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Letters From A Stoic by Seneca. 1952) West is a heavy hitter in social philosophy, having pioneered the school of … This post appeared originally in Common Sense Ethics. We’ve compiled our “must-read” philosophical books. They are fairly systematic, but Aristotle does have tendencies to approach an issue from multiple vantage points, to treat a matter in outline and expect you to fill in some of the blanks, and occasionally to stray from the topic. She’s rightly viewed as a feminist, since she carried out some cultural analysis still largely relevant today, and made a strong case for equality between women and men. Whether you realize it or not, you are actively engaging with those thinkers you read and the ideas and arguments they propose to you. All of this is really nonsense. And though he is grappling with difficult concepts, his writing is quite clear and approachable. The same goes for textbooks, or histories, or popular literature. In this short and accessible dialogue, Plato deals about Socrates’ death and through this draws the figure of the philosopher. I waver a bit when it comes to who to endorse as the best author for your initial encounter with Stoic philosophy. Powered by WordPress. Who is the easiest, and least complex philosopher to read? When people ask where they ought to begin in reading philosophy I always suggest starting with Plato. Do that too long, and you’re going to find reading primary texts not only more difficult, but also more frustrating. The good news is that you can study and learn in the field of philosophy just fine without that. I decided to keep the list relatively short. Best Philosophy Books for Beginners: Introductory and Surveys. And different readers are going to come away with different things — usually a mishmash of some rightly understood points and other mistakenly mixed up ideas — when reading the same texts. He or she is a philosopher acknowledged almost universally in the profession of being of first importance!” My answers to this would vary, depending on the figure being proposed. But his thought does provide an excellent introduction to — and example of — a Scholastic way of proceeding in philosophy. You’ve probably seen this book lying around your … Jacques Derrida and Martin Heidegger are among the most challenging I've encountered. Candide is often under-analyzed, reduced to the denunciation of religion and fanaticism. There is no basic conflict running down the ages between Platonist idealists and Aristotelian realists, between empiricists and rationalists, between collectivists and libertarians, or whatever other good guys and bad guys (since such narratives inevitably lurch in that direction). There are points to argue in favor of Seneca or Marcus Aurelius, but when it comes down to it, my judgement is that Epictetus just is the better choice. Thomas Aquinas was a prolific writer, and among his most important contributions is the massive (and unfinished) Summa Theologiae. There is also a lot of fascinating philosophical argument going on in these, especially in the Phaedo, and you’ll get introduced to some of Plato’s own key ideas. It is a seminal classic of Utilitarian philosophy, but precisely because of his penchant for distinctions, examples, and enumeration, after a while, it can become a bit mind-numbing. But, there is quite a lot that a first time reader can get out of his works as well. Before being a field of study, it is above all a way of seeing the world, of questioning it. But it’s also one that I get asked pretty regularly. The site thus covers the main philosophical traditions, from the Presocratic to the contemporary philosophers, while trying to bring a philosophical reading to the cultural field in general, such as cinema, literature, politics or music. Even with generally decent histories of philosophy — like for instance that of Friedrich Copleston — you really shouldn’t put too much faith in the story the author is telling. Why is that, you might wonder? ), happiness (and the weight of the everyday) , religion, capitalism or anti-intellectualism. While most everyone has heard of ancient Greek celebrities like Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates, there are also the French philosophers like Voltaire, Descartes, and Sartre. At the end of the post, I’ve listed the top 3 books recommended by all respondents. To varying degrees, all philosophers are difficult to understand. If you really want to understand the time period, this is the book to read, just have a lot of free time ready, because its a long read. Note: The speech is simple, at least in appearance. I find similar issues often arising when teaching John Locke and David Hume as well.

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