Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#41  Postby Comte de St.-Germain » Jul 17, 2010 5:21 pm

Krull wrote:Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist by Walter Kaufmann is a pretty good introduction (to Nietzsche, obviously). R.J. Hollingdale's biography is pretty good too. Both of these suffer from trying to "rescue" the big N, whose reputation wasn't very flattering at that point. However I belive his thought needs to be put into some kind of context wrt his life and times, and Kaufmann/Hollingdale happen to write very well.


Hollingdale is a dubious scholar - especially when it comes to biographical aspects -- consider him on syphilis, where he seems concerned with depicting Nietzsche as some playboy interested in making subtle allusions to the reader about his sex life.. I'm not a big fan of Kaufmann's book because it is as you said mainly about rescuing Nietzsche, not about providing a mature unbiased understanding. Kaufmann certainly projects his own ideas unto Nietzsche.
I remember the Michael Tanner introduction being shit, but not why. There have been so many introductions now I'm unable to keep up with all the different perspectives and their errors as they are published. Still, can't harm to read them all and read through the lines, but in that case, one might as well read Nietzsche - birth of tragedy isn't bad.

However, I wouldn't discourage people from reading wikipedia a short summary of Nietzsche's works, and picking out which one sounds more interesting and take off from there.

ChildInAZoo wrote:Good grief! This thread is entirely too Nietzsche centred. I did three philosophy degrees without having to read any Nietzsche. He is far from the end-all and be-all of philosophy. Far, far from it.


Few philosophy degrees require you to read Nietzsche. That said, rejecting the idea that it's the 'end-all and be-all' in philosophy when it has not been suggested by anyone here reeks of weasely nonsense. In other words, I don't doubt your three degrees, but -- as always -- what values they instil in a person. :lol:
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#42  Postby Astreja » Jul 18, 2010 3:51 am

shh wrote: Kant is probably the most important imo, but I think any beginner going straight to Kant will probably just quit.


I haven't so much quit as put Kant on the back burner until I've got a stronger grasp of basics. I do have a copy of Critique of Pure Reason for eventual consumption.

I now have a copy of Think and am wending my way through it. So far, so good.
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#43  Postby The Doctor » Jul 19, 2010 4:32 pm

I'd say The History of Western Philosophy or The Problems of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell would be useful.
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#44  Postby ChildInAZoo » Jul 19, 2010 9:06 pm

Comte de St.-Germain wrote:Few philosophy degrees require you to read Nietzsche. That said, rejecting the idea that it's the 'end-all and be-all' in philosophy when it has not been suggested by anyone here reeks of weasely nonsense. In other words, I don't doubt your three degrees, but -- as always -- what values they instil in a person. :lol:

All I'm saying is that Nietzche doesn't really fit into the OP request for good primers or essential reading, despite taking up so much of the discussion here.
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#45  Postby Comte de St.-Germain » Jul 20, 2010 9:05 am

ChildInAZoo wrote:
Comte de St.-Germain wrote:Few philosophy degrees require you to read Nietzsche. That said, rejecting the idea that it's the 'end-all and be-all' in philosophy when it has not been suggested by anyone here reeks of weasely nonsense. In other words, I don't doubt your three degrees, but -- as always -- what values they instil in a person. :lol:

All I'm saying is that Nietzche doesn't really fit into the OP request for good primers or essential reading, despite taking up so much of the discussion here.


And you've done it twice now, without establishing what you mean by it. If you feel that Nietzsche is uninteresting as a primer or essential reading, why not indicate it here, with examples of what might be a good primer in contrast? That would actually be educative, rather than merely informative of your opinion - which is rather trivial I'm sure you'll agree.
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#46  Postby ChildInAZoo » Jul 20, 2010 11:32 am

I would say that many of the primers already mentioned here are perfectly acceptable, even though they neglect Nietzsche. However, apparently it is opinion to claim that Nietzsche is inessential but not opinion to claim that he is essential.
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#47  Postby Comte de St.-Germain » Jul 20, 2010 12:13 pm

ChildInAZoo wrote:I would say that many of the primers already mentioned here are perfectly acceptable, even though they neglect Nietzsche. However, apparently it is opinion to claim that Nietzsche is inessential but not opinion to claim that he is essential.


You're claiming you have three degrees in philosophy, and here you are resorting to "You didn't do it either!"? Brilliant! I'm sure people looking to essential reading and good primers will consider your brilliant contribution as testimony to your earlier advice.. :lol:
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#48  Postby Teuton » Jul 20, 2010 2:40 pm

I recommend the following tome:

* Honderich, Ted, ed. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#49  Postby Teuton » Jul 20, 2010 2:47 pm

And here's the shortest introduction to philosophy, written by a famous contemporary philosopher:

* Nagel, Thomas. What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#50  Postby Preno » Jul 21, 2010 12:02 pm

Just pick up a book on a topic or position that you find interesting and start from there.
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#51  Postby Mitts » Aug 17, 2010 5:25 pm

Preno wrote:Just pick up a book on a topic or position that you find interesting and start from there.




I agree. I'm not to good at expressing myself in this area, but am really interested in the subject.

I would recommend 'Why I am not a christian and other essays' by Bertrand Russell, 'The Outsider' by Albert Camus, 'Nausea' by Jean Paul Satre and something really easy to read and a good introduction: 'The Philosophy Files' and 'The Outer Limits' by Stephen Law.

Hope this helps.

:cheers:
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#52  Postby Comte de St.-Germain » Oct 12, 2010 10:41 pm

Also, Hegel's The Phenomenology of Spirit is as good a place as any to start.. :)
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#53  Postby Matthew Shute » Oct 14, 2010 11:51 am

Comte de St.-Germain wrote:Also, Hegel's The Phenomenology of Spirit is as good a place as any to start.. :)


I searched Gutenberg.org for an English translation: no luck. For anyone fluent in German, though, you can download the book free.

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/6698
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#54  Postby Krull » Oct 14, 2010 12:30 pm

Matthew Shute wrote:I searched Gutenberg.org for an English translation: no luck. For anyone fluent in German, though, you can download the book free.

I found a few copies on Scribd. You can find anything there.
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#55  Postby Astreja » Oct 16, 2010 7:34 am

Just wanted to say thanks again for all the links; I'm a bit behind on my reading but gradually making progress.
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#56  Postby Comte de St.-Germain » Oct 16, 2010 4:14 pm

Matthew Shute wrote:
Comte de St.-Germain wrote:Also, Hegel's The Phenomenology of Spirit is as good a place as any to start.. :)


I searched Gutenberg.org for an English translation: no luck. For anyone fluent in German, though, you can download the book free.

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/6698


Err.. I was joking.. What kind of bastard would recommend starting with Hegel, and at that, his most impenetrable work?!
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#57  Postby Mr.Samsa » Oct 16, 2010 11:55 pm

Comte de St.-Germain wrote:Err.. I was joking.. What kind of bastard would recommend starting with Hegel, and at that, his most impenetrable work?!


I'm glad you said that. I was starting to feel inadequate thinking, "Fuck, I struggled to get through Hegel's work and that's supposed to be introductory stuff?!". :lol:
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#58  Postby Matthew Shute » Oct 18, 2010 4:00 pm

Comte de St.-Germain wrote:
Matthew Shute wrote:
Comte de St.-Germain wrote:Also, Hegel's The Phenomenology of Spirit is as good a place as any to start.. :)


I searched Gutenberg.org for an English translation: no luck. For anyone fluent in German, though, you can download the book free.

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/6698


Err.. I was joking.. What kind of bastard would recommend starting with Hegel, and at that, his most impenetrable work?!


:grin: What kind...? As the politicians say, "I couldn't possibly comment." :silenced:
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#59  Postby PhilosopherX » Nov 01, 2010 5:37 am

One of the best books I've read is The Passion Of The Western Mind, by Richard Tarnas. Highly recommend it to everyone.
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Re: Philosophy: Good primers and essential reading?

#60  Postby Matthew Shute » Nov 16, 2010 4:59 pm

"Change will preserve us. It is the lifeblood of the Isles. It will move mountains! It will mount movements!" - Sheogorath
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