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7/07/2015 4:51 pm  #1

How to be a Philosopher

I know a lot of those who post here and at Dr. Feser's blog have a great interest in philosophy but little or no formal training. I was thinking that this thread could be a place to offer advise and resources to those who wish to increase their knowledge of philosophical tools, methods, and general foundational knowledge, whether they wish for just a little more knowledge or are trying to become self-taught philosophers.

So, if anyone has any advise, whether on areas to study, authors and works that are a must read, methods to argue better and present arguments better, important books or other resources, and so on, please post them here. Any topic that you see as an important foundation for a would-be philosopher, from informal reasoning to foundational mathematical or even scientific knowledge that some might feel important for contemporary philosophy, is welcome.

Obviously, different schools of philosophy have different ideas about how to conduct philosophical investigation and what foundations are necessary (An Analytical Philosopher may well feel Predicate Logic is a basic foundation for philosophy today, whereas a Continental Philosopher and even some Thomists might think it quite unimportant) and even individuals may have different ideas of what is basic to philosophical inquiry. So, if needs be some background on your basic philosophical approach or the reasons you offer some particular advise or resource would be good.

Of course, questions from those seeking knowledge are also welcome.

Last edited by Jeremy Taylor (7/07/2015 4:53 pm)


7/08/2015 6:03 am  #2

Re: How to be a Philosopher

A quick recommendation for those coming to modern philosophy with a basic background in Thomism
Metaphysics, 3rd edition - Michael Loux
The most comprehensive, most accessible introduction Analytical metaphysics out there. It requires one to hit the ground running and have some prior general philosophical knowledge e.g. to know what a substance or a universal is, but overall this is a book I'd recommend to anyone who’s serious about engaging with modern philosophy. I will also add that Loux is sympathetic to Classical metaphysics and provides a powerful defence of universals.

(Note: a PDF of this volume can easily be found online)

Introduction to Phenomenology - Dermot Moran
This volume is not, despite what the title says, an introduction to Phenomenology but an overview of the various philosophies which grew out of that movement. It's less impressive than Loux’ book but over all a good intro to Continental Philosophy
I would also suggest Logicola, a free program for building up one's knowledge of 'Modern' logic i.e. Propositional, Predicate and Quantified Modal. One could also buy the designer's book on the subject, which is good though maybe too quick for the absolute beginner:
Introduction to Logic - Harry Gensley


7/08/2015 8:42 am  #3

Re: How to be a Philosopher

Anyone who reads Moran should also tackle his:

The Phenomenology Reader

If you want to actually get a feel for doing that approach try:

Experimental Phenomenology, Second Edition: Multistabilities - Don Ihde 


Introduction to Phenomenology - Robert Sokolowski 

Fighting to the death "the noonday demon" of Acedia.
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It is precisely “values” that are the powerless and threadbare mask of the objectification of beings, an objectification that has become flat and devoid of background. No one dies for mere values.
~Martin Heidegger

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