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Are there any books, guides, or annotated editions that explain or gloss complex, worthy philosophy writing in English? I prefer works originally written in English to improve my reading comprehension of the hardest writing, rather than contemporary translations which may be easier to read. As a lay person, I find philosophy writing abstract, ambiguous, and dense. Either I'm so confused that I cannot understand, or I misinterpret, a sentence. Such aids are available, but only scarcely, for English literature.

If and as far as possible, this aid should gloss or paraphrase the text, at least every few lines as needed,
right alongside the text for easy cross-reference,
and should advise on and reveal the steps and thought processes behind how to do so.

For example, I tried Thomas Hobbes and David Hume, which I hardly understand.

  • For all of philosophy? This might be a bit too broad, or we could just make it a CW. – stoicfury Jan 24 '15 at 9:32
  • @stoicfury I tried to limit this to philsophy written in English Does this help? Or a CW, if you desire? – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Jan 24 '15 at 23:01
  • What you are looking for are anthologies which provide original readings, usually condensed, and often with annotations and/or introductions to provide background and context. But usually they are for specific subjects, rather than "all of philosophy" or even "writings in English" (which isn't commonly — if ever — used). For example, this one for Philosophy of Mind which I use a lot. English-only writings is still too broad. Pick a single author or relatively narrow idea, such as "perception" or "Abhramic religion". – stoicfury Jan 25 '15 at 0:31
  • You mentioned Hobbes and Hume - what specific areas of their text were you having difficulty understand? We can also help you on a case by case basis in your current readings, although I do think questions this that you pose, when Community-Wiki'ed, can be a useful resource for people. – stoicfury Jan 25 '15 at 0:33
  • Maybe try rephrasing for particular commentaries (instead of any commentary on any work in philosophy)? – James Kingsbery Jan 27 '15 at 2:12

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