This topic coms up so ofen (on /lit/) that i hav decided to rite this post so that i can just link to it and copypasta from it wenever i need to anser that question again. A cached anser.

Q: I want to get into philosophy, what should I read?

A: Basicaly, ther ar three aproaches.

1) The history aproach

Basicaly, giv the person a history of filosofy and let him reed that, and then reed up on the stuf he liked in it, if anything. Typical books recomended for this aproach ar:

Bertrand Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy.

Anthony Kenny’s A New History of Western Philosophy

LessWrong recomends: The Great Conversation, 6th edition, by Norman Melchert.

I find this aproach very boring and bad. Bad becus it does not inform the reeder wich stuf is important to pay atention to and wich stuf is not. Most works of filosofy cosist of mostly trash, so such (good) advice is important.

2) The topical aproach

This one is eesy and not so bad. Basicaly, one shud start reeding about the stuf that interests one in filosofy in good sources. If one is compleetly unfamiliar with the scolarship on som particular subject, Wikipedia is probably the best place to begin (as with prety much everything els).

Wen Wikipedia is not enof, ther ar primarily two good sources to go to next:

1) SEP = Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and 2) IEP = Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Somtimes, neether of thees hav anything worthwile on the topic or somone els has somthing worthwile on the topic. Using Google is helpful as one may discover very valuable sources of information.

3) The textbook aproach

The last aproach is not used as much as it shud (the first aproach is almost always used, regretably). It is simple. Giv the person a textbook on filosofy. Not surprisingly, books designed to be good at introducing a person to a topic ar usualy the best at the job, this aplys to filosofy as wel. I particularly like W. V. Quine, J. S. Ullian – The Web of Belief, but other peeple tend to like Russell’s The Problems of Philosophy.

Thees days, ther ar a variety of choices to choose from, including many internet options.

Q: Wat do u sujest?

I sujest a mixtur of (2) and (3) with a litle bit of (1).


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