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Good Introductions to Philosophy?

PoeJoe
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11/29/2009 10:57:37 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
What books on philosophy would you recommend to someone who knows practically nothing on the subject but who is interested? Preferably something not too opinionated, and preferably something not too obscure that it can't be found in the Los Angeles Public Library system (http://www.colapublib.org...).
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Kleptin
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11/29/2009 11:10:15 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
The best possible way to introduce yourself to Philosophy is to form your own opinions and answers to the issues and questions that you deem important and meaningful. Reading the works of others is practically meaningless to your own growth in Philosophy. You either become absorbed in the mindset of one philosopher or become a walking mosaic of scattered, unorganized beliefs.

The only purpose I found to reading the works of others were to debunk them, or to see if my beliefs could be debunked by them.
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
Danielle
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11/29/2009 11:13:33 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Reading the works of others is practically meaningless to your own growth in Philosophy... The only purpose I found to reading the works of others were to debunk them, or to see if my beliefs could be debunked by them.

Sounds like personal growth to me :)
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Kleptin
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11/29/2009 11:25:39 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/29/2009 11:13:33 AM, theLwerd wrote:
Reading the works of others is practically meaningless to your own growth in Philosophy... The only purpose I found to reading the works of others were to debunk them, or to see if my beliefs could be debunked by them.

Sounds like personal growth to me :)

Touche :P
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
Rob1Billion
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11/29/2009 8:41:35 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
I would say without hesitation Plato is where to start. The dialogues changed the way I think about the world forever after I read them. There is very little opinion compared to other works; it is more of just training yourself to question everything.
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MistahKurtz
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11/30/2009 11:43:25 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Check this out;
http://www.ukings.ca...

It's the reading list for my program. It's a really, really comprehensive look at Western philosophy. I suggest you try some of those.
Rob1Billion
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11/30/2009 12:24:37 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Plato is definitely the most important philosopher ever; if philosophy were a book, Plato would be the chapters and other philosophers would be the footnotes. Most other philosophers are basically putting forth opinions and supporting them through logic, much like what we do on this site. Plato is different; he has opinions, but his work is more about opening your mind and setting it up for the study of philosophy. He engages in the dialectic; it's a little awkward to read at first but once you get ahold of it it is truly awesome.

The Republic, as named in the previous post, is good, but the dialogues are easier to read (in my opinion) and are more entry-level. I like the part in the Republic where Socrates names the dog as the "true philosopher", because the dog cannot be fooled with charisma or charm; either it knows you and loves you, or does not know you and barks at you. The first of the Dialogues, the Meno I believe, is where Socrates is outside of the courthouse talking to the guy who is about to go to court; this is where I was introduced to Plato and Socrates. Socrates' style is amazing; he will talk to someone and complement them and tell them about his own stupidity, and then ask them to explain things to him. As they explain, he proves everything they say wrong and leaves them dumbfounded.
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Ragnar_Rahl
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11/30/2009 4:06:37 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Plato is different; he has opinions, but his work is more about destroying your mind

Fix'd.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Danielle
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11/30/2009 4:10:13 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Rob, Plato (Socrates) is definitely a great start which is why I'd probably recommend it as the #1 place to start. However, there are a lot of problems with the dialogs. I personally love Euthyphro (Socrates literally made me LOL!) but the contradictions amongst the rest of the dialog are obvious and plentiful. Plus, there's a reason why logic is preferable in philosophy lol I mean opening your mind is great and all but people say and think a lot of stupid shyt.
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Kleptin
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11/30/2009 4:12:52 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 12:24:37 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:
Plato is definitely the most important philosopher ever; if philosophy were a book, Plato would be the chapters and other philosophers would be the footnotes. Most other philosophers are basically putting forth opinions and supporting them through logic, much like what we do on this site. Plato is different; he has opinions, but his work is more about opening your mind and setting it up for the study of philosophy. He engages in the dialectic; it's a little awkward to read at first but once you get ahold of it it is truly awesome.

The Republic, as named in the previous post, is good, but the dialogues are easier to read (in my opinion) and are more entry-level. I like the part in the Republic where Socrates names the dog as the "true philosopher", because the dog cannot be fooled with charisma or charm; either it knows you and loves you, or does not know you and barks at you. The first of the Dialogues, the Meno I believe, is where Socrates is outside of the courthouse talking to the guy who is about to go to court; this is where I was introduced to Plato and Socrates. Socrates' style is amazing; he will talk to someone and complement them and tell them about his own stupidity, and then ask them to explain things to him. As they explain, he proves everything they say wrong and leaves them dumbfounded.

I don't have a very high view of Socrates. The Socratic method is the best way to generate logical fallacies. A method of inquisition is biased towards the inquisitor and has absolutely no place in Philosophy if we seek to uncover truth. It's good for show, but impractical. Ironic that he believed himself on a quest against sophism when the Socratic method can be Sophism's greatest weapon. Socrates also offered little to no practical knowledge, and stepped on a lot of toes. If you're going to overturn popular belief, you should at least have a practical reason.

If we're talking about philosophers, I think that Confucius would be an example of a philosopher with insight before his time, and a positive impact that resounds globally to this very day. His views of social relationships and personal/cultural enrichment went above and beyond any metaphysical theory that Philosophers wasted their time on.
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
PoeJoe
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11/30/2009 4:13:14 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/29/2009 11:10:15 AM, Kleptin wrote:
The best possible way to introduce yourself to Philosophy is to form your own opinions and answers to the issues and questions that you deem important and meaningful. Reading the works of others is practically meaningless to your own growth in Philosophy. You either become absorbed in the mindset of one philosopher or become a walking mosaic of scattered, unorganized beliefs.

The thing is, I don't know where to start. I don't know the vocabulary. I don't know the logic. Truthfully, I don't even know what 'philosophy' is. And I want not to start with hardcore stuff like Plato.

Anyhoozle, I've put a hold on Philosophy for Dummies, and I'll work from their. The series has been good to me in the past.
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PoeJoe
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11/30/2009 4:14:41 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 4:13:14 PM, PoeJoe wrote:
Anyhoozle, I've put a hold on Philosophy for Dummies, and I'll work from their.

*Anyhoozle, I've put a hold on Philosophy for Dummies, and I'll work from there.
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Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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11/30/2009 4:20:56 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 4:12:52 PM, Kleptin wrote:

If we're talking about philosophers, I think that Confucius would be an example of a philosopher with insight before his time, and a positive impact that resounds globally to this very day. His views of social relationships and personal/cultural enrichment went above and beyond any metaphysical theory that Philosophers wasted their time on.

Wait... you're going to criticize Socrates for fallacies and then talk about Confucius?! Lulz! The Socratic method isn't foul proof by any means, but it was innovative and changed (expanded) philosophy.
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GeoLaureate8
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11/30/2009 4:31:23 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 4:10:13 PM, theLwerd wrote:
Plus, there's a reason why logic is preferable in philosophy lol I mean opening your mind is great and all but people say and think a lot of stupid shyt.

I think that opening our minds to new and intriguing ideas is just as important as logic.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
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"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Rob1Billion
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11/30/2009 10:05:57 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
I don't have a very high view of Socrates.

Blasphemy. Your clearly not feeling well.

The Socratic method is the best way to generate logical fallacies.

Is it not also the best way to expose logical fallacies? I'll give a positive example of the dialectic, you can give a negative one. Let's say that I ask someone what their idea of morality is, and I ask them to give an example of something that is inherently moral. If they say "courage" is inherently moral, I could say "but is not courage evil in certain circumstances? If you are thinking about hurting someone, courage could lead you to the less moral decision".

The dialectic proves here the illogic in maintaining courage as a purely good trait.

A method of inquisition is biased towards the inquisitor and has absolutely no place in Philosophy if we seek to uncover truth.

I would hope both people would participate in a real-world example, nullifying this advantage. No place at all?

It's good for show, but impractical. Ironic that he believed himself on a quest against sophism when the Socratic method can be Sophism's greatest weapon.

I would disagree with impractical...

Socrates also offered little to no practical knowledge, and stepped on a lot of toes. If you're going to overturn popular belief, you should at least have a practical reason.

Stepping on toes is a +. Sure, there was little practical knowledge. If I read Aristotle or Machiavelli I can get some... pointed information, but Socrates gave me a good lesson in logic that I won't forget. I see you didn't find him valuable...
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Rob1Billion
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11/30/2009 10:07:02 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 4:06:37 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Plato is different; he has opinions, but his work is more about destroying your mind

Fix'd.

That's what I meant to say thanx
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
mattrodstrom
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11/30/2009 10:16:35 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 4:12:52 PM, Kleptin wrote:

If we're talking about philosophers, I think that Confucius would be an example of a philosopher with insight before his time, and a positive impact that resounds globally to this very day. His views of social relationships and personal/cultural enrichment went above and beyond any metaphysical theory that Philosophers wasted their time on.

Zhuangzi's butcher is a better way to go for Chinese philosophy. Embrace those heavenly patterns.

Confucius is all about "the rites" which you actually need to come up with philosophical positions yourself to justify.

I know the Analects don't really come up with an reasoned philosophy, but rather an unsupported guide to action.

Though he may have had Philosophical reasons for his ideas these aren't really presented in the analects, The Mencius, with interpretation, kind of provides it though.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Vi_Veri
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11/30/2009 10:35:44 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
You should start with a bit of Logic (you'll need it, it's the most important tool to interpreting everything you will read in philosophy) - after that, you have a defense against conforming to a convincing philosopher : ).

To begin... Read these:

http://www.btinternet.com...

A little taste of some of the major philosophers. Great start.
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GeoLaureate8
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11/30/2009 10:40:11 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 10:35:44 PM, Vi_Veri wrote:
To begin... Read these:

http://www.btinternet.com...

A little taste of some of the major philosophers. Great start.

Very nice.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Rob1Billion
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11/30/2009 10:50:09 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
I don't have a very high view of Socrates. The Socratic method is the best way to generate logical fallacies. A method of inquisition is biased towards the inquisitor and has absolutely no place in Philosophy if we seek to uncover truth. It's good for show, but impractical. Ironic that he believed himself on a quest against sophism when the Socratic method can be Sophism's greatest weapon. Socrates also offered little to no practical knowledge, and stepped on a lot of toes. If you're going to overturn popular belief, you should at least have a practical reason.

Socrates taught me to open my eyes and question everything. I certainly do not support his argument that you must obey the law in every circumstance... But his view on women was right on...
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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11/30/2009 11:44:31 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 4:31:23 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 11/30/2009 4:10:13 PM, theLwerd wrote:
Plus, there's a reason why logic is preferable in philosophy lol I mean opening your mind is great and all but people say and think a lot of stupid shyt.

I think that opening our minds to new and intriguing ideas is just as important as logic.

You are the perfect example of the results of an open mind.

Logic exists to close our minds to things that don't meet its strict standards and this is a good thing.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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11/30/2009 11:47:59 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 11:44:31 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 11/30/2009 4:31:23 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 11/30/2009 4:10:13 PM, theLwerd wrote:
Plus, there's a reason why logic is preferable in philosophy lol I mean opening your mind is great and all but people say and think a lot of stupid shyt.

I think that opening our minds to new and intriguing ideas is just as important as logic.

You are the perfect example of the results of an open mind.

Logic exists to close our minds to things that don't meet its strict standards and this is a good thing.

The new ideas have to actually be there in order for logic to rule them out. Without any ideas to analyze, logic is useless.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
omelet
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11/30/2009 11:48:39 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 11:44:31 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
You are the perfect example of the results of an open mind.

Logic exists to close our minds to things that don't meet its strict standards and this is a good thing.

Now you're just being closed-minded.
;]
TheSkeptic
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11/30/2009 11:53:07 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
If you want to absolutely start fresh with philosophy, then I seriously recommend you go buy those Philosophy for Dummies or such. Yeah yeah, I know that direct texts are much better but for the purpose of being introduced to philosophy in a simple, clear manner such books are the best.

Especially since many philosophers have hard rhetoric to read, like Kant (oh god).
TheSkeptic
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11/30/2009 11:54:34 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 11:53:07 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
If you want to absolutely start fresh with philosophy, then I seriously recommend you go buy those Philosophy for Dummies or such. Yeah yeah, I know that direct texts are much better but for the purpose of being introduced to philosophy in a simple, clear manner such books are the best.

Especially since many philosophers have hard rhetoric to read, like Kant (oh god).

Given the fact that you are probably learning this stuff by yourself. If you took a class and had a teacher guide you along, then using direct texts will not only be feasible but recommended. But since you're doing it by yourself, with no "training" beforehand, beginner books are the way to go.
Danielle
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11/30/2009 11:57:31 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 11:53:07 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
If you want to absolutely start fresh with philosophy, then I seriously recommend you go buy those Philosophy for Dummies or such. Yeah yeah, I know that direct texts are much better but for the purpose of being introduced to philosophy in a simple, clear manner such books are the best.

Especially since many philosophers have hard rhetoric to read, like Kant (oh god).

They might be good for explaining different philosophies and terminology, but they won't help someone come to their own conclusions or properly compare and contrast ideologies. Just because he might know the difference between a rationalist and an empiricist after reading it and can rattle off a few arguments for each doesn't mean he'll then know how to properly understand a particular view or how one came to those conclusions (in depth). So if it's a real education that PoeJoe's looking for then I recommend not becoming yet another pseudo-intellectual on DDO in the area of philosophy ;D But if he just wants to be able to keep up with conversation here, then, yeah, sure.
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