So you can end up being persuaded by things he didn't mean. Even with generally decent histories of philosophy — like for instance that of Friedrich Copleston — you really shouldn’t put too much faith in the story the author is telling. just to name off some commonly encountered forms. We and our partners will store and/or access information on your device through the use of cookies and similar technologies, to display personalised ads and content, for ad and content measurement, audience insights and product development. It is a seminal classic of Utilitarian philosophy, but precisely because of his penchant for distinctions, examples, and enumeration, after a while, it can become a bit mind-numbing. After all, philosophy does have a reputation for being difficult, deep, abstract, challenging — particularly by comparison to many other fields of study — and rightly so. Thomas Hobbes almost made the list — and I would have included Leviathan as the selection — but in class after class (since I do teach Hobbes pretty frequently), I find that the very fact that he writes in 17th century English — and, for someone like me, such interesting language — tends to constitute an impediment for the 21st century reader. To start with, I think some of the best philosophy books for beginners comes from the A Very Short Introduction series, published by Oxford University Press.. As the name suggests, each book in this series serves as a quick introduction on a specific topic, packaged as a pocket-sized read. Do that too long, and you’re going to find reading primary texts not only more difficult, but also more frustrating. Yeah, my reading of Neitzsche when I read him on my own was really warped in spots. It’s useful to start by considering common anxieties or preoccupations that many seem to have. In fact, even the fluffiest of philosophy-lite airport kiosk books that more name-drop philosophy than actually discuss it — even that — can become the equivalent of a gateway drug to the harder (and far better) stuff. And given how important his teacher, Socrates, was in Plato’s own philosophical development, why not begin with these dialogues that set out the drama of Socrates’ trial, conviction, imprisonment, and execution? Sticking with the secondary literature is a rather sanitized experience like sitting on the couch, playing a video game, rather than actually getting out and walking in, looking at, smelling and touching, the rich and complex world available to you. The Nietzsche journal I work for posts all the past issues for free online. The site may not work properly if you don't, If you do not update your browser, we suggest you visit, Press J to jump to the feed. He's one of my favorite philosophers but he's so very often misunderstood and I've seen a lot of people fall into depression after misreading him. Find out more about how we use your information in our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Hey, you're completely right. So if you’re the sort that worries about “getting it right” by reading the right texts and thinkers in the right order, setting down the optimal foundation for all of your further study, there’s good news and bad news. There is also a lot of fascinating philosophical argument going on in these, especially in the Phaedo, and you’ll get introduced to some of Plato’s own key ideas. It’s equally all right if the first book of philosophy you encountered was Epictetus’ Enchiridion. Just so you know OP: the idea of relying on someone else to help you interpret Nietzsche is a pretty anti-Nietzschean idea. I'm still relatively new to philosophy in general so any help is appreciated! The same goes for textbooks, or histories, or popular literature. It’s not that I don’t think that other traditions — particularly but not solely Chinese and Indian — don’t offer interesting thought well worth engaging. The Nietzsche journal I work for posts all the past issues for free online. At the same time, I’ll stand by this admittedly somewhat idiosyncratic list, and make a case for it. Does anyone have any recommendations as to which book/where to start? If you were just to read academic journal articles (which unfortunately is what happens at some schools) you could certainly be forgiven for thinking that is what philosophy should look like, the form it should appear in. Ten is a good number for these sorts of lists. Information about your device and internet connection, including your IP address, Browsing and search activity while using Verizon Media websites and apps. It’s iterative — you are going to have to read and reread philosophical works, hopefully getting a bit more (even if that is just seeing better how things fit) with each reading. What we want for this sort of list is precisely the opposite. Since we do have available some good volumes that include several works by the same author, I decided to include those under the rubric of “books” here.

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