I know one site: How to become a pure mathematician, there are levels of study on math, book recomendations and advices. I'm searching for something equivalent but for philosophy.

The math site I mentioned have a very important formatation for me, it tells me what I need to learn and where I am at the learning process, there are also commentaries on the cited books. At the moment, I'm only acquainted with universities syllabi.

There's also a great book I've found for math: All the mathematics you missed but need to know for graduate school which have small descriptions of some mathematical fields, it would be nice to have an equivalent one for philosophy.

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    I found the SEP & IEP both useful sources. Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 23:41
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    @MoziburUllah They are. But I can't find a guide with what should be studied first, what should be studied later, etc.
    – Red Banana
    Commented Apr 13, 2013 at 23:53
  • That only comes slowly as you begin to recognise what your own interests are. It best to get a view of the lay of the land first. Remember you can't cover everything in detail. You might want to read Sophies World which is a novelistic treatment of a young girl being introduced to philosophical ideas. I haven't read it myself but I read (at the time) rave reviews of it. Commented Apr 13, 2013 at 23:58
  • @Billy Rubina Why don't you just follow a university syllabus? Commented Oct 11, 2020 at 13:55
  • Does this answer your question? What are some good introductions to philosophy?
    – user64125
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 8:22

2 Answers 2


I would distinguish between

  1. all the things you need to know to do philosophy and

  2. important books and

  3. "State of art"-philosophy if one wants to call it like that (those papers, essays and books that are written in the last 20 years or so, by people who we pay to do philosophy).

  4. To get into philosophical terms etc. I would suggest the book: Philosophical Devices: Proofs, Probabilities, Possibilities and Sets, by David Papineau. I read it and it is awesome and very helpful. Another one that comes up often is Thomas Nagel's What Does It All Mean?: A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy. You would then know the relevant terms, a neat overview what schools there are, etc.

  5. Next step would be to read whatever you like. Let us pretend you are mostly interested in political philosophy. Then I'd go chronological and start by Plato's Republic, Hobbes's Leviathan, Rousseau's Social Contract, Kant's Perpetual Peace, maybe mix some Marx in, and finally Rawls's Theory of Justice. Depending whether you like Rawls or not, you can go into any direction from there (Nozick would be one example). Of course there might be different views on which books one should read. These books are found on the reading list of introductory courses for political philosophy at a lot of universities, though.

(3) If you´re done there, I would suggest, whatever your interest is after reading all this, to read what is written nowadays or in the past 20 years, e.g. in the Journal of Philosophy or some other philosophy Journal.


For mathematics, it is quite easy how advanced you are: which problem can you solve, which problem can't you. (I'm not saying it is possible to make a ranking of best mathematicians though)

For philosophy however, there is no such thing as solving a problem. Therefore, it is not possible to draw a line and say: behind this point, we call you a philosopher. We can of course look at what you know and don't know, but philosophy is also about applying your knowledge in daily life, something very hard to measure.

Furthermore, philosophy is also a lot introspection. A book can tell you how you can learn the art of introspection, but it is not possible to create a guide to introspection. Every human being is different, so you cannot exercise to train introspection, with one right solution.

I therefore consider it impossible to create a reference which tells you what steps to take to get further in philosophy.

However, there are several introductions to philosophy available. As Mozibur Ullah already mentioned in his comment, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http://plato.stanford.edu/) can be helpful, however in my opinion is too big for an introduction.
I would recommend you to read a schoolbook on philosophy, and Wikibooks.

  • Your answer is polite and helpful, but you might want to correct a couple of assertions. If advancement in math could be based on a set of problems which can or can't be solved, then you've just provided a way of ranking mathematicians- so you are saying that it can be done. Furthermore, it is not the case that there are no solutions in philosophy, or that there is no interest in providing any. The project of philosophy is devoted to finding answers to questions.
    – Ryder
    Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 21:17
  • No, I'm not saying a ranking is possible, since you don't have some point-system that says which problem is how many points worth. Of course we're trying to find solutions with philosophy, but most of the time we already know we won't find an answer, so the question is more about the road to a possible solution than about the solution itself. But this is something debatable :-)
    – user2953
    Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 21:21

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