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Philosophical reading?

Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by Freanan, Aug 14, 2006.

  1. Freanan

    Freanan Member

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    Once there was a thread about books in here, but probably it has been deleted because it actually had nothing to do with philosophy.
    I am asking for recommendations of philosophical works now. I would like to get a better education in philosophy, best through the original works of the original thinkers.
    This might also include not strictly philosophical stuff like Freud or Jung, Spengler or Adam Smith...

    So far i have only read some Nietzsche and Plato's Republic, am fighting with Schopenhauers Welt als Wille und Vorstellung right now and have read some essays by Werner Heisenberg about Philosophy and quantum physics.

    Reading reviews on amazon i found hints of many interresting ideas and books but you never know what is the actual centerpiece of the works of a philosopher and what you should read... And there is so much.. what do you recommend - Aristoteles? Wittgenstein? Frege? Quine? ..?

    If you think this thread does not belong here because it only asks for recomendations in philosophy delete it - or open a new subforum for literature.
     
  2. Justin S.

    Justin S. Member

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    This topic should be one of the most important here. Reading is a direct engagement of thought, and is certainly more essential than the crude summaries and "history of philosophy" threads that fill the board.

    I think jumping right into the 19th century is a bit much. Many of the concepts and terminology will not have their proper effect without the knowledge of their past importance and usage.

    A brief overview, say a few major works per "period" is a great way to come to terms with the foundations and concerns of "philosophy".

    I actually think Freud is a great starting point even though this goes against the chronology i just emphasized. Psychoanalysis was missing for far too long, and will be an essential aid in going back a reading through older texts.

    To be simple Ill just list a few thinkers/works that have a great effect on me (this does not entail "agreement").

    Freud (Totem and Taboo, On Dreams)

    Marx (Capital, stay away from the manifesto)

    Plato (Socratic dialogues, Republic [as you mentioned]

    Aristotle (so many, he is essential, even though I am so critical of the Greeks, one must read them- Metaphysics, Logic, Poetics, Ethics)

    Kant (Critique of Judgment/Reason)

    John Stuart Mill (A system of Logic...)

    Wittgenstein (Tractatus, Philosophical Investigations)

    Foucault (Discipline and Punish, Madness and Civilization)

    Dostoevsky (anything [i know, not philosophy])

    Heidegger (What is Metaphysics, Letter on Humanism, Being and Time)
     
  3. speed

    speed Member

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    Thats a pretty good beginners list.

    I'd add:

    Classical:

    Epictetus: Discourses

    Lucretius: De Naturem

    Plutarch: Lives--truly a classic.

    Plotinus: Eeneads

    Xenophon: Apology, Symposium

    Epicurus: there's a few remaining quotes, like Vatican Sayings.

    Luis Navia has a few excellent books on the Classical cynics (antisthenes, Diogenes, Crates, and Socrates--ive always been a big fan of the cynics).


    Non Classical:

    St. Augustine's The Confessions--and a much better book of psychology than Freud, the good Saint confirms there are dark sinful impulses that perhaps only god can understand (read up Mr. Freud--I really dislike Freud).

    Voltaire: Candide a most amusing but absolutely brilliant critique of Liebniz and philosophy/religion in general.

    Rousseau: Social Contract, Emile

    Locke: Two treatises of Government--you want the second one.

    Smith: The Wealth of Nations as well as Moral Sentiments.

    Camus: the rebel; the myth of sisphyus

    Kierkegaard: Either/Or, fear and trembling

    Schopenhauer: the World as Will and Idea

    Dostoevsky's: Notes From the Underground--still the most effective work of existentialism. All of his works are essentially philosophical/moral, and far deeper than one would find in psychology or Freud.

    Gustave Flaubert: Bouvard and Pecuchet--brilliant satire of two middle class copyclerks, who try to understand the world through experiments, etc. And I'd add Madame Bovary as well, because it is the first realist writing, and still is an apt satire of middle class yearnings.

    Joyce: Ulysses, Mr. Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls...

    Beckett: Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable (all three together) and How it is. Perhaps a little Waiting for Godot as well. More existentalism, and Beckett whittled form down to almost a stygian nothingness of one voice.

    And Im sure I'll think of more as time goes by.

    The main thing is, to read alot of the classics Justin S. gave you, and some of these, as they're both readable and important. There's quite a few philosophers one doesnt have to read, as they're writing is atrocious/impossible to get through, no longer too relevant, or can be better understood without reading the actual text. Im thinking of persons such as Kant, Hegel, Hume (ok, not too bad), Spinoza, Descartes, Bergson, Heidegger and Focault, Hobbes, and more.
     
  4. Cythraul

    Cythraul Active Member

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    This is not really a beginner's list but just a bunch of stuff I think you should read at some point:

    Moore - Principia Ethica
    Kant - Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals
    Putnam - Realism With a Human Face, The Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy
    Hume - A Treatise of Human Nature, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
    Quine - Quintessence
     
  5. Freanan

    Freanan Member

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    Thanks for the two long and helpfull replies so far!

    I might add, that as a student of computer science who is interrested very much in math too, maybe logics might be of special interest for me too. So do you or others have special recommendations for works of Gottlob Frege or of Quine? Any other stuff in that direction?
    I found logics by Aristoteles on one of your lists and try that too i think.

    What about C.G. Jung? "Archetypes" is on my wishlist so far. Any reasons to chose something else from him instead? Or not read him at all?

    Edit: I did not see the last post, there is something by Quine in there already - thanks.
     
  6. Cythraul

    Cythraul Active Member

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    If you're interested in logic then Aristotle comes highly recommended, since he IS the father of logic, as they say. It's kind of outdated stuff, but good for getting a basic sense of rudimentary logic and a sense of its history too.

    Quine wrote a number of formal logic texts designed for students of varying levels of experience. I remember one is called Elementary Logic or something like that. That's probably more of an introduction to formal logic. Then there is some more advanced stuff but I don't remember the titles. He also worked quite a bit on philosophy of logic and related subjects. A good book to check out that deals with that stuff is called From a Logical Point of View.

    Once you go beyond the basic propositional and predicate logics then you might want to look into some other logics. Saul Kripke and David Kaplan both worked a lot on modal logic, and I know that Micheal Dummett wrote quite a bit on intuitionist logic.

    As far as Frege goes, I don't really know what to recommend since I've only read an article of his, but not any of his books.
     
  7. derek

    derek Grey Eminence

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    Reading Jung is always interesting, so I'd recommend that.

    William James and the Gifford Lectures are brilliant reading, too. I'm a fan of stoic philosophy and the ironic nature by which Seneca practiced it, so the works of Seneca, also.

    Descartes, for an introduction into much modern philsophy and epistomology.

    John Rawls. His Theory of Justice is a great piece of work.

    Singers practical ethics, Rachels Elements of Moral Philosophy and Warburtons Introductions to Philosophy are all BASIC texts set for undergrads, but interesting departure points, nonetheless.

    Sorry for the jaunted way I've laid this out.
     
  8. speed

    speed Member

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    Rawls and Seneca: nice selection. As i am also a huge fan of stoicism, i recommend Marcus Aurelius' Meditations as well.

    Im glad there's alot of different perspectives on philosophy on this board, allowing a plethora of different selections.

    Frankly, Im surprised no one mentioned Evola, haha.
     
  9. Horus

    Horus and his imaginary friend

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    Most of my philosophy comes from reading religious texts, myths, and alot of books about what people believe about a level of existence above them. It helps me try to understand what forces motivate people to act the way they do on a cosmic scale.
     
  10. derek

    derek Grey Eminence

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    I'd like to add E-Philosopher is a great site for reading scholarly articles and such like - especially those not traditionally covered by a large-narrative university course. I'm afraid it's not updated as much these days as it was a few years ago, however.
     
  11. no country for old wainds

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    I've signed up for a course called "Language - Looking Into the Human Mind" and I'm looking for some useful reading material. Any recommendations? The course is summarised below.

    I've read a bit of Pinker, whose work is at least somewhat related to the topic, but most seem to feel that his work whilst entertaining has a lot of flaws.
     
  12. cryosteel

    cryosteel Member

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  13. Tongue_Ring

    Tongue_Ring New Metal Member

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    in this vein, i'd recommend books by Shakti Gawain (spell?)
     
  14. Horus

    Horus and his imaginary friend

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    I'm in the process of reading Faust Part 2 right now. That is probably, so far, my favorite book of all time. Even though it's hard to understand, everything is described so well that, painting a picture of the story in your head is so easy and it's so hard to put down.
     
  15. Tongue_Ring

    Tongue_Ring New Metal Member

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    it's really that much better than Faust Part 1?
     
  16. Horus

    Horus and his imaginary friend

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    Sorry, I forgot to say that Faust as a whole is the greatest story I've ever written. Part 1 is wierd, because it's an epic. It's one big poem, and that throws people off at times. Part 2 is written in the standard way, but both parts as a whole are just simply amazing.
     
  17. Tongue_Ring

    Tongue_Ring New Metal Member

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    i totally forgot that part 1 is so confusing to people that aren't me:lol:

    but seriously adding to the list
    the writings of Deepak Chopra [spell?]
     
  18. Freanan

    Freanan Member

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    I read both once and found part one much better.
    Part one has a coherent story and an actual topic: The topic that we expect when we want to reas faust, man's urge for knowledge.
    The second part seemed like an incoherent collection of happenings in old greek settings. Maybe i should read it a second time, but the first time it seemed like showing up as many greek characters / myth references as possible..

    EDIT:
    Books that i have tried out so far and my opinion:
    Notes from Underground: Disgusting and no fun to read, but very true. Good book.
    Candide: Was a lot of fun ;)
    Frege: Foundations of Arithmetics: His definition of numbers is kind of fascinating and maked sense. But why did he write such a comparatively large book in such bad style around it? (maybe i'll read it again)
    World as Will and Perception: Interresting metaphysics and aesthetics. Disagree about his view on morals.
     
  19. Dominick_7

    Dominick_7 Member

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    I would agree with Cythral in suggesting Aristotle. Other than that I think one of the greatest minds besides Jesus ("On Jesus" by Douglass Groothius is in philosophy text books in universities), is Thomas Aquinas.

    Summa Theologica and Contra Gentiles are awesome! What he does is lay out a christian theist worldview grounded in objective realism. I don't agree with some of what he says, (Roman Catholic docrinal excesses) but he extrapolates what Aristotle talks about regarding what we know from reason and logic relating to metaphysics, epistemology, God's existence, etc..


    If you can find it somewhere "Epistemology" by Regis is amazing!!


    Two contemporary books which are fantastic are Philosophy of Religion and Christian Apologetics by Norman Geisler. Philosophy is etymologically traced as meaning the love of wisdom or more correctly, the love of truth. If you love truth you'll love these works regarding reason.
     
  20. speed

    speed Member

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    Someone actually read books recommended! Excellent!

    I'd like to say, I actually read Foucault's Madness and Civilization, and loved every well-composed word.
     

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