Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I am applying for university at the moment and there is a list of Philosophy books that they suggest you read before applying - for exampleJohn Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism. However, I am an unsure how to read them in a way that I can make sure I absorb and understand the information - has anybody got any suggestions?
    I was considering annotating it but I didn't know if there was a better way to read and process books.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Hi there,

    While you're waiting for an answer, did you know we have 300,000 study resources that could answer your question in TSR's Learn together section?

    We have everything from Teacher Marked Essays to Mindmaps and Quizzes to help you with your work. Take a look around.

    If you're stuck on how to get started, try creating some resources. It's free to do and can help breakdown tough topics into manageable chunks. Get creating now.

    Thanks!

    Not sure what all of this is about? Head here to find out more.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    The first thing is: don't worry too much about it. If it's been recommended that you read Mill, it's not because you're expected to learn what Mill argued, but in order for you to get an idea of what reading philosophy is like, and to think carefully about what you read. So don't think you've failed in any way if you get to the end and feel like you don't have a perfect recall of the arguments. Understanding is more important that absorbing.

    Don't take notes in order to summarize or paraphrase arguments. That's a waste of time. If you write anything while you're reading it should be your own thoughts - e.g. 'doesn't Mill's argument here assume that xyz?' Annotating is a good idea if you've got your own copy of the book because you can underline passages that are confusing or unclear or particularly interesting and add your own comments and questions in the margin. It also means you can go back over what you've written later and re-examine your thoughts in the context in which you had them. It also means that you can cross-refer within the book - so if you write a question on one page, and then find your query answered five pages later, you can go back and note down where to find the answer.

    Finally, remember when reading philosophy that your queries and objections might well be perfectly reasonable queries and objections rather than misunderstandings (though some of them might be misunderstandings!). Great philosophers sometimes make mistakes or produce unconvincing arguments, and you should get into the habit of spotting these right from the start. At the same time, bear in mind that it is conventional in philosophy to read philosophers in the most charitable way possible. So if something sounds implausible read one way, ask yourself whether there might be a different reasonable interpretation that makes the argument more convincing.

    Mill is a great place to start; hope you enjoy it!
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Did TEF Bronze Award affect your UCAS choices?
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.