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Social Philosophy |OT| where to begin?

ProudClod

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Fuck most of this advice. People are overloading you. Ignore everything but what I'm about to say.

There are tens of thousands of super interesting philosophy books, and at least a few thousand that would be considered "seminal" (in their respective disciplines and geographical areas).

Problem is, most of them are a really shitty place to start.

Most "academic" philosophy work written in the past 100 years is so far up its own ass it should only be read as a curiosity.

At best, it's pedantic drivel that attempts to mask fundamental problems of knowledge and logic with infinite regression and unnecessarily complex meta analysis. At worst, it's unreadable drivel that'll make you feel like a dyslexic child having a stroke.

Seriously, try reading this.

Further, the most fascinating philosophical problems were identified thousands of years ago. Today's philosophy is still dealing with the same exact problems that the ancient Greeks identified - albeit with a more modern language, a larger pool of anecdotal cultural experience to inform their intuitions, and more layers of bullshit.

And the unanswered philosophical dilemmas? Well - there's way too many too list in this post.

So, I say there's only two logical starting points.

Either:

A) Start with the existential questions you find most interesting (death, reality, logic, knowledge, morality etc.), and just go down the rabbit hole in whatever direction curiosity takes you.
B) Start chronologically. Begin with the foundational questions that people have been writing down since they could write, so you could enjoy reading subsequent generations failing to answer them.

Actually, I lied, there's a secret option.

C) Start with the Eastern traditions if you like to trip on acid and listen to Alan Watts videos.

Source: I have a Bachelor of Philosophy.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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Fuck most of this advice. People are overloading you. Ignore everything but what I'm about to say.
Why did you proceed to parrot what people already offered? I thought you were going to wow us with new insights.

Source: I have a Bachelor of Philosophy.
That would explain the cookie-cutter outlook on philosophy. Your curiosity and hunger for knowledge were beaten out of you! ;)

Instead of telling the rest of us how useless most of philosophy is, how 'bout you put that useless degree to good use and contribute your knowledge to the thread. I have no formal philosophical university schooling so I'd love to hear insights from higher education.
 

iamblades

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If people feel like adding to the list or proposing changes, feel free to mention me in your comments and I will update the list accordingly.
Pretty decent list. Two works that absolutely should be added to the list are The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith(much overlooked compared to his more famous second book), and Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. The latter of which is is hugely important and influential, even if not entirely original.

I am also personally very partial to Bastiat's The Law, as far as political philosophy goes. It also has the advantage of being a short pamphlet that can be read in like an hour, which is nice.
 
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strange headache

Fluctuat nec mergitur
Jan 14, 2018
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Ignore everything but what I'm about to say.
How very philosophical of you...

A) Start with the existential questions you find most interesting (death, reality, logic, knowledge, morality etc.), and just go down the rabbit hole in whatever direction curiosity takes you.
Which is the exact same approach that has been proposed in this topic.

That's a perfectly fine paper comparing two different positions on determinism.

Source: I have a Bachelor of Philosophy.
I wasn't aware they were handing out bachelor degrees in gumball machines nowadays.

Pretty decent list. Two works that absolutely should be added to the list are The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith(much overlooked compared to his more famous second book), and Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. The latter of which is is hugely important and influential, even if not entirely original. I am also personally very partial to Bastiat's The Law, as far as political philosophy goes. It also has the advantage of being a short pamphlet that can be read in like an hour, which is nice.
Sure, do you have any particular notions and sourced you'd like to add as well?
 
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iamblades

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How very philosophical of you...



Which is the exact same approach that has been proposed in this topic.



That's a perfectly fine paper comparing two different positions on determinism.



I wasn't aware they were handing out bachelor degrees in gumball machines nowadays.



Sure, do you have any particular notions and sourced you'd like to add as well?
The Theory of Moral Sentiments

Notions: morality, ethics, individual rights.

Meditations

Notions: pretty wide ranging, but mostly Stoicism

The Law

Notions - individual rights, natural law.
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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I like the Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy
(note the url, plato.stanford, but it covers far more stuff than just plato)

I recommend entries on time, consciousness, and free will for a start.
Good source.

Maybe it's a crutch, but I keep several references handy when studying philosophy. Quickly looking up a term instead of fumbling through a text is essential. It's a good discipline to have, generally speaking, even if you've sharpened your ability to infer meaning from context.

I thought their article on transcendental idealism was packed with details.
 
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Breakage

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hey Breakage Breakage what's the status on this? Reading anything interesting?
Hey man, I downloaded a bunch of books (Voltaire's Candide, Aurelius' Meditations, and a book on the history of Western philosophy) on to my Kindle. I plan to look through them at the weekend, hopefully. I thought it was worth getting the history book to help me get a structured idea of how things developed.
Also picked up A Clockwork Orange (was gonna mention it in your thread on dystopian novels) as I feel it's quite revelant to today's England.
 

hariseldon

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A Clockwork Orange is absolutely wonderful. I really did enjoy it. I'll be back on the philosophy soon enough, but after I finished Neuromancer (also amazing) someone here mentioned Children of Time which also turned out to be brilliant. Too many amazing books, not enough time. History Of Western Philosophy first probably to get the basic primer before I hit the hard stuff.
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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Hey man, I downloaded a bunch of books (Voltaire's Candide, Aurelius' Meditations, and a book on the history of Western philosophy) on to my Kindle. I plan to look through them at the weekend, hopefully. I thought it was worth getting the history book to help me get a structured idea of how things developed.
Also picked up A Clockwork Orange (was gonna mention it in your thread on dystopian novels) as I feel it's quite revelant to today's England.
Nice! Looking forward to hearing what you think of those.
 

hariseldon

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Currently working my way through A History of Western Philosophy to give myself a basic primer before deciding where to go next. Really fascinating stuff, gets the brain juices flowing nicely. The author's preferences and biases are fairly transparent, which is no bad thing. It's actually really exciting to question where my ideas of morality come from and to see some history behind how the ideas of my time, of which I am clearly a product, came to be, and how the human condition can be manipulated (Plato's Republic and its relation to Sparta was particularly fascinating, if absolutely fucking terrifying too). Anyway don't mind me, just bumping an epic thread.
 
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Shai-Tan

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I wouldn't worry too much where to start. Just find something well written on a topic you're interested in. If you want a general overview you're probably better off auditing intro philosophy lectures online or listening to podcasts like philosophy bites, philosophy 24/7 or philosophy talk. If you must read an overview of (western) philosophy maybe try A Little History of Philosophy by Nigel Warburton. Once you've got your feet wet with popular works in your chosen topics then you can check out summarizing series like Blackwvell's or Cambridge Companion to x type books

I was told to read classic works initially and for me that was a huge mistake because those works need context and supports to interpret.

edit: other podcasts with some more, some less interesting episodes, maybe too much academese in some of the latter ones - meaningoflife.tv, In Our Time, very bad wizards, pansycast, the philosophers zone, the partially examined life, history of philosophy without any gaps, philosophy bakes bread, hi-phi nation, rationally speaking, the forum for philosophy, political philosophy podcast, interventions, the verdict,
 
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ROMhack

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Good bump. One of the beautiful things about philosophy is that it's entirely worthless. It's an inherently flawed object of concern which is totally remiss in a society where exactitude is expressed with sincerest reverence. To study philosophy is to study a history of human intellect in all of its deformities and virtues. There's no actual starting point but a book such as A History of Western Philosophy is an excellent primer for delving into topics that interest you.
 
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OSC

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I think we all strive for our ideal, our vision of a perfect ideal world, held back by our constraints, yet by transcending our limitations I believe we can indeed attain entry into an ideal world, though it may be alien to the standards of man.
 
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Scotty W

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Plato- Republic, Symposium and Apology

If you are going to get started, I think it is important to have good writing.

Descartes- Meditations

The beginning of modern philosophy

I like histories of philosophy. Bertrand Russell is good if biased; Frederick Copleston is useful; one of my first books was a big DK picture book called the Story of Philosophy.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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ill have to watch this later. i read his book Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! and it was really great. he talks about his love of safe cracking and also his work on the Manhattan Project.
 
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Shai-Tan

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Tesseract

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easy dude, feynman loved philosophy
 

Shai-Tan

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easy dude, feynman loved philosophy
he's on record with similar nay-saying quotes like "“Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.” and "Scientists are explorers. Philosophers are tourists." but you're right we shouldn't inflate disciplinary sniping when he was clearly interested in philosophical questions. see for example this conciliatory article:

 
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Doc Honk

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Subbed. Looking forward to recommendations. Anything to cure the postmodern depression. Went back to episode one of "Philosophize This". Easy to listen to on the weekends in the mornings.
 
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Doc Honk

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Hope it's not a problem to share some thoughts, ask some questions? Ignore this if it doesn't relate to you or your philosophy. I might post a video that relates to what I'm about to say.

I spent yesterday trawling through some Twitter accounts of professors and PhDs and career specialists who are in the field of Teaching English as a Foreign Language and I was left in utter shock and amazement. The whole undercurrent of the field is changing from objectivity to madness. I'm kind of in the field myself and had no idea the philosophical base for teaching English as a worldwide language was changing so much. Every single professional, every single post, was about the evilness of white skin colour, and minority non-standard Englishes being brought to the forefront. I found this through a Polish TEFL equity blog and I hadn't really looked into the scene before yesterday. No joke, it was like Clown World.

So my thoughts are that this madness needs to slow down. I worried about how it is to dissect these postmodern (?) ideas and I realised that it is that each individual is responsible for their actions, not the group identity that were born into/live through. Identity politics is massively running the future of teaching English, even down to teaching the singular pronoun they/them in school books going forward (I know this "they" thing is a surface level thing, almost a joke, but it's there). Nothing else is being researched or recommended as learning techniques or material other than racism racism racism.

Like I say, as I'm kind of in the industry and I believe in the Enlightenment philosophies/real compassion of Buddhism, I find it a danger to society that this is it. Countering this change will have real world repercussions, as a non-believer of this cult will find themselves without a job, and it's difficult to argue against the postmodern attack on objectivity in language teaching and standard values.

TL;DR English Language as a Foreign Language internationally is being dissolved into identity politics philosophy and it makes me sad. Here's some cool videos if you don't care about this. Have a nice day GAF, I mean well.

Edit: I guess if this is a ""where to begin with philosophy" thread, my interest lies in trying to understand the half a millennia (?) of anti-reason and the current destruction of decent people's values.


 
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DunDunDunpachi

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Doc Honk Doc Honk I can offer a silver lining. Post-modernism seems to result in either nihilistic inaction or cult-like overreaction from its adherents (and of course, I'm painting broadly because few people are introspective enough to go "aha, yes, I am a postmodernist therefore I believe..." ).

We are seeing it with the increasingly-flaccid political power of these movements. We are seeing it when comparing birthrates between liberals and conservatives. Their ideology can only subvert, it can't really build. It is why their efforts to 'build' new rules for language feel so disjointed and contrived. It won't last. At worst, some sympathetic tech company like Grammarly or Google will fold their fake language rules into their autocorrect services for awhile.

Like the die-hard hippies of yesteryear, they are burning too fast and too brightly, so they will be left without substantial money or children to pass on their ideas to future generations. The fact that they must parasitically latch onto government artifices (including public education) to pass on their ideology should be taken as a sign that they are 'sterile', unable to reproduce under normal means.
 

Doc Honk

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Doc Honk Doc Honk I can offer a silver lining. Post-modernism seems to result in either nihilistic inaction or cult-like overreaction from its adherents (and of course, I'm painting broadly because few people are introspective enough to go "aha, yes, I am a postmodernist therefore I believe..." ).

We are seeing it with the increasingly-flaccid political power of these movements. We are seeing it when comparing birthrates between liberals and conservatives. Their ideology can only subvert, it can't really build. It is why their efforts to 'build' new rules for language feel so disjointed and contrived. It won't last. At worst, some sympathetic tech company like Grammarly or Google will fold their fake language rules into their autocorrect services for awhile.

Like the die-hard hippies of yesteryear, they are burning too fast and too brightly, so they will be left without substantial money or children to pass on their ideas to future generations. The fact that they must parasitically latch onto government artifices (including public education) to pass on their ideology should be taken as a sign that they are 'sterile', unable to reproduce under normal means.
Interesting, thanks. It's fast but it's insidious too. And it's on the fringe as a subversion, but my concern is that next generation we will see ideas being taught that are, dare I say it, inhumane, lol. It seems that as it's such a powerful movement, that people copy it without being aware of the deeper levels it works on, they follow the trend. I'm no expert, far from it, I'm just trying to learn. My silver lining is that I can learn to counter this toxic philosophy with some Aristotelian ass-whoopin'.
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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Interesting, thanks. It's fast but it's insidious too. And it's on the fringe as a subversion, but my concern is that next generation we will see ideas being taught that are, dare I say it, inhumane, lol. It seems that as it's such a powerful movement, that people copy it without being aware of the deeper levels it works on, they follow the trend. I'm no expert, far from it, I'm just trying to learn. My silver lining is that I can learn to counter this toxic philosophy with some Aristotelian ass-whoopin'.
Yeah I think it's all bluster and no substance. Social movements built on these kinds of ideas can last a few decades but this isn't even the most effective version of their parent ideology (marxism). The speed and intensity should be taken as a symptom that there is little to no underpinning structure, so whatever power they might seize will be lost in the inevitable cultural shift.

Sandcastles, nothing more.