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Starting with the greeks.
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You are currently reading a thread in /lit/ - Literature

Thread replies: 55
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Starting with the greeks.

Someone recently recommended "A history of western philosophy" by Bertrand Russell to me in order to get a general overview of western philosophy before diving deep into specific philosophers and authors.

In this following chart:
http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/4chanlit/images/3/3f/Start_with_the_greeks.jpg

the starting points are "Mythology- Edith Hamilton" and "The Illiad-Homer. Would you advise going through russell's book first and then moving on to edith hamilton?
>>
Russel's book is in no way a "good start" to reading the greeks and whoever recommended that as a starting point was an idiot.

Russel is a biased fuck throughout the entire book and he outright dismisses philosophies he doesn't understand.
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>>7612734
And those he didn't like
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>>7612720
Do you want to engage with western philosophy?

Read the works of philosophers/those that inspired philosophers

Do you want to read somebody's opinion of western philosophy?

Read shit like the Russell book
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>>7612747
>>7612741
>>7612734

Oh wow. I had no idea. It was recommended to me by a humanities professor.

So I guess I should start with Mythology-Edith Hamilton and move on to the Illiad (according to this chart)?
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I read Russell's History of Western Philosophy and The Problems of Philosophy before I had read any philosophy and their inadequacy was still apparent.
I read them both in full thinking that, if nothing else, I would at least learn some history. However, I wouldn't recommend that to somebody else, because afterwards you basically have to unlearn all Russell has said about The Pre-Socratics, Plato, Augustine, Aquinas and Nietzsche.

If Russell intended it as a primer for a newcomer to philosophy, then at worst its dishonest and propagandist. It's much better to read it as Russell's commentary on Western Philosophy.
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>>7612758
Yes
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>>7612720
What is it that you are starting with?
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>>7612803
I was going to start with russell.
But it seems like that'd be a horrible idea.

So I'm gonna begin with Mythology-Edith Hamilton and then proceed to the illiad.
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Before you read the Mythology, read:
A Brief History of Ancient Greece: Society, Politics, and Culture.

You could get pic related instead of Hamilton if you want an ancient source.

Get Fitzgerald for the Epics.

Get Oxford World Classics, or Landmark, for the Histories.

You don't need to read the Cambridge Companion or Epic Fragments.

You could read Bryan Maggee's Story of Philosophy before the Pre-Socratics. It's one of the best histories, but he kind of brushes over the existentialists and structuralists etc. But you can easily read about them on the SEP.
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>>7612822
But do you want to read philosophy? Why are you 'starting with the Greeks' reading non-philosophical literature?
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That's a really good book. /lit/ just doesn't like it because it was written after the 18th century.
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>>7612720
>>7612822
I don't like Russel's attitude torwards any philosophy that involves any kind of religious (or even non-empirical) aspect. When he tries to refute Plato's, Aristotle's and the Catholic philosophers he sounds prepotent.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book. Overall he does a good contextualization of the "birth" of philosophy and gives to the reader nice picture of the world at the moment of the philosopher he is "reviewing".

I recommend if you are interested in seeing Russel's point of view or if you keep in mind that you have to "filter" his biases.
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>>7612848

Yes my primary intention is to study philosophy and eventually build up background to before picking up kierkegaard or nietzsche etc. In general I find ancient greek philosophy quite interesting and wanted to begin with them.

I chose mythology-edith hamilton because the chart which I linked here >>7612758 is posted countless times and everyone swears by it. In it, the starting point is mythology-edith hamilton so I thought I'd start there.
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My philosophy teacher has this as the textbook this semester, is it really biased?
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>>7612871
Reading Greek literature will definitely help with N and K; read the Bible as well
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>>7612877
When it comes to the Germans perhaps - those dismissing it outright on this thread are typical /lit/ reactionaries.
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>>7612720
Durant and Windelband are better.
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>>7612720
At the very beginning just relax and mess around. dabble with history of philosophy, youtube lectures, secondary sources, meme philosophers, etc. you need to "start with the greeks" from a point of interest and genuine motivation and not from the desire to simply start.
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I don't know if this is frowned upon here, but, the entire audiobook is on YT. The reader is very good.
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It's not 'Start with the Russell,' OP...
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>>7612758
If you want an overview of philosophy, try out Durant's "Story of Philosophy" or Copleston's "History of Philosophy." Don't feel rushed to read them cover to cover before starting with the Greeks; just use them as companions while you read the pre socratics, sophists, Plato, and Aristotle. You don't need to understand Hegel to read the Greeks.
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C O P L E S T O N
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People were recommending Anthony Kenny's A New History of Western Philosophy a while back.
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>>7613103
Honesty if you don't wanna read 32947912837137 pages of Copleston I would recommend just jumping into the Greeks. I know its a meme, but there is truth behind it. If you don't have the time or care then just study up on the philosophers, find one that interests you, and dig into his work.
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>>7613087
I read somewhere here before that someone recommended Anthony Kennys book instead of Russell.

http://www.amazon.ca/Illustrated-Brief-History-Western-Philosophy/dp/1405141794

Just wondering how you would compare your recommendations to that?
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>>7613180
Never heard of it, but the /lit/ philosophy guide suggests one by Magee (also never read it):

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1y8_RRaZW5X3xwztjZ4p0XeRplqebYwpmuNNpaN_TkgM/pub

Frankly it's not going to make a huge deal. You're not going to be memorizing and treating as gospel this intro text; it's really just to prepare your palate and give you a vague overview of the development of philosophy as a whole. It will never be as thorough as actually reading the original texts, and as long as you intend to read and evaluate those texts on your own (rather than basing your entire understanding off of that intro text), it's not a huge deal which one you get.
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>>7612720

highly biased and wack book, also not recommended in academia (which is biased and wack as well)
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>>7613208
you'll forgive me but that sounds a little biased and wack.
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>>7612764
I read the Problems of Philosophy a long time ago and I thought it was a sound introduction to philosophy as a process so I've been recommending it. Most of your post seems to be about the "History" so would you say Problems is an unhelpful introduction?
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>>7613106
That's a fucking nice book.
Very long too, it was originally a four-volume series.
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>>7612871
I've read "The First Philosophers" and thought it was really excellent, enthusiastic and perceptive. I always recommend it unreservedly as an introduction to the Pre-socratics. However, if you want to understand them thoroughly you might need more. Nietzsche wrote about them himself, and that writing at least used to be available online.

>The Complete Works of Plato and Aristotle
>mansweating.jpeg
if you want to understand Nietzsche and Kierkegaard as I see it there's no need to read minor dialogues like Ion or Cratylus - if I were suggesting someone to read Plato in order to understand his significance to later thought I would say maybe Meno, Protagoras, Apology, Republic is maybe the highest investment/reward ratio (if I were to list the dialogues I think are most worthwhile or enjoyable it would be another selection again).

and if you want to understand Nietzsche then I recommend reading Epicurus at some stage, Nietzsche seems to reference him as a strong influence. Also when it comes to Aristotle the two "Ethics" and the "Politics" are I would think the most obvious ones which influence Nietzsche. I couldn't say exhaustively, though.

For Nietzsche it may be worth reading something from the skeptical tradition - I recommend Sextus Empiricus, there are one or two small "readers" of his work, otherwise Outlines of Pyrrhonism by him might be the easiest way to have a solid understanding of it.
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>>7613137
>>7613103
>>7613087
if you're using history works as references then bear in mind you might have more options available to you if you visit a major library.
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>>7612764
Out of curiosity, would you mind giving some examples of Russell's fuckups?
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>>7612720
Read some plays. Medea, Oedipus, Bacchae... They will give you the feels of being greek, since they were all stories that were already told, people usually knew them since childhood. Theos x Anthropos, sometimes all at once. That is a something you've got to know before you dive into philosophy. While reading these, you can study Hamilton's Mythology. Her manual is enough.

Then you can actually read some of the Plato's dialogues. Meno, Apology, they're "entry level". You must not intend to read them just once though. You're gonna read them now, and then go back to them later.
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>>7613505
This. But by later I'd mean a few years of reading other philosophers. Begin and End with Plato.
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>>7613507
Yep. I've read his dialogues a few times already. I guess the student can go back to the dialogues as many times as he possibly can.
All the western philosophy falls into the same discussions, every time.
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>>7613517
I meant "should go back" there.
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>>7612720
Good way to judge is this if the author is Anglo or not. In this case the author is indeed Anglo, therefore put it in the bin.

You'll thank me when you're old and wise.
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>>7612734
Stupid meme, but his dad was literally a cuck and allowed his wife to bone Russell's tutors because he considered himself progressive. That's the environment Russel was raised in.
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>>7614511
m'gonna need sauce on that, tripfag faggot
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While reading the Russell chapter on Plato, I decided to try and actually follow his arguments rigorously. It took me several hours to work through a single page.

It's an introduction but it is filled with challenging ideas, not at all a bad thing but certainly something to be aware of.
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>>7613376
Not that anon but all you have to do is read the entry on Hegel or Nietzsche to see the fuck ups. In fact both entries aren't just littered with fuck ups they are wholly fuck ups. Everything he says about either of them is wrong.
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Which chart is better?

<--- This one here

or

The one posted here: >>7612758 (You)
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>>7615120
There's literally an entire thread on the best "chart"/order in the catalog right now; the one with the OP pic as a bird with angry eyes. Go look there, the OP is hashing out an improved order.

>>7614862
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>>7615226
quote from the OP of that thread:
>I actually never mentioned once "Starting with the Greeks". This reading order isn't for the first step in a big journey of learning different philosophy, it's just a reading order for general Greek works spanning history, drama, philosophy, etc.
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>>7615120
I can vouch for Waterfield's "First Philosophers" and I've read an Amazon review about Barnes which convincingly (for me, at least) wrote him off as biased, so if you read the chart with Barnes on it replace him with Waterfield.

The selection of Plato here >>7612758 is ok, it will provide you with a basic layman's sense of Plato, though reading some more of the dialogues might flesh that out and they're short and easy to read. If you want more I recommend Meno and Protagoras.

I can't speak for Aristotle as I haven't read him, though only reading Metaphysics seems like a strange choice. I would have thought a reader might be more helpful with Aristotle.
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>>7615846
I assume you linked the wrong image. Reading the Complete Works of Plato is very lay.
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Recommending the Platonic Tradition by Peter Kreeft as quality introductory material.
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>>7615120
The fact that this one prefers Alexander Pope translations makes me wonder if the maker made that chart to be... needlessly difficult and meme-y.
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>>7612934
I second history of philosophy, especially if you are new or you don't have the time to read all the books. It gives you an interesting overview of the major ideas of the schools and philosophers.
After that I'd say read something on the Presocratics, because they influence a lot of stuff. I could recommand 'The Presocratic Philosophers', but there are other good books on them. After that read Plato and Aristotle.
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>>7616523
>The Presocratic Philosophers

This one?
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>>7616532
Yeah that's the one. I picked it up because the guy in the 'History of Philosophy without any Gaps' recommended it and I was not disappointed.
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>>7616539
I'm scared to read this book after seeing this review:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/272040165?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1
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>>7616543
Hm can't really say much about it, since I am not as well read as the reviewer seems to be. I can say though that the general opinion is that the first edition of the book is better, the one in the picture you posted.
Thread replies: 55
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