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How do I get 'into' philosophy? watch

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    I have always been intrigued by the idea of Philosophy but I have no idea how to actually understand or learn it :confused: I regret not taking it for an A level which I think might have helped.

    How do I educate myself about philosophy? Any good books to read? Documentaries? Videos? Anything to help me get a better grasp of philosophy. I've heard fancy words like 'metaphysics' and 'utilitarianism' been mentioned in the context of philosophy before and I never understood any of it :rolleyes:

    Some general direction would be helpful.
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    you slip on the quarter-life existential crisis banana skin, fall straight down the stairs of conflicting idealogies then fall face-first into the basement of unanswerable questions, knocking out all your pre-supposed knowledge teeth in the process

    as for actual texts i'll wait for someone more knowledgeable to post

    i'd suggest looking into the traditionally known favourites of Hume, Kant, Descartes, Plato and the like though first
    ontological argument for existence of god is probably amongst the most basic topics, too - at least for AS level studies I distinctly remember a lot of it - that and the concept of object permanence.
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    (Original post by grassntai)
    I have always been intrigued by the idea of Philosophy but I have no idea how to actually understand or learn it :confused: I regret not taking it for an A level which I think might have helped.

    How do I educate myself about philosophy? Any good books to read? Documentaries? Videos? Anything to help me get a better grasp of philosophy. I've heard fancy words like 'metaphysics' and 'utilitarianism' been mentioned in the context of philosophy before and I never understood any of it :rolleyes:

    Some general direction would be helpful.
    I've heard philosophers suggest this. I read it a long while ago and found it pretty interesting.
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    Read an introduction.
    Read a history of the subject.

    That will introduce you to the build up of modern ideas and give you a good understanding of previous ideas and their importance.

    Usually split into 4 branches

    metaphysics - mainly rejected now
    theory of knowledge - Hume, Kant, Wittgenstein are examples
    ethics - Kant (deontology), Aristotle (virtue ethics), Mill and Bentham (utilitarianism) and other theories
    logic - Frege, Mathematical logic has mainly replaced traditional logic in the 20th century.
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    Wittgenstein is a top bloke and his name reminds me of Frankenstein
    look into him for these reasons
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    (Original post by Kaiju)
    you slip on the quarter-life existential crisis banana skin, fall straight down the stairs of conflicting idealogies then fall face-first into the basement of unanswerable questions, knocking out all your pre-supposed knowledge teeth in the process

    as for actual texts i'll wait for someone more knowledgeable to post

    i'd suggest looking into the traditionally known favourites of Hume, Kant, Descartes, Plato and the like though first
    ontological argument for existence of god is probably amongst the most basic topics, too - at least for AS level studies I distinctly remember a lot of it - that and the concept of object permanence.
    are u writing my biography

    this is literally my entire experience of philosophy

    a ladder one throws away if you will and replaces with more empirical methods and some alcohol

    i still use it (particularly mathematical logic) in other affairs, pluralism ftw
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    Definitely don't read Wittgenstein, Kant, or Hume, as some of the above posters were suggesting. Certainly not their original texts. Start with some light introductory book instead. For example, Nagel's "What Does It All Mean?" is a very good one. Or have a look at the "Very Short Introductions" series: they have a ~150 pages book on literally every key philosophical topic and thinker. On Youtube there is also a variety of great videos on various topics for complete beginners. Yet, the first thing I would do in your case is just surf Wikipedia so as to grasp all the key branches and concepts in philosophy. Here is a list of entries you might want to look up: Logic, Ethics, Metaphysics, Epistemology, Aesthetics, Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Language, History of Philosophy, Analytic Philosophy, Continental Philosophy, Rationalism, Empiricism. Good luck and feel free to message me if in the process you will have any questions.
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    In order to get into philosophy, you need to try and understand who you are and what philosophy is. For me philosophy is in essence consciousness, my very being is defined by philosophy and everything i do, everything i watch, read, eat, drink, smell, touch and interact with is at its inner core philosophical. Beyond the narrow prison of academia, philosophy is everywhere and everyone is either a philosopher or the product of one. What this means for you is that you don't need to get into philosophy, you've been doing it all your life, what you may need to do is go from being a passive philosopher to an active one, that's to say from a subconscious philosopher to a conscious one.


    On a personal level my philosophical awakening did not occur by vacuously reading, 'dead white men' (if you'll pardon the expression), but was a result of an existential crisis i underwent. i think most people go through it during their late teens early adulthood, a period i call 'a crisis of the autonomous self'. That period where your self awareness has taken you beyond the world you received from your parents but where nothing replaces it. Its at this point that i began to build a conscious philosophy, which was centred around the self, the self and other people and the self and the universe. The trick is to come to an enlightened view of the forces that govern the intersphere between the self and the rest- once this is achieved- the conscious is freed and active philosophy is born.

    Its then you'll 'get' philosophy.
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    Jusk keep asking yourself these 3 questions here..

    1. What is reality?
    2. How to know reality?
    3. How to act according to reality?

    For example, when you see yourself in the mirror, ask yourself these..

    1) who is this in the mirror ?
    2) how can I see or hear or feel this being in the mirror?
    3) what should I do to this being?
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    (Original post by DErasmus)

    metaphysics - mainly rejected now
    What on Earth is that? You can't reject metaphysics. That's like saying you can reject chemistry. It's not even a claim about truth/falsity so it cannot be rejected. Crazy.
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    (Original post by TorpidPhil)
    What on Earth is that? You can't reject metaphysics. That's like saying you can reject chemistry. It's not even a claim about truth/falsity so it cannot be rejected. Crazy.
    What? Chemistry is based on experimental evidence. Metaphysics is blubber. Alchemy has more claim to science than metaphysics.
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    (Original post by DErasmus)
    What? Chemistry is based on experimental evidence. Metaphysics is blubber. Alchemy has more claim to science than metaphysics.
    Who said that metaphysics ever claimed to be a science?
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    (Original post by benq)
    Who said that metaphysics ever claimed to be a science?
    Like every metaphysician ever? Only when people started rejecting it did it become a distinct discipline from natural philosophy.
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    Right. So theoretical physics is akin to alchemy too then, as is mathematics of course.

    This my friend, is what the postmodernists talk about when they refer to scientism. You'll find the level of "scientificness" of some claim is not synonymous with the level of truth that claim has for two reasons:

    1) It is impossible to objectively define scientificness.
    2) Nothing subjective can affect synthetic truths. Metaphysics talks about synthetic truths.

    To suggest that metaphysics is currently rejected is a very peculiar notion in the first place as, like I already said, you cannot reject a methodology, rather you can reject the truth of the claims that such a methodology leads to. I suppose you could say the method is useless but then you have the big problem of, oh wait, what is the meta-physical methodology, which akin to the ordinary-physics one is not clear and constant.

    Nevertheless modern scientists do not. They believe in electrons. They believe in the theory of the big bang. Many believe in mind-dependent mathematical/scientific truths. Many believe that they are able to identify truth through the use of instruments external to them. Some even believe in multi-verse theory. Few believe in God. All of these beliefs are wholly meta-physical, yet still persistently observed in contemporary science, albeit in different varieties of frequency.
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    (Original post by TorpidPhil)
    Right. So theoretical physics is akin to alchemy too then, as is mathematics of course.

    This my friend, is what the postmodernists talk about when they refer to scientism.
    ...? are you being deliberately obtuse? Mathematics is not metaphysics and theoretical physics (usually) proceeds from hypothetical generalisations of experience. Metaphysics is not a science, it has no predictive reasoning.
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    (Original post by DErasmus)
    Like every metaphysician ever? Only when people started rejecting it did it become a distinct discipline from natural philosophy.
    If it ever was claimed to be a science, then only at times when science itself was not defined in the terms it is nowadays. And since the word "science" had a different and broader meaning - metaphysics was claimed (if it was at all) to be something that is not the science we are talking about now. I haven't heard of anybody who equated metaphysics with modern sciences such as chemistry. But please feel free to prove me wrong by providing appropriate references.
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    I didn't say it was meta-physics did I? This is your arrogance. You assume that anything under the label "meta-physics" is bad yet anything under the label "physics" or "mathematics" is good. You don't know why, you just do. If you knew why then you would understand why following the logic necessary for claiming that all meta-physical claims are faulty would lead to saying the same about much of natural science (including theoretical physics) and mathematics.

    Meta-physics proceeds from hypothetical generalisations of experience too. It doesn't proceed from anecdote, it takes the data of physics and hypotheses further from that. Hence theoretical physics IS a type of meta-physics.
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    This is a really good introductory book to basic philisophy and philosophers.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sophies-Worl...+world+gaarder
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    Read about it, watch videos, have discussions on here, etc. If you genuinely find it interesting, it will be very easy to learn about it. If you want to have some structure, maybe try a book like The History of Western Philosophy, Sophie's World, or listen to a series like the History of Philosophy podcast on iTunes.
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    I took it for A Level and enjoyed it. If I could do it again I would have probably taken a science (I took Psychology but struggle to see it as a "science" in any serious sense of the word) but you live and you learn.

    I read science books and watch documenataries (particularly biology) all the time just because it interests me. If I'd had taken it I probably wouldn't be doing that now because it would feel like too much of a chore - there is much wrong in terms of this within the education system but that's another matter.

    I suggest you do the same but with Philosophy. Depending on your starting point try an introductory book before AS/A2 texts and then you can sound pretentious by quoting the Latin for things in everyday life - yes I really do that
 
 
 

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