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20

Depends on your interests, on what you're already familiar with, what style you like to read. I'd say that unless you have a specific interest or know basics then starting with a general introduction is just fine. There are multiple. Some examples are: Blackburn's Think, Russell's The Problems of Philosophy, or Nagel's What does it all mean?. The latter two ...


7

Whether it's useful to start with a paraphrase or the original text of historical philosophical works depends entirely, I am sorry to say, on your goals and your background. More helpfully, however: if you are a relative newcomer to Philosophy or to an area or period of Philosophy, it is usually preferable to start with an overview. Philosophers generally ...


6

Assumption 1 is almost impossible to guarantee. I fell into that trap when I first got started on Nietzsche. Your best bet, short of investing in reading the original, is making sure that you examine several (as independent from each other as possible) sources on the same topic/philosopher. The originals are usually cheaper than the modern guides to them, ...


6

A few tips: Avoid encyclopedia entries (SEP/IEP) at this stage. They are usually pretty good, but mostly aimed at those with some familiarity of the subject matter. Check them out after you've done some reading. Avoid Wikipedia. It's completely unreliable when it comes to philosophy (with some exceptions of course, but it would be hard for you to tell). ...


5

The OP proposal is similar in spirit to the one in Farkas's paper Belief May Not Be a Necessary Condition for Knowledge. His primary example is Otto, a guy with severe memory loss, who keeps all important information in a notebook which he carries with him at all times, and which "extends" his mind: "There are parts of knowledge that are too tedious to ...


5

I don't think that reading a more recent rewrite is going to be helpful, or is even necessarily a good idea. If the paraphrase is simpler, then that means that either they are missing some details, or they are taking ten words when one will do. Furthermore, what you are reading is not what the original philosopher wrote, it is what someone else thought they ...


5

I strongly suggest Stephen Toulmin's Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity. He presents philosophy, politics, society, and the conflicts which [he claims] powerfully drove Enlightenment thinkers to think Enlightenment things. He explains the "Quest for Certainty" (also known as the "Cartesian anxiety") as a reaction to the incredible certainty of the ...


4

For a relatively short introduction, I'd recommend Heidegger: A Very Short Introduction. And for a longer, but relatively easy commentary on Being and Time, I'd recommend Hubert Dreyfus's Being-in-the-World: A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time, Division I. I wouldn't recommend reading Being and Time itself to beginners. Beside using a difficult ...


4

What is the very-most basic way to study philosophy at the beginning of the twenty-first century? This assumes that you are on your own and not a high school or college student somewhere. Go to amazon.com and review the Introducing Series books, e.g.: Introducing Philosophy, plus many other titles in the series. These are quick-read cartoon books that will ...


4

In my opinion, the best way to self study Plato could be: To start with a short Plato biography: When did he live, what are the characteristics of his time? Why did he travel to South Italy, how is his relation to Sokrates and the school of Pythagoras? How is the relation between Aristotle and Plato? I would focus on the facts, less on the comments ...


4

It depends very much on how deeply you wish to delve into the works of a particular philosopher. Many general concepts translate well, and you can learn a lot using only translated works in your native tongue. However, the devil is in the details. Many of the best philosophers pushed the boundaries of their language, and when one does so, it becomes ...


4

▻ TEXTS THAT CAN TAKEN WITHOUT PREPARATION OR CONTEXT Some texts are virtually stand alone. For instance you can read Plato's Republic and gain a lot from it without knowing whom he was answering or what were the influences on his thought at that stage. A fuller context would illuminate but is not necessary to make pretty good sense of the text and to be ...


4

Will Durant's "The Story of Philosophy" paves a great historical path through philosophy and does a very nice job of entertaining various concepts and then criticizing those same concepts in the later part of each chapter. One thing I loved about the book is that once I had a nice understanding of the course of philosophical history, I could then "zoom in" ...


4

According to Wikipedia Ivan Illich opposed "institutionalized education" or "compulsory mass education", but he favored "self-directed education, supported by intentional social relations, in fluid informal arrangements". It may be a misrepresentation of his position to simply say he was "so opposed to schools" unless one clarifies that what he was opposed ...


3

A paraphrase can be helpful, but don't assume it's correct. Any commentary on philosophy is unavoidably a philosophical work itself, with its own perspective. This can often be useful (it might give you insight you would never have gained on your own), but it should never be taken as definitive. Philosophers can seem very different in different eras (or ...


3

This borders around the idea of the "Chinese Room Thought Experiment". If you're not familiar with this experiment the following video and quote will be very helpful. Searle's thought experiment begins with this hypothetical premise: suppose that artificial intelligence research has succeeded in constructing a computer that behaves as if it understands ...


3

The best advice on how to get better at reading a language (across different disciplines, and across different periods in the history of that language) is simply to read more of the language. If I understand OP's question correctly he is asking how, as a native French speaker, say, to get a grasp on the English of someone like David Hume, who while he ...


3

For one answer, consider that you wrote all of that without providing a definition of "chunk." How can I algorithmically process your question to generate an answer without a clear definition of "chunk?" For a second answer, consider thoughts of love. People say "When you're in love, you'll know it." Any attempt to think about love from that mindset ...


3

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy are great, free resources that you may find helpful. They're clear and concise, and you can look at the sources listed for further reading if you've found something that interests you.


3

I'll weigh in just to offer a counterpoint. I mentioned in a comment above why I find starting from secondary sources unsatisfying. They are almost uniformly skewed if not simply wrong, and you have no way of sorting the good ones from the bad ones or understanding what type of intellectual position-taking is motivating a reading if you haven't read the ...


3

Philosophize This! podcast is a great introduction to the subject. Plus, you can listen to it while you are driving, working out, or doing any other monotonous task. Find a friend to listen to it with you and you could discuss the episodes! He has over 100 half n hour episodes, geared toward a beginner(without all the jargon and nuance) but definitively ...


2

As with most things in philosophy, I would suggest starting with the Wikipedia article and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on the topic - not as a replacement for reading the text, but more to get a sense for an overview of a text and the context in which it was written. In many texts today, you will often see front-matter or appendixes that ...


2

I think this is a good working assumption; but as one of the other posters have suggested one ought to get a good overview of the subject before deciding and finding what kind of philosophy or philosophers you like. I find the IEP give good summaries of philosophical subjects at a good level; and they are fair and objective. Also Philosophy without gaps is ...


2

The posted answers provide some valuable guidance. On a more practical note, I would suggest that you have a look at the Oxford University Press Very Short Introduction series. There are almost a hundred books in their philosophy series. These include books on almost all of the major philosophers, schools, and subjects. Here is a link to their philosophy ...


2

Read slowly. While understanding texts like this will become easier with practice, the is no recipe to »easily understand works […] complicated in language,« no more than there is a simple recipe to easily understand, say, mathematical proofs. So instead of a recipe, let me give you some guidelines: Details While the text might seem somwhat poetical, that ...


2

Critical thinking is as much about psychology as it is about logic. We are constantly tempted to overestimate our cognitive powers and underestimate our capacity for error. Overcoming this requires constant vigilance and self-examination. For example, when we believe something or have an idea, our first thought is often to look for ways to confirm that it ...


2

I can think of at least three relevant ways that "famous philosophers" write that wind up being skippable in a general overview of philosophy. (I suggest the phrase "famous philosophers", because a hidden premise in the question of asking why we skip parts of Kant is that it's somehow less problematic that we aren't read reams of Wolff, Baumgarten, and ...


2

Not all philosophy is equally impenetrable. Modern academic philosophy is very hard to read because it is entirely aimed at a graduate+ level academic audience. In contrast, classic philosophy was often aimed at a general(ish) audience. It can still be difficult, depending on the lucidity of the writer, and how different their cultural context was, but it ...


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