I am not a philosphy student, but I am a philosophy enthusiast who loves and studies philosophy on his own. I completely understand what philosophy books are trying to say, but I dont know how and when should I figure out my own ideas. When am I allowed to give a new philosophical idea and how should I just figure out an idea about a philosophical question/writing?
The core to developing a position of one's own is reading as much as possible. One of the lecturers back in Kent suggested as much as six hours daily, but I consider this as upper end. I'm a fast reader and could do well with way less.
The reading has three effects: Firstly, you become acquainted with historical arguments and ways to argue, so you do not try to come up with arguments long defeated out of pure ignorance. Secondly, you are able to think, talk, and write about various problems much more nuanced as you know the arguments and problems as well as various approaches. And thirdly, you will eventually find yourself agreeing with some positions in general and some arguments in particular, which automatically leads to a position of your own.
Two points to be aware of: Firstly, with great philosophical works, if you read them carefully and try to understand the arguments instead of rejecting them right away, there is an effect that you will find yourself agreeing with whatever you read last. This is not persistent but a thing to keep in mind. Secondly, chances that there is any argument or point you come up with that is absolutely unique and nobody ever having had this position before are practically non-existent. That is something you realise when you read a lot. It is not a bad thing as such, though. You can still come up with an inherently better way of presenting the same position.
As of when starting to make a point of your own: Generally, even with bachelor essays, a perfect grade requires some original input of yours. In the bachelor thesis and masters studies it is expected that the original input goes far beyond the way of presenting. The ability to present the relevant literature and a nuanced argument that includes critical reflection is always the core of any good writing in philosophy studies though.
You are at the right place: This blog has questions and answers referring to all themes in philosophy!
I reommend to browse the tags for a first information. You can choose some subject which interests you most. Then you may choose a few corresponding questions from the blog and write down you own answer. A good answer uses clear terms, formulates precise arguments and focuses on the subject. You will find some help via the „questions“ button - also valid for answers.
As soon as you get some feedback from other users you have entered the philosophical discussion. Now you can test your ideas.
In parallel it is necessary and indispensable to read the primary sources. Which works could be the top ten on you personal reading list?