Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Philosophers

Philosophers
December 04, 2007, 12:00:38 AM
I am after a concise recommendation of philosophers to read over the next 3 month holiday I have. Lets just say I've read a lot of wiki's and biographies on philosophers but none of there works themselves as i have no idea where to start.

So far im thinking:
Nietzsche
Kierkegaard
Hegel

But which of there works is most representative of there philosophies I would not know. I could just use the wikipedia as a guide but i prefer not to for obvious reasons.

I think I might speak for a wider group of individuals who are interested in the field of philosophy but just dont know where to start. Thanks in advance.

Re: Philosophers
December 04, 2007, 12:58:34 AM
I've heard Kierkegaard isn't a good start, but I haven't read him myself. Would also be interested to see the recommendations on this thread.

Re: Philosophers
December 04, 2007, 02:00:36 AM
I haven't read Hegel or Kierkegaard yet, but I own all of Nietzsche's books, though I haven't finished them all yet. It'd probably be a good start to read one of his aphoristic works first, like The Gay Science. Thus Spoke Zarathustra is amazing, but its more of a work of literature than a philosophical work. Those two books would be good to start before you go onto his later works (Beyond Good and Evil, Twilight of the Idols, etc.).

On second thought, if you want a "representative" work, Beyond Good and Evil is probably the way to go.

Though I haven't read Hegel, his book Phenomenology of Spirit is his major work, but I've heard that you should read some of his shorter works first (I couldn't give you any names here). You also might want to read some Kant first, as his philosophy is kind of the starting point of Hegel's.

Re: Philosophers
December 04, 2007, 02:57:00 AM
Kierkegard is good. I'm not sure which works either. Kant is also a good one to start with.I also reccomend Voltaire. And of course the greeks. Aeschylus, Socrates, Plato, Plutarch, and the guy who's name sounds like Pear(sorry, brainfart, forgot his name, but good early transcendental philosophy to be found there).

I've found the Socratic method to be a great thing to learn. It helps in any discussion, and I've been able to lead discussions between people with many differing viewpoints using the Socratic method. It was also useful in coming to group consensus, that everyone really felt good about. Great thing to learn.

Re: Philosophers
December 04, 2007, 03:11:04 AM
Quote
Nietzsche
Kierkegaard
Hegel


The second two are pointless, postmodern trash.

You should start with the Greeks.

Re: Philosophers
December 04, 2007, 03:50:05 AM
Quote
You should start with the Greeks.

Yes, this is important advice.

Chronology is important in philosophy, every new idea was a response, restatement or advancement on what came before it.

Very few, if any major philosopher, is readable without an understanding of what came before.

If you take shortcuts and skip a few thousand years then you will get lost and not get as much out of it as you otherwise would.

Three months is enough time to give you a very basic overview and understanding of the Greeks. It'll get you up and running.

Also remember to "read around" each author / work and study the cultural and political events, happenings and attitudes of the time (and from previous eras). Also understanding the art of the time helps too. These heavily influence what a philosopher had to write.

It's useful to start off with short summaries of each philosopher to refresh and expand on the knowledge you already have. Penguin has a few useful books of this description and there are plenty of others.

Once you've read some of these move more into depth with specific ancient Greek philosophers (but keep in mind that some of these don't have complete backlogs of material still available, hell some of them only have a few fragments.

Re: Philosophers
December 04, 2007, 03:50:51 AM
Quote

The second two are pointless, postmodern trash.

How on earth is Hegel post-modern?  ::)

Re: Philosophers
December 04, 2007, 03:51:59 AM
Although you didn't say it explicitly, if you're new to philosophy, Nietzsche probably isn't a great place to start. I recommend Plato's The Republic, as although it can be long and tedious, it's pretty much the cornerstone of western philosophy and a must-read for anyone seriously interested in this field of thought.


Re: Philosophers
December 04, 2007, 06:16:14 AM
Even though I don't absolutely agree with everything Nietzsche wrote, I think his general DIRECTION, the means by which he approached the world, was totally spot on. He also demonstrated the total, impotent idiocy of virtually the entire school of thought we call 'philosophy'.

I would actually NOT recommend reading anything by the Greeks except for Plato's Republic, perhaps.

Other thinkers of note:

Julius Evola - demonstrated  the metaphysical/mythic system that dominated and animated the "Traditional" world, and used this to show the reasons for the modern condition of ever expanding catastrophe and disintegration.

Oswald Spengler - illuminated the organic nature of societies using a modern historical approach. His frightening revelations were too scary for the academic community he was a part of, so he was swept under the rug.

That's my contribution off the top of my head.

shadowmystic

Re: Philosophers
December 04, 2007, 06:30:09 AM
Schopenhauer's The Fourfold Root is mandatory.

As far as traditionalists go I prefer Guenon and Schuon over Evola, though he is interesting to read also.

Re: Philosophers
December 04, 2007, 02:39:57 PM
Kierkegaard's work is useful in evaluating faith as opposed to pure reason, though his 'proto-existentialist' and pro-judeochristian traits might mark him as an enemy of romanticist thought.

In my opinion Teilhard de Chardin (another Christian) is an essential read for anyone interested in the nature and essence of faith and its evolution. Several interesting parallels with Evola/ traditionalism can be noted especially in the points of view on 'evolution' and whether it has any purpose other than simple survival.

Re: Philosophers
December 04, 2007, 02:54:20 PM
The most interesting Greek philosophers are Aristotle, Plato and Plotinus, with whom compared the rest is a waste of time.

Re: Philosophers
December 04, 2007, 03:07:16 PM
Aristotle is celebrated as the first zoologist and botanist the world has known. Democritus was the first atomic physicist. (European) Christianity is basically a re-interpretation of Plato's theory of forms. The Greeks were ahead almost in all scientific fields conceived today (and much of their knowledge was lost without being ever recovered) so perhaps that's truly the best place to start from especially if you're of a scientific bent.

By the way, Plotinus was most probably Egyptian, not Greek.

Re: Philosophers
December 04, 2007, 06:12:30 PM
Quote

The second two are pointless, postmodern trash.

You should start with the Greeks.


I don't agree with what most members said about Kierkegaard, but it is true that you should not start with either him, Hegel or Nietzsche. To read Greek philosophy is essential, make sure to read the original books, no interpretations. No philosopher ever been as astute as Socrates was (at least from what Plato wrote).

If you want to start reading some Kierkegaard, which I suggest you to do, read the "Diary of a Seducer". It is more of a psychological book, but yet it is the most enigmatic book about relationships I read. Perhaps, after reading this you could read to whole "Either/or" since the "Diary" is part of it. It is important to know that Kierkegaard wrote under many different names and that perhaps his most sincere thoughts are in his Journals. Unfortunately, his Journals a bit messy and hard to understand.

One member posted a very edifying article on Nietzsche and Kierkegaard's recently. http://www.anus.com/metal/hall/YaBB.cgi?board=deathmetal;action=display;num=1196228851

chrstphrbnntt

Re: Philosophers
December 04, 2007, 08:11:23 PM
For philosophically oriented fiction, try Crime and Punishment, The Plague, and Waiting for Godot -- by Dostoevsky, Camus and Beckett, respectively.