16 comments. And when reading Plato, of course, it is important to start with the early dialogues, and only after having read those to go on to the middle. This is actually a difficult question — which philosophical texts are best for beginners? If you come away from an initial reading of Plato or Descartes, and you feel like you solidly grasped everything you read, that feeling is very likely wildly off-base. It gives you some sense of what philosophy can and does look like. The fact is, it does not really matter, best just to pick one and start. That being said, ‘The Will to Power’ is quite different from his other works. I will suggest (as other did) to read something that was not written by Nietsche for Nietsche. The volume I recommend here contains a number of good representative selections from that Summa, and a lot of other interesting material. And given how important his teacher, Socrates, was in Plato’s own philosophical development, why not begin with these dialogues that set out the drama of Socrates’ trial, conviction, imprisonment, and execution? The first of these can be summed up in the question: “Which book or books should I read first?” What is often lurking behind this question is a concern about “getting it right” when it comes to studying philosophy. And even more good news, if you’re suffering from that anxiety, you can — if you choose to — set it aside. Why is that, you might wonder? But I hammer the point home that, when we are studying philosophy, we are focusing on the thinkers themselves, reading their actual works, discussing ideas drawn directly from their texts, and making them communicate their insights to us in the present. save hide report. I start all of my students off with primary texts. After all, philosophy does have a reputation for being difficult, deep, abstract, challenging — particularly by comparison to many other fields of study — and rightly so. Sticking with the secondary literature is a rather sanitized experience like sitting on the couch, playing a video game, rather than actually getting out and walking in, looking at, smelling and touching, the rich and complex world available to you. The same goes for textbooks, or histories, or popular literature. Then again, neither do those of any other teacher, author, or practitioner in the field. Not trying to be condescending, but to echo the poster above, please don't become yet another cliche Nietszchean douchebag. Augustine was a highly prolific author, and a solid philosophical education will inevitably involve you in reading at the very least several other of his works, but the Confessions really is an excellent work to start with. But hopefully, for those who do want to begin studying philosophy in a serious way, they can give you at least some useful starting points. There is no doubt on my part that practically everything I’m writing here could be contested or criticized by someone. history of phil., political phil., continental phil. I came here to upvote "The Birth of Tragedy" but nobody had recommended it. He's a very charismatic writer but easy to misunderstand. With rare exceptions, most of the later philosophy worth reading is written by people who were fairly conversant with at least some of the thinkers who preceded them. Looks like you're using new Reddit on an old browser. My only excuse is that — letting you in on an industry secret — that’s pretty much the best you’re going to get when it comes to advice about philosophy.. It is interpretative — reading isn’t just a passive transfer of information from the thinker into your head. If you were just to read academic journal articles (which unfortunately is what happens at some schools) you could certainly be forgiven for thinking that is what philosophy should look like, the form it should appear in.
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