I want to read philosophical texts, however I have not done so because I am daunted by the prospect of it. I guess this stems from the nature of ideas, that is they are usually in dialogue with other ideas that have preceded them. Ideas don't exist in vacuums, given this we must be acquainted with what has come before in order to make sense of what is being said in any given text. This is like falling into a rabbit hole; most ideas are connected, so where does one actually stop? The descent is seemingly infinite, given this where should one start reading?
A good reading of a philosophical text to me would require you to identifying, analyse and evaluate all the arguments being expounded upon. But this is made difficult for two reason:
- What I have said about ideas being referential
- The jargon: most philosophical text use baffling jargon, which adds another hurdle in comprehending a text
In essence I feel that you need to versed in the culture of philosophical ideas in order to fully understand them. Philosophy is challenging, I've accepted that, but how do I tackle the challenge? I'm particularly interested in the philosophers of the Enlightenment period.
So my questions are:
- What are the prerequisites to reading the progenitors of enlightenment era philosophy?
- What texts, ideas, arguments must I be familiar with before I can grapple with the ideas these philosophers present?
- Where is a good place to start?