If I start reading Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, what can I expect to learn?
I've never read any actual philosophy before so it's completely new to me, but I'm interested in reading into ancient greek philosophy and figured this would be a good place to start. I consider myself reasonably intelligent but I don't have as much knowledge as I'd like.
What order should I read their literature in? What's the best pace to read at? Again, quite interested in what I will actually learn or gain from reading them.
Socrates didn't leave writings, but if you read the "early" Plato dialogues you pretty much know what he thought. Read early to middle to late Plato in that order, and then Aristotle.
You get different insights from all of them. We know Socrates was solely interested in Ethics. From reading Plato you get the framework of Metaphysics and Epistemology. Aristotle was the first thinker to formally define logic and represents the empirical antithesis to Plato's thought.
Overall I guess you can expect to learn about the proper context in which to situate your thoughts on things like morality, mathematics, religion and science.
I've just started with Aristotle's organon and its so incredibly stimulating to read. Also mega-good for understanding Joyce which is what we're all really here for. Here ya go.
Firstly, don't ask for serious advice on basic things on /lit/
The fags are always the ones who have skimmed the surface of things so they know enough to troll you but not enough to fuck with you if you're a little more knowledgeable.
You seem "young" OP, ask for advice somewhere else.
If you want advice from me, fuck the greeks, start with Hume or Desecartes, return to the Greeks later.
Guy he replied to.
As a modern reader you will find both Aristotle's and Plato's metaphysics surreal, especially the former, there will also be a great deal of historical context that you will be missing with good chunks of plato 's text centered around just that.
The more you consider the metaphysics and history the less material you have that focuses on hard questions pertaining to ontology and epistemology.
If youre into philosophy for the fashion or if you enjoy the less analytically rigorous portions of philosophy then starting with the Greeks is good.
If you're in for the latter then go like the univs do, I'd even recommend starting with Russel's problem of philosophy philosophy.
>Aristotle was the first thinker to formally define logic and represents the empirical antithesis to Plato's thought.
Same guy as before.
Are you basing this claim off the school of Athens painting? Because raphael didn't know what he was talking about.
Aristotle may have told plato to fo and he very well started logic but he did believe God controls the world with his thoughts and made all sorts of claim about the cosmos.
I wouldn't call him empirical in anyway the term used in modern times means something much more intense
To think that paltotle can give you any knowledge on where to "situate your thoughts" on science and math is laughable.
Its very evident that you haven't progressed to modern philosophers, don't fool yourself into thinking that plato has any lasting impact on anything except morality and politics.
Unless you're a contintental that probably wouldn't pass a course in real analysis or doesn't know what that is, you'll barely find that platotle put out any stimulating thoughts in a relative sense.
Yes aristotle had a lot to say and so did plato but modern philosophers have stood on the shoulders of giants and illuminated far more interesting questions.
Dont fall for the meme OP its not that its a terrible idea to start with Plato but there's a reason undergrad courses dont study him intensively, the Greek are massively overrated here.
I think you're looking at Plato and ancient philosophy in general with the wrong motives: of course they don't have the same development of the moderns and we shouldn't try to answer our problems with them. You need to look at their texts as necessary developments of Thought that made explicit the ideas and concepts of THAT particular age, that in turn made possible our advance.
>You need to look at their texts as necessary developments of Thought that made explicit the ideas and concepts of THAT particular age, that in turn made possible our advance.
I agree with you! Both of them were pioneering genius(es?)!
It sometimes baffles me how their texts were written two millennium and a couple centuries ago [ I mean, two millennium and a couple centuries, jesus! (wasn't even born then) ]
If you're interested in the "art" of history of philosophy then yes reading them is vital but if you're only interested in the "art" of philosophy, I don't feel it's necessary to start from the ground up when you're formulating your thoughts.
We don't use Euclid or Newton to introduce schoolchildren to mathematics, I don't see why people have this obsession with recommending Plato and Airstotle in massive detail to anyone who expresses a desire to get into Philosophy.
Some of the texts suggested are just required for the obsessive completionist, no one else.
My main concern isn't someone picking up The Republic or Nichomachean Ethics or a couple other texts that are common today, it's people going through the complete works of Aristotle and Plato to start them off.
I feel that would be too drab for a new reader and would bore them away, on one hand it's not as gripping as the literature they're used to, on the other hand the dialectics, although interesting, are not quite set to favor pallet of the modern reader who usually has highly skeptical tendencies.
Also, all of this is assuming you're not interested in Philosophy in terms of learning how to live a good life.
If you're just interested in the virtue side of it in a more pragmatic sense (how to live an excellent life?) Western Phil probably doesn't get better than Platotle and the Hellenistic Philosophers.
>the most consistent and reliable axiomatic system of thought.
That's highly contestable, yes?
I can't imagine a majority of people thinking things akin to the theory of forms are highly consistent and reliable.
Not to mention how a lot of what Aristotle said about ends needs to be retracted and mended over after natural selection was "discovered".
And his contributions to logic are just wildly overshadowed by developments in the field after in.
And surely noone takes their metaphysics seriously?
>he fell for the start with the Greeks maymay
Start with the Mesopotamians you fucking pleb
because faggots for thousands of years have written with direct references to the greeks. so you miss a lot if you dont know them. honestly the very basic starting point of "question everything" is vital to your path to philosophy.
>That's highly contestable, yes?
Everything is contestable in philosophy.
>I can't imagine a majority of people thinking things akin to the theory of forms are highly consistent and reliable.
Majority did think that for centuries and many people still do, especially unconsciously. I don't know how much you know about law, but it's essentially bound to platonic ideals to be a self sufficient system.
>Not to mention how a lot of what Aristotle said about ends needs to be retracted and mended over after natural selection was "discovered".
I don't understand what you are trying to say here.
>And his contributions to logic are just wildly overshadowed by developments in the field after in.
Aristotelian framework has been developing for a long time, Aristotle isn't a dogma.
>And surely noone takes their metaphysics seriously?
As I've said they are having a comeback in universities because it's essentially postmodernism or platonism.
>Hell I'd even say most of us are naturally predisposed to finding Hume or any empiricist more consistent and reliable.
They are fundamentally self refuting and cannot be applied to the human sphere in a sensible way to regulate things such as law.
>I'm a filthy auto-dictat though, so I don't know what goes down in academia, care to enlighten me?
It's just that scholasticism has had a revival and some very distinguished authors such as Ed Feser.
Of course any of the claims I made will probably be disputed by you guys, but this is how I see it anyway.
yeah, me too. I looked into it. nothing of value. basically just faggots claiming ideas they stole from the greeks as their own original idea. ok maybe not that obvious. but there's a chair of psychology in the UK called john smith who ripped off weber and consistently paraphrases him and mentions the exact same points as him down to the minutiae when citing Schopenhauer et al. so far nobody has noticed.
>I don't know how much you know about law, but it's essentially bound to platonic ideals to be a self sufficient system.
Well those folk aren't philosophers. I agree we all inherently use the platonic ideals but little is done by the greeks to deal with them the way a modern skeptic would.
>I don't understand what you are trying to say here.
I don't remember which of his works this was in but what was that deal with there being multiple goals of a thing with the form imposed, the effect it has, it's final end etc.
He makes reference to nature a lot and how the "final end" of many of the features animals have is to do with what they are endowed with so the "final end" of a horn is to attack with it? Something of the sort, I haven't taken the time to look back and flesh out what I am saying.
>Aristotelian framework has been developing for a long time, Aristotle isn't a dogma.
Ah, I see.
>As I've said they are having a comeback in universities because it's essentially postmodernism or platonism.
Interesting, how does believing in his metaphysics work exactly?
I mean, people legit, actually believe that heaven is a sphere and all that (at least I think he had some metaphysical reasoning for it being that way)?
And that planetary motion is the result of god as thought thinking itself and all that?
How do you justify his faults in a non-arbitrary manner since I'm sure you can't take just everything he says seriously?
>They are fundamentally self refuting
In what sense?
There are certain people within the history of philosophy who everyone else who came after had to respond to. Anyone after Plato had to respond to him (especially because of how well he supported later christian philosophers), anyone after Descartes had to respond to him (and he is useful to know because he cuts across both the analytic and continental tradition), and anyone in the continental tradition who came after Nietzsche has to confront him. I think if you read these three figures, you'll be able to work through most of the tradition with at least some grounding.
>Socrates didn't leave writings, but if you read the "early" Plato dialogues you pretty much know what he thought. Read early to middle to late Plato in that order
This is going to be awfully pedantic of me, but that's a pretty contested view in modern Plato scholarship, though admittedly it's been the dominant voice of the last 50 years or so; I don't say this to assert that you're wrong, but rather that Plato as an author is very difficult to read, but his work also measure up pretty well with the accounts of Socrates given by Aristophanes and Xenophon, and I'd like to explain what that means for a second, since it is absolutely true that Socrates had the *appearance* of being interested only in ethics (or, "the human things").
So, what do Plato, Aristophanes, and Xenophon all agree upon? Well, that Socrates had a dangerous (because perhaps impious) interest in the study of nature, or natural things. In Aristophanes, this is one of the chief accusations throughout that work, not that Socrates is a sophist (it's notable that the character of Socrates in the Clouds never demands a payment; it's his interlocutor who thinks he's like the sophists enough to want to pay him), but that Socrates spends his time in studies that suggest impiety, which wasn't merely understood as a simple disbelief in deity, but a disbelief in *the laws of the city*, which were attributed to the gods. Athens is in the middle of a war, and studies that question the foundations of the city don't help it any. So, in the Clouds, Socrates is depicted as studying astronomy, looking for natural cause, denying the deity of Zeus, and worshipping "Clouds" (which might as well be forms).
In Xenophon, we have an attempt at a defense of Socrates from this charge. Xenophon's phrasing hedges it though: he *doesn't* say that Socrates never studied nature, but rather that he never did it "in this way" (which in context means by way of public conversation; the Oecinomicus offers an account of Socrates learning to study nature through *indirect* means, which should remind the student of Plato of the passage in the Republic about the philosopher coming out of the cave and having to understand the reality of things through an initially indirect means.).
Now, in Plato's Apology, Socrates addresses the Aristophanean charge with the same defense used in Xenophon's Memorabilia, namely, that no one's ever *heard* him talking about these things. But then look at the Phaedo, which contains an "autobiographical" account of Socrates' philosophical education, and....he started out as an Anaxagorean natural philosopher. (One wonders why we encounter this difference between the Apology and the Phaedo; most scholars have claimed that it's because the Phaedo was written later, and that the autobiography actually belongs to Plato. While that first statement *may* be true on the basis of stylometric analysis, the later is purely speculative--perhaps a better answer is contained in the differences between the dramatic elements of those dialogues. The Apology is the only "dialogue" where Socrates must speak before a multitude in public, while the Phaedo is on the final day of his life, in jail, with close associates around him; the latter circumstance might be as good a reason as any other to offer such a "revelation" that contradicts the Apology's account...)
But enough of all this. Regarding order, one *could* read it in accordance with the three broad groupings stylometric analysis offers, i.e., early, middle, late, but reading in too strict an accordance with that order ends up ignoring the ways the dialogues refer back to each other and end up maintaining stranger groupings (and I, for my part, suspect that this is related to the problems concerning the forms; confer with the dialogues Sophist and Statesman, and their peculiar treatment of "forms" as "kinds" or "species"). Some examples worth mentioning:
Protagoras and Meno (BOTH of which are taken as middle period dialogues) contain different theses on the teachability of virtue--Protagoras has an account of it not being teachable, and Meno has an account of it being teachable (though most of the scholars discussing the latter dialogue seem not to take seriously enough that the account of virtue being teachable is almost immediately undercut and rejected for strange reasons). So, Protagoras and Meno have a relation based on the question of whether virtue is teachable. Focusing on Protagoras, we can also point to other dialogues that deal with "sophistry" and "sophists"--Sophist, Euthydemus, Gorgias, Hippias Major and Minor, etc. We also, with respect to Protagoras, have a connection with the Theaetetus, which spends a goodly portion inspecting Protagorean relativism.
With the Meno, we can look to other dialogues concerning the virtues, all of which also point to each other: Republic (Justice), Charmides (Moderation), Laches (Courage), and maybe some others that are a bit more suspect (Euthyphro''s inspection of Piety, and Theaetetus's inspection of Knowledge, if we take Piety to be a virtue, and take Knowledge to be a fine equivalent of Wisdom as a virtue, which I'm much less sure about...).
In a similar vein of this thread, regarding philosophy, I'm looking to read books on the cosmological and ontological arguments. Can someone please suggest some books please? Also, some books on Anarchism, because I've just finished The Conquest of Bread, Mutual Aid, Anarchism and Other Essays, as well as How Nonviolence Protects The State.
There are connections between Republic (Justice) and Gorgias (rhetoric concerning justice), which pairs well with another set, Symposium (Eros) and Phaedrus (rhetoric concerning eros).
Etc. etc. etc. I think I'm just trying to suggest that there's no one proper order for reading Plato (though maybe you don't want to start at especially weird dialogues like Parmenides, Sophist, Statesman, Philebus), but, if you find yourself interested in what you're reading, continue by whatever natural paths you find, and be open to re-readings.
If you're just looking to blow through the Greeks, maybe just do Apology, Phaedo, Republic, and call it a day.
Here's the whole deal if anyone is interested:
And my favorite part:
It has a terrible effect in the third world. In the first world, the rich countries, this stuff doesn't really matter that much. So, if a lot of nonsense goes on in the Paris cafes or the Yale comparative literature department, well, OK. On the other hand, in the third world popular movements really need serious intellectuals to participate. And if they're all ranting postmodern absurdities, well they're gone. I mean, I've seen real examples, I could give them to you. But, so there is that category. And it's considered very left wing, and very advanced and so on and so forth.
No, independent study for fun. (I *really* dig Plato.) Just finished undergrad in May, and going to grad school this August.
RE: intellectual discussions, it's pretty common with my close friends, but not really anyone else, and that experience was true of my schooling. (Much more in the way of people nervously trying to impress either each other or their professors. I wish people weren't so afraid of actually asking "dumb" questions.)
And cheers, man!
>and a shit ton of the secondary lit and scholarship
What books of secondary lit on Plato do you suggest for someone who is about to start with him? Or you think I should just read Plato first without intrusions?
Not him, but I'm currently reading through Plato.
I think context could help, but I'm finding it best to engage with Plato directly, not engage with Plato through someone else.
I'll probably read other interpretations on second readings.
I read him first without referring to any secondary lit, which is maybe not a terrible idea. In fact, I didn't really care for Plato at all when I started reading him. I only liked the Gorgias, and didn't think much of anything else. After that first year, I took some time off school to figure things out (as young men do), and decided, "eh, why the fuck not" and decided to re-read the Gorgias. I also decided to bother reading the introduction to that translation (Arieti and Barrus), and instead of it being a summary of the main arguments (though it also had that), it offered a thesis I hadn't thought of when I read: Socrates is being implicitly criticized by Plato, and the evidence of this is that his claim to be the only true politician of the city (because he's the only one who cares for people's souls) is undercut by the way he makes Callicles into a *worse* person over the course of the argument.
I re-read it with that thesis in mind and was pretty impressed by how plausible it seemed. I don't agree with it almost at all now, but it was a nice first step to seeing that Plato's doing something different.
Um, most of the stuff I read now is centered around either Leo Strauss, or his friend Jacob Klein (both students of Heidegger in the early 20s). Klein has a book on Greek mathematics (inspected for the purpose of understanding how Greek mathematics transformed into the modern symbolic math that dominates physics) that spends a good deal of time on how math is treated in Plato, which is, well, kinda hard, but pretty essential for understanding certain elements of his thought. Otherwise, Strauss's essays, lectures, and book length studies on Plato, and those of his students (Stanley Rosen and Seth Benardete especially) have been the secondary works I spend my time these days engaging.
It's worth reading the Cambridge Companion to Plato, which is dominated by the analytic school; I disagree with most of its positions, but it's a pretty good summary of the dominant paradigm (that's actually been fading more and more in the past 15 years). And, though I disagree with their specific readings, there are two collections of essays put out by Gerald Press that discuss the "dramatic" reading paradigm that offer a fine set of diverse examples of that mode of reading (including some bad ones; there's an especially abysmal reading of the Symposium in one of those volumes, just absolutely embarrassing).
If you'd like to see what reading secondary lit amounts to, maybe try to read something like the Meno on your own, and then refer to Dominic Scott's commentary, and follow it with Jacob Klein's commentary (both of which I think you can download on bookzz). The differences will become pretty quickly evident, and you'll be able to start making your own assessments.
>Well those folk aren't philosophers.
Many are. Law and philosophy are highly connected, even after normativism fucked everything up.
>I agree we all inherently use the platonic ideals but little is done by the greeks to deal with them the way a modern skeptic would.
Hence you have modern platonism in the same way you have modern every other philosophy which still exists.
>I don't remember which of his works this was in but what was that deal with there being multiple goals of a thing with the form imposed, the effect it has, it's final end etc.
>He makes reference to nature a lot and how the "final end" of many of the features animals have is to do with what they are endowed with so the "final end" of a horn is to attack with it?
This argument is flexible and has more to do with natural law
>Something of the sort, I haven't taken the time to look back and flesh out what I am saying.
I think I know what you are saying
>Interesting, how does believing in his metaphysics work exactly?
Axiomatic, just as everything else, but you don't after it have to pretend your conclusions aren't true (like nihilism or unfitness of utilitarianism for any coherent conclusion)
>I mean, people legit, actually believe that heaven is a sphere and all that (at least I think he had some metaphysical reasoning for it being that way)?
No, it's more like world follows the rational logos making it intelligible
>And that planetary motion is the result of god as thought thinking itself and all that?
God is sustaining the existence of the world
>How do you justify his faults in a non-arbitrary manner since I'm sure you can't take just everything he says seriously?
You reason about it, like everything else and reject what's wrong.
>In what sense?
Empiricism cannot be empirically proven and scepticism has to be sceptical about its scepticism
Socrates was the ugly one.
Plato is known to be dashing as fuck.
Ive heard some people suggest his nick name (plato) refers to the breadth of his chest, course people say it might just refer to his Broad forehead or Broad knowledge of things.
I for one like to think it refers to his Broad penis.
It's the first steps of philosophy, don't go preaching it around like it's uncontested truth, Plato, no philosophy is meant to be read like this.
You should be trying to find inconsistencies in it at all times.
The Symposium is a great read
I would start with The Republic by Plato.
The style will get you used to hearing, "yes Socrates" with every alternate line which will prepare you for the style of argument while seeing some good tricks from the old gadfly even if you disagree with the somewhat aristocratic come socialist conclusions.
The abstracted policy discussion will probably allow you to consider the conclusions of the work as well as the arguments in their own right without requiring a working knowledge of the pre-socratics.
Though the earlier works are certainly worth considering afterward, each tends to keep to a much narrower focus and subject matter which may prove off putting for the modern ear.
Aristotle is the most broad of these, but many of his conclusions, though beautifully argued, have been disproved in light of more evidence based analyses.
Inconsistencies don't necessarily mean a flaw in a thinker's philosophizing if their manner of writing is interested in showing you something via an inconsistency, as Plato's writings arguably do.
The Socratic questioning method is very relevant. It'll make you question things in a new way. Things you may have agreed with will seem strange and irrelevant. Also, Socrates and Plato touched on many important issues that have real world applications today. As far as reading goes, I'd start with Euthyphro to the trial of Socrates and then go on to Plato's later works. Just remember you don't have to read it all at once. Go slowly, one dialogue at a time and truly absorb the info. It's not a contest.