I'm a high school student with some basic knowledge of philosophy by far (I've taken an Intro to Philosophy course online, read Plato's Republic, some Camus, some Nietzsche and plenty of Marx), but given the many fields of philosophy I am not entirely sure how to attain a deeper understanding of each branch of philosophy in an organized fashion. Many people tell me to wait until college, but my personal inclinations prevent me from doing so.

Advice, please?



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    PS if you do a search here you can find where people have made requests for references: introduction to philosophy, history of philosophy, reference requests.
    – Gordon
    Nov 24, 2019 at 6:50
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    Whatever philosopher or philosophical period you are interested in, try also to study the History of that period too. For instance, what was going on in Europe when German philosopher X was writing? Try to study the history of the period the philosopher was writing in. Almost everything you read now you will probably end up revising later, but no matter, continue to pursue your interests and read all the history you can (eg Ancient Greece, Europe Since 1500 etc , whatever applies).
    – Gordon
    Nov 24, 2019 at 7:00
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    Possible duplicate of Best way to start philosophy?
    – Conifold
    Nov 24, 2019 at 9:51

2 Answers 2


One size doesn't fit all; everyone has their own learning style.

However, my personal suggestion is to just dive in and enjoy the ride. There's so much to explore!

Read some books and articles, watch some videos. When something catches your attention, take a detour and investigate more fully.

You mentioned Camus and Karl Marx. I discovered Camus just recently and am intrigued by some of his ideas.

If you have an interest in Marx, then I suspect you may have an interest in political philosophy.

Work hard to keep an open mind and be warned that there's plenty of propaganda in the philosophical arena. I'm not saying Marx was a propagandist himself; I don't know. But if you've studied capitalism and/or socialism, you know how deep the BS is.

Another suggestion: EXPERIENCE.

The maxim experience is the best teacher is spot on. If you're a high school student living in the same city where you were born, you're probably going to have a hard time seeing things from other people's perspectives. When you read about exploited workers or Afghan refugees, you may not "get it."

One of the things that amazes me about philosophy is the fact that so many armchair philosophers are so divorced from reality. They may be experts on Plato, yet they don't seem to have a clue about the world we live in today.

One final suggestion: WRITE.

If writing isn't your thing, so be it. But writing articles, essays and even books is a great way to focus your mind and channel your thoughts. I'm even thinking of writing an Introduction to Philosophy. I started studying it semi-seriously just a year or two ago and am still a grasshopper. On the other hand, I've been blessed with some very diverse - and sometimes strange - experiences.

I look forward to reading the introductions other philosophers have written. I'm intrigued by the differences between them that I would expect to see.

  • Nice answer — Balanced yet passionate. I wonder though... Do you want a "not" in your last sentence? Nov 25, 2019 at 2:51
  • I would expect introductions to philosophy to be very different - and I can't wait to find out what those differences are. It sounds like you've already read some of them and discovered they all come out of the same mold. I guess that wouldn't surprise me, either. Nov 25, 2019 at 2:59
  • I guess we agree...from opposite ends! It's not that I have discovered "same mold" so much as differences so wide it's hard to envisage Nov 25, 2019 at 12:28
  • Oh, I understand. Nov 25, 2019 at 13:25

Diving into philosophy can be overwhelming. A good place to start is by watching youtube videos (like PBS crashcourse is cool, or philosophize this podcast) and watch debates. You do have to be cautious watching videos, as I have found that some youtubers may mis-represent a person or idea without knowing it. Religious debates can seem dry at first, but when you begin to understand how they are building their philosophical foundation, you may find yourself being drawn in.

People are telling you to wait until college because college text books are reputable sources, and teachers will straighten you out if your take on a philosophy is off.

I second everything David blomstrom said above

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