What should I read specifically, if I have absolutely no background or prior reading in philosophy and want to eventually read and understand pic related, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Kant, Kierkegaard, Derrida, and Stirner (not necessarily in the order I listed them)?
I know it's a meme but start with the greeks
Plato and Aristotle set the basis for western philosophy so it is necessary that you start with them.The reality is that both Plato and Aristotle can be hard to understand but they are absolutely necessary.
Modern philosophy starts with Descartes so you must absolutely read the Meditations after Plato and Aristotle.
Don't skip Medieval Philosophy. Read Augustine's Confessions and The City of God and read Aquinas' Shorter Summa at least. Read the Bible as well. You'll get a better idea of what Descartes was reacting against.
Pic related. It gives a sparknotes version of the history of philosophy. From there you can get an idea on what areas you're interested in studying and can continue from there with specifics.
KJV imo. You don't have to read the whole thing in one go as it is massive. Just familiarise yourself with it. You can skip all the
>16 And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg:
>17 And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters'
if you want.
Psalms, Ecclesiastics, Proverbs and Job are my favourite Old Testament books. You could easily read all of the New Testament as it is very short.
>start with the greeks
but for christ's sake don't bother actually reading the primary material. Use online resources, secondary/tertiary texts, even podcasts and (not shit) Youtube videos to get a bit of a grasp of ancient Greek and Hellenistic philosophy but you don't need to know them inside and out to enjoy and engage with the later stuff. You will probably find every piece of philosophy you ever read will be massively illuminated by some outside contextual reading anyway so don't stress too much over having to read the entire canon of western philosophy to grasp the basics of exestentialism, etc.
Although it's biased you could do far worse that a cursory read of Russel's History of Western Philosophy and keeping it on hand for later reference.
Just get one of the hundred "Introduction To Philosophy" books that have been published.
They'll give you a good overview of most of the different schools of thought and important philosophers.
Get one that's trustworthy so you don't end up misguided or confused though.
After that you can start reading the more important works in the schools of thought that interest you most.
I basically know how it goes anyway. Genesis, Adam & Eve, they eat the fruit and get expelled from the garden, Cain & Abel, murder, yadda yadda, the flood and Noah, Abraham and the covenant, binding of Isaac, Jacob and Esau, Josef and his brothers, Moses and Egypt, wandering in the desert after the Exodus, the ten commandments, a bunch of battles and some other crap, Moses dies, Saul, David, Solomon, some prophets later on, etc.
I'd say some works are worth reading for their artistic merit.
Nietzsche was a great stylist and his works are very entertaining, and a full understanding of them can't be attained outside of actually reading them.
Kierkegaard and Kant will bore you to death though, that shit would never be worth it.
Aristotle, Kant, Nietzche, Von Mises, Hayek and Hoppe.
in that order
Kant is only boring when you don't understand him. Just like math is boring when you don't understand it. Except Kant is a lot easier to understand and read than your average math paper, so you really have no excuse.
Understanding Kant is the first step on your road to not being average. You will pick up bits and pieces of these other philosophers and think you understand it, but you won't unless you read Kant, because they're all in his shadow. Even Derrida and Wittgenstein.
So the general consensus is to either read an intro book or start with Plato and Aristotle, then do the bible+Augustine and Aquinas, then Descartes, then whoever? Or is there some specific order to go in after Descartes?
Fair shout, Russell's book is dumb but the language is accessible and it's comprehensive (in that it covers all the key schools of thought that a beginner would want to at least acknowledge). That's why I recommend it as a historical overview for beginners. It's not without its shortcomings but I feel they're inconsequential for a beginner.
It was perhaps a gross oversimplification. If you want to do philosophy for philosophy's sake then you will probably want to tackle the Socratic dialogues, The Republic, The Metaphysics, etc eventually. But to tell a newcomer to read ANY ancient primary text is straight up ridiculous. You need to learn how to read a philosophical text before you can grapple with the ideas or thesis a text trying to argue for. Starting with (as I've seen recommended before) the pre-socratics is such a baptism of fire that I'm hesitant to think of any anon who wouldn't be completey off-put almost immediately (unless you've experience of sustained self-study of some variety before - because how many anons have undertaken a multi-year endeavour to learn an entire discipline without academic guidance?)
In my undergrad degree everbody I knew started by reading one of those 'babby's first philosophy' text like Blackburn, Warburton, etc knock out. These will teach that you shouldn't read a philosophical treatise as a novel, or a textbook, etc but that you need to locate and engage with the arguments sustained throughout. After you grasp this you move onto some modern influential papers or easier stuff like the enlightenment thinkers. Ancient philosophy is normally taught by theme and rarely will it be recommended that you just tackle an ancient philosophers entire body of work. It's just not a fruitful way for a modern reader to engage with the ideas.
No, I repeat, no modern academic has ever studied philosophy in an entirely chronological manner. It is far too vast an undertaking, what you're suggesting. After reading an introductory text you will get a feel for which area of philosophy you are interested in.
If you enjoy metaphysics you will pick out the works of authors which are relevant. If epistemology interests you, then you will pick and choose accordingly.
Can you imagine how long it would take, from a cold start, to read and digest several thousand years of philosophical argumentation on the whole? Their are sub-disciplines within sub-disciplines, and you will struggle to advance if you take this completionist stance.
Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you should not read ANY primary texts. Just that you should avoid ones whose interest is merely for historical context and understanding the arguments therein.
Funnily Kant is one I personally would recommend reading. The Transcendental Aesthetic in particular is a fascinating read.
I understand what you're saying, but the main thing I want to know is if there are any essential pre-requisite reads to being able to understand the specific people I mentioned in the first post.
I don't really plan on reading everything written by everyone ever, just a few things before the ones I mentioned in the OP to make them more manageable.
Okay, my recommendation: get through an introductory text, then use Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy to look up the specific philosophers you're interested in. The site is written by academics for other academics and students so chances are you will come across terminology and concepts that are still unfamiliar: use these to instigate further research and study. After you've digested the information on there, consiser reading the primary material.
Apologies for the earlier polemic but I honestly didn't want another '>start with the greeks philosophical' casualty.
Daily reminder that someone like Quine (and nearly all of his contemporaries) did not value History of Philosophy. Quine admitted that only once in his career did he teach a class on History of Philosophy, and that was Hume.
From a modern POV everything that is < 20th century is literally outdated philosophy; studying it won't prepare you for the 20th century, let alone the 21th. Unless, of course, you actually want to be a historian of philosophy. If so, then by all means dig into Kant's original work and all the literature that has spawned since his death. Thorough study of just one figure will take you decades, probably.
Also, a reminder: you won't understand or outsmart Kant if you haven't mastered and understood his predecessors. You need to understand that these men devoted their entire lives to raw thinking. You're an absolute madman if you think you will 'get' Kant on a first read. Even Aristotle is light-years ahead of you. I mean it. So, to outsmart someone like Kant you need to be equipped with modern techniques that Kant & co didn't have back in their days. But if you want to understand Kant's work, Kant's reaction to his predecessors, you essentially need to understand the dialectic that came before him, and not just what he alone wrote.
I've been here long enough to understand that "start with the Greeks" is just a meme. I guess I was willing to entertain the notion of doing Plato and Aristotle because most "start with the greeks" memers typically mean --all-- of the Greeks.
I personally don't think Plato is important unless you want to understand Greek society itself.
If you read Aristotle he replies to Plato well enough and he is much more important and influential since he has conclusions and engaging with him isn't overshadowed by exegesis.
>haven't read a single paper in contemporary analytic philosophy therefore 21st century philosophy doesn't exist xDDDDDD argument-face
I don't believe in the memes. From what I have seen it's always either "(cherrypick/two sentence generalization of entire work)? lol. What a dumbass. Lemme show you how we do it in the current century" or it's "EVEN THE GREEKS KNEW THIS" (insert unnecessary quote). Or the more sane version "Like Kant said.... here is my addendum to this".The mentioned idea is always there in plain sight. Worst case I can look it up. Not once have I seen someone take a predecessor and toy with their ideas using THEIR framework, their rules, giving it true justice.
I do wonder how many insecure young brains have gone to waste so far because they deemed their own ideas and minds inferior to those central figures of the past. Now I'm not a philistine but when I read on reddit and on here that "when I was a sophomore I thought I had it all figured out BUT THEN I read.." it breaks my heart. That guy could have DEVELOPED his ideas but he chose to submit instead. Treating anything he himself ever thought or potentially could come up with like second hand crap.
If you actually want to study the history of philosophy, find out that Y thought like X or how X influences Z to this day then fuck what I'm saying. This extends beyond philo of course..
But honestly speaking are there really so many historians here or rather young men who want to explore their minds, think about shit, write shit down. Potential geniuses all around me. Makes me wonder.
Makes me wonder just how much of this 4chan reddit alphabeta porn deal is killing off talent. Potential brilliance and greatness.
Haha look at the projecting buffoon and his grade school English.
It's real nigga hours give me a break
But seriously low self-esteem in intelligent young men is a pandemic. Fuck the memes.
OP here. I already explore my own mind, think about "shit", and write "shit" down. This is just me wanting to compare notes with what I'm told are some of the greatest minds in history. Not out of some sort of misguided combination of an inferiority complex and hero worship, but because most of the people around me don't think or care about any of this stuff and I don't have the money to find many people who do IRL.
You don't think of yourself as inferior. That's good. I just wonder how much more you and everyone else could accomplish in less time if you cut out all the time wasters, mind corrupters.. just thinking about how much time it would consume to understand all the philosophers you listed. Then there's 4chan. Porn. So much unnecessary attention..
Eventually it will be time to say goodbye youthful vigor, hello sullen academic in his 40s. But at least you understood some other guy's work in its entirety. Ok no need to be cynic now. I just want us all to make it.
>But seriously low self-esteem in intelligent young men is a pandemic. Fuck the memes.
Where is the literature that can galvanize? Literature that adapts to this need of solidarity? Literature that can help someone escape their seemingly-atemporal depression?
Or the poetry. Poetry that isn't naive post-ironical complacency whose subject is the transitive relationship and their ethical fucking vacuity, or the doubly naive romanticism.
That would've been a more valid concern at a time where there even were actual opportunities. These days pretty much anything you do is going to be a waste of time for the first 4-15 years. If there's any real tragedy, it's that this kind of system was accepted by enough people to become legitimized and is allowed to continue existing.
>Philosophy itself is a waste of talent.
>It's about as pseudo - intellectual as it gets.
I suppose you define waste of talent as lack of usefulness to society?
I'm more concerned about the individual and his self respect. There's nothing pseudo about your own ideas, genuine, personal thoughts and beliefs, propositiions and conclusions..
To hell with everything besides the individual
this dude knows what's up, philosophy is some of the dumbest shit ever...i mean ok the greeks didn't know any better, but come on now, ppl still wasting time on this in the 19th century? hegel is so fucking stupid, ppl have to stop this bullshit
This is the closest one I could find.
What the fuck did you just fucking discursively perform about me, you little analytic bitch? I’ll have you know I graduated top of my class in the Frankfurt School, and I’ve been involved in numerous secret critiques of late capitalism, and I have over 300 confirmed deconstructions. I am trained in phenomenology and I’m the top ubermensch in the entire plane of immanence. You are nothing to me but just another signifier. I will dialectically reason you the fuck out with precision the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the rhizomatic network? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of poststructuralists across the continent and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the sickness unto death, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your Dasein. You’re fucking dead, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can deterritorialize you in over seven hundred ways, and that’s just with my bare hands. Not only am I extensively trained in existential anguish, but I have access to the entire arsenal of the ideological state apparatus and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable body without organs off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy exegesis your little “clever” comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn’t, you didn’t, and now you’re paying the price, you goddamn Other. I will shit words all over you and you will drown in it. You’re fucking dead, kiddo.
The fundamental step to be taken is to acquire self-esteem, everything else comes after. Holding yourself in high esteem.
You can't wait for literature to come and rescue you. Or more succinctly: Intellectual authority. If you don't yet know who you are or what you stand for it could very well be the chain that's keeping you "in your place". That is if we agree that YOU come first, everthing else after. And that your view of yourself changes everything. Love and solidarity are second nature when one has this down, I have witnessed it first hand. I struggle, but I can say I have seen the light.
Create your own might and acquire Eigentum. There I go myself, quoting some dead white guy.
But at least Stirner was a special white guy out of the bunch, I think we can agree.. he understood that there are concepts you can't put into words. Like the entirety of you. The only one.
>Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Kant, Kierkegaard, Derrida, and Stirner (not necessarily in the order I listed them)?
Plato > Aristotle > Descartes > Hume > Leibnitz > Kant > Hegel
Choose at random and learn everything you can about that book. It'll be very hard. But most philosophy deals with rarefied aspects of the same core problems, so knowing the right work inside and out can give you a sort of masterkey. Of course, this is a good way to get stuck eating from the trash can for a few years, but if you're careful you can avoid this.
>going straight from Aristotle to Descartes
Forgive my ignorance, but what did medieval philosophers actually contribute to philosophy?
They gave Aristotle's syllogisms funky names, and did a lot of work in theology. Apart from that, I can't think of too much.
Any specific books you'd recommend to a complete beginner in philosophy? I started reading Plato's dialogues, and have been reading them like a novel so far, didn't know it's the wrong way to go about it. Guess it's better to start with an introduction of sorts, then.
What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little intuitionist? I’ll have you know I graduated top of my class in the seminary and I’ve been involved in numerous secret readings of Plato, and I have over 300 confirmed histories. I am trained in pure idealism and I’m the top dialectician in the entire Prussian reich. You are nothing to me but just another spirit, I will sublate you the fuck out with reason the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me in metaphor? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of historians across Prussia and your footnotes are being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that negates the pathetic little thing you call your self. You’re fucking history, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can sublate you in over seven hundred ways, and that’s just with my first book. Not only am I extensively trained in undirected dialectics, but I have access to the entire corpus of western philosophy and I will use it to its full extent to show your miserable ass how unimportant you are, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little “clever” philosophy was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn’t, you didn’t, and now you’re paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit reason all over you and you will drown in it. You’re fucking negated, kiddo.
Read Aristotle until you're sick of him.
Read digests on the Stoics, Pythagoras, and Heraclitus
Read only The Republic by Plato.
Read the non-evangelical Christian works like Aquinas, Utopia, Give-her-the-dick man, and disregard all others
Read Dante because its thrilling.
Read your choice of Lutheran or Presbyterian works.
Read the upright men of the Isles: Adam Smith and John Locke.
Read by necessity Kant.
Read your choice of Hegel, Stirner, or Heidegger
Read something by Kierkegaard.
Read Decline of the West
Read either the Fountainhead or Return of the Primitive or both of Rand. You can safely disregard the rest.
Read nothing after Rand.
>Read nothing after Rand.
Opinion pic related-ed
OP, I started with Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit when I started reading philosophy about a year and a half ago. I then read Vygotsky, Adorno, Heidegger, Deleuze, Lacan, etc and felt I was getting a lot out of it, but so much of it I had only a weak understanding of. Pretty much in every book, there were strands throughout that I never understood and it slowed my reading down.
I have begun reading chronologically: Homer / Sophocles, Pre-Socratics, Plato, and now I'm making my way through Aristotle. I now feel that so much more has been making sense, and all throughout these ancient texts I see what I was reading in the modern era. The thing is, I don't believe I could be understanding the pre-socratics, Plato, or Aristotle very much at all without having read everything I did beforehand. I also don't think I would be interested enough to read through them.
I think if you don't already have a strong determination to do so, or don't know why they will be or were important, starting chronologically will disillusion you. You have to experience the desire to know first hand.
but what the fuck do I know, do what ya want, kid!!
You can read everything again and again.
I've made chronological lists of writers for myself, I have like 5 for some reason. It's always a compromise.
>But at least Stirner was a special white guy out of the bunch, I think we can agree.
We can definitely agree.
OP I recommend what some of these guys already said, that is you should read the works of those who wrote about what interests you. I have jumped around in philosophy and although I'm sure I don't understand everything there is to know of the guys I read, I found enough that I can say I benefited. My interests, for example, revolve around the religious and individuality so I have read Augustine, Descartes, Stirner, Kierkegaard and some others. Although there are occasional references to Hegel and Kant, they aren't so prevalent that you find yourself lost for not having read them. Also, depending on the translation (e.g. Hong for Kierkegaard, there are footnotes that have the excerpt of the work that is being referenced). Mine might be 'pleb' advice but unless you're studying this stuff with the intention of teaching it, I see no reason to concern yourself with retaining more than what interests you or what you think might be beneficial.
Best of luck brother.
Simon Blackburn's Think, and Nigel Warburton's Philosophy: The Basics, are literally the simplest introductions to philosophical thought. They will give you brief overviews/sketches of the various problems that philosophy grapples with. They are both lecturers at respectable universities and both are known for their teaching (rather than being known for ground breaking philosophy but being shite writers or whatever).
You will see the 'actual' thing that you are trying to do when you read philosophy if you digest one of these introductory texts. But a little advice:
-Whatever you are reading, try and pick out what the author is trying to convince you to believe.
-Try and engage with the ideas the author puts forth by comparing them to your common sense experience of reality (does it make sense? are there obvious counter-examples? do my beliefs render their thesis incompatible with my world-view?).
-Try and figure the thrust behind the argument the author is giving (for example, take into account the context that the author was writing in and consider how this would have effected their thesis (e.g. Aristotle finding nothing morally wrong with slavery, and writing in ancient Greece, a society built upon slavery).
Just try and remember that a work of philosophy is almost always an argument to get you to come to their opinion about something. Modern works tend to be very transparent in their argumentation (laying out premisses, and conclusions numerically for example), but the Socratic dialogues hide the argumentation behind the form of a conversation. Socrates never loses the arguments in the dialogues because it aims to convince you of his point of view. This is merely a method of trying to convince you, but just remember that philosophers have spent the last 2000+ years disagreeing with Plato, so there's plenty of contentious stuff in there.
One thing that no one seems to mention when they spout '>start with the greeks' is that you read a philosophical texts to understand the thesis that the author was arguing for.*
If you're not interested in trying to decipher ancient Greek writing then get the concepts from a secondary texts written with a modern reader in mind. There are plenty designed for undergraduate students with this idea in mind, so you should have no problem coming to terms with a lot of the ideas behind Plato and Aristotle's work without ever having read them.
This should not be taken as a discouragement from reading them, however. If you want to engage with Plato and Aristotle's arguments then you should read the primary texts. If you only want to know what Descartes, Nietzsche, or whoever, are responding to, then you only need to be aware of the main concepts which govern the ancient Greek philosophical systems.
*This is conveniently ignoring the fact that some philosophy may be read for its literary beauty, but then you are not doing philosophy, you are simply reading.