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Today I read the intro to 'A Treatise of Human Nature' by David Hume. I'm somewhat new to reading Philosophical texts and I have never read Hume before. The intro is 1936 words long. I took decent notes and made flash cards for some words and ideas in the text that I wanted to later commit to memory. I feel that I could write an accurate and thorough summary of the chapter relative to my overall knowledge in the field. This took me about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Is this an acceptable pace for university study? Should I be deliberately working to move faster?

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    Somewhat borderline as to whether this is a good fit for the site; it's fairly localized and not directly related to philosophy per se... I'll defer to the community for now. – stoicfury Jan 29 '12 at 5:28
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    You should skim. Philosophy isn't mathematics or mathematical physics, it does not deserve a close reading--- there isn't enough idea-density there. – Ron Maimon Apr 15 '12 at 1:01
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    @RonMaimon. Tell that to Einstein. He credited Hume and Mach (but mostly Hume) with helping him come up with the theory of special relativity. Einstein was extraordinarily well read in philosophy. Perhaps skimming is apt for those less serious students of the arts and sciences; but for those who desire to understand our intellectual history, reading is, indeed, a requisite. Ideas tend to have a pretty powerful influence, and, more often than not, come from without. – Jon Jul 18 '13 at 23:46
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    Hello @RonMaimon. You are right in stating that Hume isn't mentioned in Einstein's Relativity: the Special and General Theory, but Jon is essentially rephrasing Einstein's quote, which can be found in a letter of December 14, 1915, to Moritz Schlick (Papers, A, Vol. 8A, Doc. 165): "Also you have correctly seen that this line of thought was of great influence on my efforts and indeed E. Mach and still much more Hume, whose treatise on understanding I studied with eagerness and admiration shortly before finding relativity theory." – user13847 Mar 21 '15 at 0:45
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    Also, I believe that your statement means that all ideas must be processed and understood within rather than merely accepted, otherwise it is social garbage. Is that what you mean? Thanks, @RonMaimon – user13847 Mar 21 '15 at 0:48
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Should I be deliberately working to move faster?

No. You should be deliberately working to move slower.

Nietzsche called himself "a teacher of slow reading" and in many ways philosophy is the art of reading slowly.

Take as long as you need to understand the text. Then, take the time you need to understand it deeper.

Serious texts take a lifetime to read.

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    This, +1. Great philosophy demands to be read lento, with pauses for reflection, review and rumination – Joseph Weissman Jan 29 '12 at 14:50
  • Of course living a Life makes one understand them faster. Philosophers who spend all life locked with books will never understand them. – Rodrigo Jan 27 '15 at 21:01
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This is not the right way you should be approaching it. Reading philosophy is not a race; people have their own paces and that's totally fine. The most important thing is that you understand the text, and to that extent you might consider touching base with professors or knowledgeable peers about some of the concepts you've read about. Hume is not known to be particularly hard to digest, but some concepts require a bit of context and insight into the jargon of the old days. Bottom line: don't worry about your speed, focus on comprehension.

As always, we'll be here to answer any questions you may have, and chat is always available if you want to discuss ideas as well. :)

p.s. your pace is fine. You will find that it will improve over time as you read more, understand different authors writing styles, and understand more concepts in philosophy.

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