Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Learning Path for Philosophy?
1 point by szemy2 on May 10, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 4 comments
I have been consuming philosophy/philosophical themed content for a while, but I am looking to make my overview of philosophical discourse more structured. I need a well-planned learning path. The aim is not for me to become a professional philosopher, but to have an overall understanding that is deep enough to be useful. Naturally, as there is no set outcome, the journey should be preferably enjoyable :)

Stuff I have read/listened and enjoyed a lot:

- [PODCAST] Philosophize This http://philosophizethis.org/

- [BOOK] The Cave and the Light, Arthur Herman https://www.amazon.com/Cave-Light-Aristotle-Struggle-Civilization/dp/0553385666

- [BOOK] Platon: Apology | Sophist | Symposium

- [MOOC] Introduction to Philosophy: God, Knowledge and Consciousness https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-philosophy-god-knowledge-mitx-24-00x-2 <- this was great in structure, but there was no clear continuation

- [BLOG] Philosophy Bro https://www.philosophybro.com/ <- explains concepts clearly

- [BOOK] Camus: The Myth of Sisyphus | The Stranger

- [BOOK] The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Karl Popper <- loved the clarity

- these came into my mind

What I didn't enjoy:

- [BOOK] I tried reading Schelling's Philosophical Inquiries into the Essence of Human Freedom (got it as a present: someone thought I was patient/smart enough to read it, guess they were wrong) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_Inquiries_into_the_Essence_of_Human_Freedom

- I tried reading Kirkegaard, super depressing.

- Wittgenstein is the kind of philosopher who I really really want to understand, but the style of writing is so difficult I would need much more training to be able to follow it.

I enjoy Metaphysics, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind and some parts of Ethics.

Do any of you have a good learning path?

I appreciate any input!

> I have been consuming philosophy/philosophical themed content

That might be a good way to start but you should not see it as something to "consume". You can consume all the philosophical content of the world, but if you don't put in the work to reflect and internalise what you consumed it's not much better than consuming netflix shows. It's very easy to fall into this trap these days, lot's of podcasts and youtube channels about self improvement, making it fun &c. while in reality they're just scraping the top of a bottomless pit of knowledge. It's like a new form of entertainment / feel good hobby.

You also have to be careful about where you get your infos from, (over) simplification (like on https://www.philosophybro.com/) can be detrimental. It took decades for some philosophers to articulate their ideas, you have to dig into their work if you want to truly understand the authors.

Find an author you like, stick to it. Read about him/her, naturally you'll discover other authors & themes gravitating around him/he. It'll slowly open up your horizons. Learn about the history of philosophy too, very interesting and it can give you hints about what you'd like to learn.

> Be careful, however, lest this reading of many authors and books of every sort may tend to make you discursive and unsteady. You must linger among a limited number of master-thinkers, and digest their works, if you would derive ideas which shall win firm hold in your mind. Everywhere means nowhere. When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends. And the same thing must hold true of men who seek intimate acquaintance with no single author, but visit them all in a hasty and hurried manner. - Seneca

Thanks, this is great advice! Do you have any suggestions/favourite "master thinker" you think would be worth starting with?

Btw.: I used the word consume because I couldn't come up with a single word for reading books, listening to podcasts and going through a course :) I am not a native speaker.

Well I like down to earth philosophy that I can incorporate in my day to day life, I really enjoy Seneca and Epictetus in that regard. But it's not really related to > Metaphysics, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind

Read Ayn Rand's title essay in her anthology "For The New Intellectual" for the history and current state of Western thought.

Applications are open for YC Winter 2022

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact