32 Answers

  1. In my opinion, it is better to start with introductory works, such as the book “What does it all Mean? A Very Brief Introduction to Philosophy” by Thomas Nagel and “The Nature of Philosophy” by Alexander Nikiforov. It is better to read them in pairs with each other: the first introduces a foreign (more precisely, Anglo-American) approach to philosophy, the second – with a domestic one. They are quite different, so it will be interesting to compare them.

    Both of the above-mentioned works are structured thematically, that is, they give the reader an overview introduction to the main philosophical problems. In other words, they are devoted to what philosophy is, what problems it deals with, and how these problems are solved by modern authors. But it is also important to turn to the history of philosophy in order to understand how philosophy was formed, how it developed, and how it came to its present state. Here it is best to follow in chronological order in order to understand the course of development of philosophical ideas. For the first acquaintance, if there is no preliminary preparation, you can choose simpler literature, for example, D. A. Gusev's book “Amazing Philosophy”.

    It is worth remembering that the simpler and more popular the work is written, the more schematic and simplistic it is. However, to begin with, it is important to form a general picture, and then, having roughly oriented yourself, carefully read the philosophers who are interested, the directions, and the corresponding philosophical problems.

  2. I would say this: from those philosophical works in which a high intellectual level is combined with artistic merit. There are quite a few of them. For example, Plato's dialogues “Feast” and “Phaedo”, Descartes '”Discourse on the Method”, something from Nietzsche's works. Say, ” Beyond good and evil.”

  3. From a course of lectures by Oleg Mikhailovich Nogovitsyn. The course is available online and everything is chewed up, because the main thing here is to get involved. And then-Plato, Aristotle, Lucretius, etc. There, you see, and to Hegel and Kant slowly get.

  4. I advise you to start with the basics. The works of Plato and Aristotle are not so difficult to study, you can start with them. “The art of winning arguments. Thoughts” by Arthur Schopenhauer. Freud's writings on psychology will not be superfluous. The works of Kant and ONLY after that you will need to read Hegel's tudy “The Science of Logic”. Well, from Eastern philosophy, you can read the writings of Lao Tzu, Confucius. The Bushido samurai codec will not be superfluous.�

  5. Ask a question in the language of your country

    there is only 1) religious philosophy at the theology level(by Contour, stage 1 of 3), or 2) diamat, not recognized anywhere in the world. This is very bad. – It all depends on the country (NB! sic!).

    In English, continental theoretical philosophy is not studied, it is empirical for the Anglo-Saxons, and the English language has no potential for systemic philosophy. they never go up.

    In France, philosophy as a subject is studied at school, there is a rich literature even for schoolchildren to choose from.

    I would take a textbook on Kant from France.

    But the system philosophy is of course only in German. It is inspiring that people in Russia download 90 volumes of Heidegger in the hope that they will eventually learn German! Bravo! Delight!

    You are being lured into a trap to discourage philosophy by reading original works without preparation!

    Just 2 books I strongly recommend for the very beginning, they will go in Europe and in North America, and in Africa, and in Australia, and in Asia, although in Russian, the very first. They are free from the shortcomings of other Russian books on philosophy. After studying them systematically (the texts are structured) you will be able to enroll in any university or doctoral program in continental Europe, but you will take the original German exam, complete it with 20th-century literature (separate question), and get a European scholarship (approximately 1,800 euros for a doctoral program).

    1) Kulpe O. Introduction to Philosophy (translated from German). Publisher: LKI. Year of publication: 2007, Pages: 384. ISBN:

    978-5-382-00111-1. –

    2) Philosophy in questions and Answers, edited by Prof. Alekseyeva A. P. and Assoc. Yakovleva (MSU). Publishing house: Avenue. Year of publication: 2004. Pages: 336.

    For doctoral studies, you will need another book, not available by default without the first two, covering the 20th and 21st centuries:

    Schuman A. N. Transcendental philosophy. Minsk, Ekonompress Publ., 2002, 415 P. (In Russian) –

    And this should be a real result, the earnings of a professional philosopher in Europe are 4-5,000 €, in Switzerland it is 2 times higher, which is much higher than the average.

  6. Among other things, it is also important to understand that there is no universal philosophy that is suitable for absolutely everyone. Someone is more suitable for one teaching, someone else. Therefore, to study philosophy in one direction and ignore the others is only to limit yourself. You should start studying philosophy at least with popular science literature, and not immediately take up the primary sources, which will not be very clear and will discourage you from continuing to understand something.

    Reading primary sources is fashionable, but pointless. For example, you can read the Tao te Ching and not understand anything special, although you can feel some experience, or you can read the Tao of Winnie the Pooh and get a good understanding of the basic principles and topics of Taoism in a clear language.

    Therefore, first of all, philosophy should be studied according to perceived texts that relate to our modern culture. Such texts are now quite sufficient.

    An attempt to pick up old volumes often ends with a loss of interest and a conviction that philosophy is something incomprehensible, overly abstract and inapplicable in life.

  7. Before starting to study philosophical primary sources, I recommend reading introductory books on philosophy.

    1. A. M. Rudenko – “Philosophy in diagrams and tables”
    2. Antiseri D., Reale J. – “Western Philosophy from its origins to the present day in 4 volumes”

    Required logic:

    1. Bocharov V. A. Markin V. I. – “Fundamentals of logic”

    And then the choice is yours. You can start with modern philosophers of the XX-XXI century, or you can start with ancient ones and move forward in chronological order. The second method seems more correct to me, but it will require more effort. The full list of books can be found in my articleHow to start studying philosophy

  8. Traditionally, the study of philosophy begins with the period of antiquity, since it was then (in the so-called Western society) that philosophy emerged. They study ideas about matter, time, and spiritual substances. Heraclitus, Xenophon, Plato, Aristotle, many others.

    Perhaps there are other methods of studying philosophy in other cultures, where they start with other personalities and concepts.

  9. From the fact that you need to understand that philosophy is not verbiage, but the ability to find meaning in any thing, or internal connections between prophetic ones. The word itself, philosophy, is a Greek word. Philo – love. attraction. Sophia – divine wisdom. If there is no desire to know the wisdom of the Creator, or just to have an atheist mindset, then all these abstruse speeches are anything but philosophy.

  10. First of all, you need to understand that there is no spontaneous path in philosophy. You should study philosophy systematically, moving from one teaching to another, and not make leaps and choose authors you like spontaneously. I can recommend the existing educational project PHILOSOPHER&Me (philosophiya.ru), where exactly this approach is presented. It is based on the lectures of the well-known academic teacher A. N. Muravyov, who begins with Ancient Greece, indicates the primary sources for reading and thus goes through the entire classical philosophy.

  11. In my opinion, a person who was repeatedly forced to study philosophy (in a specialty, in a master's degree, in a graduate school), the best manual for most Western philosophical schools is “History of Western Philosophy” (the full title is longer) Bertrand Russell. It has been reprinted many times in Russian, is perfectly translated and contains a competent, fairly complete and quite understandable abstract review of philosophical teachings starting from ancient Greece.

    This book has two significant disadvantages. First, Russell does not mention non-European philosophical schools, even the most famous and influential ones. The second is that the philosophy of the XX century is almost not affected. But after carefully reading IZF ,you will already be able to get acquainted with these areas of philosophical thought on your own

  12. Azbuka Publishing house published two courses of lectures by Merab Mamardashvili: “Lectures on Ancient Philosophy” and “Essay on Modern European Philosophy”, which he read to VGIK students in 1978-1980. I think this is quite suitable for beginners : first, M. Mamardashvili's authority is not in doubt; secondly, the lectures are designed for an untrained listener. Here is a quote from lecture 1:

    “The course of lectures that I will give is an overview of modern European philosophy, its main trends and schools; I repeat, European philosophy, because it is impossible to cover the roots and it is difficult to talk about them without assuming that you have some solid knowledge, and this last assumption is, of course, impossible for me. Therefore, I will assume that you know almost nothing about what we will have to talk about.

    We will try to do this: I will not tell or retell the content of philosophical teachings. You can read about this in descriptions and reviews of the history of philosophy. Then I'll give you a list of the literature you need to read, and it would be nice if you read it in parallel with the lectures. But to understand what I will tell you, in general, there will be no need for you to know the systems specifically for one simple reason: I will try not to tell the texts, but to identify some basic cross-cutting ideas that are the core of modern philosophical culture, permeate all directions equally, are their, let's say, crystallizations, which in different expressions, different forms are found in different authors and in different philosophical directions, thereby creating a certain unity of style of modern philosophical thought. That's the first thing. Secondly, I will simply try to give you a sense of what philosophy is, regardless of whether it is European or non-European, old or new, and whether we criticize it or not.”

    Look for the ABC Classic series, paperback, gold spine.

  13. Before you ask yourself where to start, ask yourself why? A serious study of philosophy has an irreversible effect not only on the worldview, but also on the psyche, and not always in a positive way. However, if you are so desperate that you want to fully understand this science, start with Greece (Thales and other Ionian comrades). Read only primary sources, and commentator literature forms only a generally accepted opinion. Do not take philosophy seriously, even if its logic is impeccable, make allowances for the age in which the philosopher lived and his ideas about the world. It is bad for your health to read Criticism of pure reason at once, so be patient! If you decide to limit yourself to a narrow set of topics, such as social philosophy, which is particularly popular recently, then you may not only become a recognized intellectual among your friends, but also enjoy studying it. If you are interested in ontological problems, it is useful to always have a physics textbook at hand. In a word, decide why, and what to read is a secondary question.

  14. I would recommend that anyone who wants to delve into philosophy should start with Karl Popper's works, first of all — “All people are Philosophers”,” Assumptions and Refutations “and”The Open Society and its Enemies”. Further — “Unfinished search” and “Objective knowledge”. In terms of clarity of presentation, depth and value of ideas and human position, few people can compare with him.

  15. If you follow the question posed, then with yourself! And from what surrounds you. But how, it's up to you to decide… if you want to be able to choose from something, then taking into account external opinions, all work out your own early. Without knowing the world around you and your place in it, there is no philosophy. You can not just “study” philosophy, after reading everything and everything, you will become a polymath, but not a philosopher.

  16. My answer will probably sink in the cons.

    But still, from my point of view, if you don't know anything about philosophy at all, then the easiest way to understand what's what, although with a lot of generalizations, is with short course books, small ones that are usually bought by students who have not studied anything during the semester.

    Naturally, such a book will not give you a complete understanding of philosophy, because everything is as concise and generalized as possible, but it will give you a list of the main philosophical figures and the names of their main works.

  17. Not from whom, but from what ? All philosophy and all sciences are tied to the knowledge of the laws of the universe, you need to study the basic laws of the universe(the laws by which everything in the universes lives) and then you can do whatever your heart desires.

  18. The pinnacle of philosophy is Hegel's “Science of Logic”, which summed up all the best from previous works and gave philosophy further development. Therefore, you can study something else, of course, but you should keep in mind that you are not studying the best. Do you need it? For a beginner, the “Science of Logic” is an unusual thing, to put it mildly. The words seem familiar, but what's what is not clear. Philosophical terminology. You need to get used to it. Just like in any other science. Read it once, twice, three times, and then dig in. There is a “Circle of lovers of Hegelian dialectics” on YouTube – it will greatly help in studying.

  19. I advise you not to read authors of the 19th century or so.

    The most accessible of the introductory course “Philosophy and Art of Modernism” by Kulikova. The book is full of propaganda of Marxism, a special pleasure to find propaganda and think in a different direction. The book is notable for providing an easy and accessible introduction to the philosophy/art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as an understanding of the very serious term “modernism”

    The most remarkable and accessible work is not from the introductory “Existentialism is humanism” by Sartre. A very good course of audio lectures on existentialists by P. Ryabov will also go, you can find it on VKontakte.

    And between them, it would be cool to watch Zizek's “Pervert Movie Guide” about post-modernism, so that you can taste the charm of the madness of this century.

  20. To get started, you can read the following “introductions” (not necessarily in this order)::

    1. Nagel T. What does all this mean? A very brief introduction to philosophy

    2. Teichman J., Evans K. Philosophy. A beginner's guide.

    3. James W. Introduction to Philosophy; Russell B. Problems of Philosophy (these are two different books, but they are under the same cover).

    4. Lowe S. Philosophical training.

    5. Lowe S. Filosofskie istorii [Philosophical Stories].

    6. J. Bajini A pig that wanted to be eaten.

    7. Russell B. History of Western philosophy.

    8. J. Passmore One hundred years of philosophy.

    9. J. Passmore Modern philosophers.

    10. Gorder Y. The World of Sofia.

  21. Hello) my interest in philosophy started after I started reading books. About people society love success and so on…

    in short, all sorts of questions and dialogues with myself began to spin in my skull. these questions I still have. I've been reading books for at least 2 years now. So don't worry the philosophy itself will appear to you after reading the books))

  22. First, look at some course of lectures. The study of philosophy should begin in stages (that is, from antiquity to modernity), since philosophers very often refer to philosophers of past eras ( for example, if you start reading Aristotle without reading Plato, you will not understand why Aristotle criticizes Plato). I also advise you to evaluate B. Russell's book “The History of Western Philosophy” (a very useful book in terms of information, but approach carefully because the author quite a lot criticizes opponents of humanism and liberalism, this is noticeable literally from the first chapters). And finally, if you undertake to study not the era as a whole, but an individual philosopher, then do not forget to support your knowledge with lectures about this philosopher.

  23. The study of philosophy begins at the age of 4, when you begin to evaluate and reflect on your own and other people's actions, creating in your head a way of thinking that makes it either smarter or more stupid and stubborn.

    Philosophy is all your thoughts and arguments that accumulate in your head, you are philosophy, if you are certainly smart for this, but judging by the fact that you asked such a stupid question – you are not smart and can not even start philosophizing, because you will have stupid and delusional thoughts )

  24. If I were the questioner, I would start with Nietzsche.

    “Thus spake Zarathustra” and “The Will to Power”

    Ayn Rand would have continued.

    “Who Needs Philosophy”, “The Virtue of Egoism”, “Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology”, “Romantic Manifesto”

    There are two ways out of there:

    a) appeal to those on whom Rand relies (Aristotle, his Nicomachean Ethics), or to those whom she criticizes (for example, Kant).

    b) to address issues that Rand and her followers cover poorly, such as the presence of free will and the nature of consciousness, here I advise you to contact the site stanford.edu (In any case, I advise you, even if you will not be interested in whether you have free will or not)

    In addition, I advise you to subscribe to the /r/philosophy subreddit (you will have to register on Reddit) in order to stay up to date with the cutting edge of modern philosophy, as well as to have the opportunity to participate or initiate discussions with other amateurs and professionals in the field.

    Accordingly, in parallel with this, it will probably be easier for you to understand where you have gaps that need to be filled in. Hegel, Marx, Plato, Zizek and others, whatever you can reach.

    That's how the actual “introduction to philosophy” went for me, I hope this will help the questioner.

  25. Before starting to study philosophy, it is very important to correctly assess your level of training. If you are, for example, a lawyer, psychologist, or art critic, then most likely you have already encountered philosophy either in the course of the history of philosophy, or studied philosophy by profile (for example, lawyers study philosophy of law, writers and sociologists study social philosophy, etc.). In this case, you can safely start studying any period of interest, since there is no general philosophy, it is different in every era and in every culture. You can start Greece by studying Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle. China-Confucius and Lao Tzu, the Western Middle Ages-Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, etc. There is already more than one good way to do this.

    If you are an engineer or a mathematician, you want to understand your disciplines more deeply from a new worldview. Take any textbook on the philosophy of natural science or the philosophy of science that you like, and then you will understand where you should go deeper.

    If you do not have any higher education, God forbid you from the originals or university textbooks. Start studying classical philosophy from school textbooks, there are such books now, there are many good ones, do not be shy about it, you will be able to understand the basics of the teachings and understand what direction you are interested in, since the author of the question will not be able to fully embrace philosophy. But to find a philosopher close in spirit, who will answer long-tormented questions, it is quite feasible.

    If you want to get involved in modern philosophical thought through fiction, then this is also a good start. Of our own, you can start with L. Andreev, of course, Dostoevsky. From the Western ones-G. Hesse, Sarthe, Camus, Ionesco-a good knowledge of these authors, even one of them, will help the brain to earn money in the right direction, be known as an aesthete and expert among friends, find answers to the main questions of our time-most people limit themselves to this and do the right thing. And it is not necessary to puzzle over the metaphysics of Aristotle or the dialectic of Hegel – for many, immersion in serious primary sources causes only hostility and rejection of the subject)

  26. I would suggest starting with the works of Gottlob Frege and Frank Ramsay (the latter, fortunately, is presented in a Russian-language collection). After them, you can pay attention to the” Science of Logic “by G. W. F. Hegel and “Principles of Ethics” by J. E. Moore

  27. The concept of philosophy, the stages of its comprehension, originated in ancient Greece, from Thales. The first concept is introduced by Pythagoras, the word “philosophy” is introduced by Plato.

  28. You need to start not with someone, but with something. First of all, with the study of psychology and logic. And this does not mean that you should grab the first textbooks, or even scientific papers, and swallow them as soon as possible, thinking that this is how the learning process takes place. First, you need to choose digestible literature, for example, Chelpanov's pre-revolutionary textbooks (and it doesn't matter that they are “outdated”, because they convey a living experience, and not modern writing for schoolchildren, designed for rote learning). Then start processing them slowly. What does it mean: the meaning of each sentence you read is realized in your own acts of cognition. For example, start tracking the structure of each of your mental acts. “I look out of the window; I use my vision to perceive color (sensation, perception); the combination of colors causes me a sense of calm, which can be reduced to a sense of pleasure (feelings, emotions); my visual perception does not disappear after it is perceived – I can recall what I saw a second ago, even if I close my eyes (memory); the image evoked by memory consists of sensations, but is inferior in completeness to those; I conduct an analysis of perceptions due to the activity of my attention, that is, my will (attention, will, I).”

    Any information gleaned from textbooks should be translated into the act of learning. Once you have a complete understanding of the content of psychology and logic textbooks, you can start studying the history of philosophy, referring to the primary sources and identifying the problems developed by the first philosophers. At the same time, the analysis of problems should be active. That is, the question of” nature ” (in the philosophical sense of the word) should be decided not by philosophers, but by you. What is behind this concept? Acts of perception, imagination, or inference? If they are conclusions, then what is their structure, and what evidence should be used to arrive at the concept of “nature”? Questions should not be abstract, they should be focused on reality. What is nature, fusis? By turning my attention to what objects or relations of objects I can say that I know “nature”. In everything that you experience here and now, you should look for “traces” of this “nature”.

    In the same way, it will be necessary to analyze each of the concepts that arise in the course of the historical development of science, to look for a connection between them, since philosophy examines not the individual (not individual objects), but the universal – the continuity, coherence given to us in the acts of knowledge. It is also not worth getting extremely carried away, since there is a risk of continuing cognitive activity in the walls of a madhouse, and they do not particularly contribute to philosophical forms of knowledge. Don't forget to relax and get distracted!

    In general, it doesn't matter who you take on at the beginning of the journey, if you can't perform the elementary mental and logical acts that are the basis for philosophical knowledge. But for the sake of a gradual introduction to philosophy, it is highly advisable to start with the first Greek thinkers. It will be difficult to understand them, but when you get used to it and can navigate a little bit in the range of issues that were raised before Plato, you will be able to take the first steps of modern European philosophy. Its further development has a progressive character and is associated with an increasing range of problems and with an increasing intensity of cognitive “forces”, so to grasp Spinoza, Leibniz, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel and many others is like spending your whole life on the couch and suddenly decide to run a marathon of 100 km. Only in the case of philosophy will you not break down, and you will have a false impression of understanding, since you will, in fact, begin to read books in a language that you will not have knowledge of.

    You also need to know English. This is an absolute minimum, since you will not find any proper reference literature in Russian, and there are still no translations of important classical texts or their interpretations. The language, by the way, is studied in the same way. We learned about the language and immediately started using it in our experience. What I feel, feel, and think, I try to express in the language I'm learning. And I spend more time on it than I spent on getting information from books.

    Well, that's probably what an “introduction” to philosophy should be. Since everything will have to be experienced firsthand, it will be much more fun than memorizing modern textbooks, or even half-consciously absorbing classical works.

    Good luck to you and all those who are interested in philosophy as a cognitive activity.

  29. well, if you start from the very beginning, then the idea of philosophy will be given by the book “History of Philosophy of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome” in 2 volumes by Frederick Copleston, where various teachings are shown and explained in general terms, from pre-Socratics (starting with the early philosophers from Miletus, VI century BC), to Neoplatonism (the Alexander School for example). He has other books about different periods.

  30. A person begins to philosophize, not yet knowing the type of his activity. A. Chekhov has the following: “quiet, no one does anything, everyone philosophizes.” Do you want to study? Then only science – the dialectic of materialism.

  31. It depends a lot on what you're interested in, but if you're a complete beginner, here are some tips::

    1) Do not take it upon yourself to read the works of philosophers of past centuries in the original, they were not written for the masses, with a large number of technical terms, and so on. The only exceptions are probably the ancient Greeks.

    2) Websites and textbooks are also not the best material, as they are often dry and boring

    3) Long books discussing one particular topic, if this branch of philosophy is not to your liking, then it is unlikely that you will read it to the end.

    Take it:

    1) Books for beginners (with the possible exception of “for dummies”, it seemed to me personally, although detailed, but boring)

    2) introductory books, such as an introductory guide to ethics, or philosophy of religion, etc.

    3) The thinner and / or more colorful it looks, the better, because you wouldn't want to read Markov without knowing anything about biology.

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