu: 5
Proudhon: 5
Rousseau: 4
Burke: 2
Rawls: 3
Nozick: 2
Foucault: 7
Tsar of DDO
socialpinko
Posts: 10,458
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7/8/2012 8:11:32 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Confucius: 1
Singer: 1
Searle: 2
Plato: 2
Descartes: 2
Mill: 2
Nozick: 2
Aristotle: 3
Nietzsche: 3
Aquinas: 4
Proudhon: 4
Rawls: 4
Hume: 5
Kant: 6
Locke: 6
Wittgenstein: 8
Habermas: 9
Hegel: 10

In order of difficulty
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DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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7/8/2012 9:10:39 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I don't think it was wise of me to try and read Neitzsche as my fist legit philosopher. I read a Philosophy for Dummies book to get a better introduction of basic ideas (I hated the book because the author basically told you what to believe--I disagree basically 100% with him) but nothing really long term/more than a page or two before of straight up philosophy. I've read Sartre, Camus, Beckett, Hesse, even the Thus Spake Zarathustra Neitzsche, etc.

But I digress. I've started reading BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL. Now, it seemed to me that Neitzsche is basically just giving a big OMGUS to every other philosopher of his time--or am I wrong?
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
YYW
Posts: 36,287
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7/9/2012 2:28:09 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/9/2012 12:40:34 AM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
YYW, what is your reasoning behing lowering Heidegger to a 5?

Kant is my 10, and is incredibly more challenging then Heidegger. To cite one typical, but significant example, Critique of Pure Reason is one of the densest reads I have ever undertaken -which I don't even pretend to understand on my own. Given, I have read and am familiar with a host of secondary sources on it and other writings of Kant, but it is by no means a read less challenging then anything Heidegger ever wrote. In that regard, it isn't that Heidegger isn't challenging, only that Kan't is substantially more so.
Tsar of DDO
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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7/9/2012 2:32:29 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I highly suggest that anyone who wants to read something like Kant should do so either after or while also reading an introductory text on the matter. Another option is free audio-classes on the critique of reason.

If I had tried to take on Kant's book without reference, I'd never have understood it fully.

The man makes up terms like "categorical imperative" and proceeds to define it three different ways IN THE SAME F*CKING BOOK!
Noumena
Posts: 6,047
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8/19/2013 11:03:11 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/8/2012 7:26:01 PM, CiRrK wrote:
Exoteric Leo Strauss: 3
Esoteric Leo Strauss: 8

So many lulz

Karl Popper: 2
Thomas Aquinas: 3 (On Divine Nature) 6 (On Human Nature)
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: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
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8/20/2013 3:34:13 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/9/2012 2:28:09 AM, YYW wrote:
Kant is my 10, and is incredibly more challenging then Heidegger. To cite one typical, but significant example, Critique of Pure Reason is one of the densest reads I have ever undertaken -which I don't even pretend to understand on my own. Given, I have read and am familiar with a host of secondary sources on it and other writings of Kant, but it is by no means a read less challenging then anything Heidegger ever wrote. In that regard, it isn't that Heidegger isn't challenging, only that Kan't is substantially more so.

Agreed, I think Kant is absolutely vile to read. Whoever mentioned Habermas was onto something as well; A Theory of Communicative Action borders on unreadable. Which is a shame, because it has some nice ideas buried under the absolutely dreadfully written jargon and lifeless droning.
1Devilsadvocate
Posts: 1,518
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8/20/2013 4:22:40 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Can anyone rate:
Thomas Nagel
Bertrand Russell
Saul Kripke
Anthony Flew
Richard Swinburne
Alvin plantinga
WLC
I cannot write in English, because of the treacherous spelling. When I am reading, I only hear it and am unable to remember what the written word looks like."
"Albert Einstein

http://www.twainquotes.com... , http://thewritecorner.wordpress.com... , http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com...
Raisor
Posts: 4,460
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8/20/2013 6:50:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/20/2013 4:22:40 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Can anyone rate:
Thomas Nagel
Bertrand Russell
Saul Kripke
Anthony Flew
Richard Swinburne
Alvin plantinga
WLC

Ive only read Russell's more popular stuff (e.g. Why I am Not a Christian, History of Western Philosophy), but I will chime in:

Russell: 3

I will also add:

Foucault: 4
Buadrillard: 7
Sartre: 4
de Beauvoir:4
Camus:3.5
Spinoza:7.5
Marx: 7
Rorty: 7
Hume: 3

My Spinoza rating might be higher than other's ratings because I took his "geometric method" pretty seriously when reading Ethics.

Oh, and one more...

Ayn Rand: 0.1
MilkyChocolate
Posts: 3
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8/21/2013 2:48:22 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/20/2013 6:50:44 PM, Raisor wrote:
At 8/20/2013 4:22:40 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Can anyone rate:
Thomas Nagel
Bertrand Russell
Saul Kripke
Anthony Flew
Richard Swinburne
Alvin plantinga
WLC

Ive only read Russell's more popular stuff (e.g. Why I am Not a Christian, History of Western Philosophy), but I will chime in:

Russell: 3

I will also add:

Foucault: 4
Buadrillard: 7
Sartre: 4
de Beauvoir:4
Camus:3.5
Spinoza:7.5
Marx: 7
Rorty: 7
Hume: 3

My Spinoza rating might be higher than other's ratings because I took his "geometric method" pretty seriously when reading Ethics.

Oh, and one more...

Ayn Rand: 0.1

Lol'd @ the Ayn Rand remark. I couldn't bear to read the rest of "We The Living", it was just dreadful.
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
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8/21/2013 4:04:33 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/20/2013 6:50:44 PM, Raisor wrote:
Ayn Rand: 0.1

Neither easy to read nor a philosopher.
AnDoctuir
Posts: 11,060
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11/15/2013 7:58:16 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I tried reading Kant's Critique of Pure Reason like a year ago, threw it down after about 10 pages and haven't read anything on philosophy since.
AnDoctuir
Posts: 11,060
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11/15/2013 8:01:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Took it as a suggestion from Fool's DDO page too, thinking I might better understand what the f*ck her was talking about lol
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
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11/15/2013 8:36:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/20/2013 6:50:44 PM, Raisor wrote:
At 8/20/2013 4:22:40 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Can anyone rate:
Thomas Nagel
Bertrand Russell
Saul Kripke
Anthony Flew
Richard Swinburne
Alvin plantinga
WLC

Ive only read Russell's more popular stuff (e.g. Why I am Not a Christian, History of Western Philosophy), but I will chime in:

Russell: 3

I will also add:

Foucault: 4
Buadrillard: 7
Sartre: 4
de Beauvoir:4
Camus:3.5
Spinoza:7.5
Marx: 7
Rorty: 7
Hume: 3

My Spinoza rating might be higher than other's ratings because I took his "geometric method" pretty seriously when reading Ethics.

Oh, and one more...

Ayn Rand: 0.1

In my experience, those who deem Objectivism as philosophically vacuous seldom demonstrate comprehension of its tenets. Typically these people speak of a philosophy by and for subjective brutes; a breed of mindless and heartless anti-humans who endorse and hold an almost autistic set of values. Rarely do I see protest that reflects the actual philosophy.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
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11/15/2013 8:38:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/21/2013 4:04:33 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 8/20/2013 6:50:44 PM, Raisor wrote:
Ayn Rand: 0.1

Neither easy to read nor a philosopher.

If Objectivism isn't a philosophy, then what is it?
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
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11/15/2013 8:42:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/15/2013 8:38:18 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 8/21/2013 4:04:33 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 8/20/2013 6:50:44 PM, Raisor wrote:
Ayn Rand: 0.1

Neither easy to read nor a philosopher.

If Objectivism isn't a philosophy, then what is it?

Intellectual and moral incompetence.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
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11/15/2013 8:48:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/15/2013 8:42:55 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 11/15/2013 8:38:18 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 8/21/2013 4:04:33 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 8/20/2013 6:50:44 PM, Raisor wrote:
Ayn Rand: 0.1

Neither easy to read nor a philosopher.

If Objectivism isn't a philosophy, then what is it?

Intellectual and moral incompetence.

Incompetent in what capacity? I mean, it addresses the issues that any philosophy would. To designate Objectivist as a philosophy doesn't mean you concede its legitimacy.
Poetaster
Posts: 587
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11/15/2013 8:57:12 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/15/2013 8:48:53 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 11/15/2013 8:42:55 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 11/15/2013 8:38:18 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
If Objectivism isn't a philosophy, then what is it?

Intellectual and moral incompetence.

Incompetent in what capacity?

Clearly he means in its intellectual and moral capacities.
"The book you are looking for hasn't been written yet. What you are looking for you are going to have to find yourself, it's not going to be in a book..." -Sidewalker
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
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11/15/2013 8:58:14 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/15/2013 8:42:55 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 11/15/2013 8:38:18 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 8/21/2013 4:04:33 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 8/20/2013 6:50:44 PM, Raisor wrote:
Ayn Rand: 0.1

Neither easy to read nor a philosopher.

If Objectivism isn't a philosophy, then what is it?

Intellectual and moral incompetence.

You regard Objectivism as wrong and depraved for its answer to philosophical questions. It is the antithesis of numerous philosophies, and thus on the same footing. You're being dishonest and you know it. Now, own up to your unreasonable assertion.