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  #1  
Old Jul 31, '09, 11:03 pm
mac9681 mac9681 is offline
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Default Good book on philosophy

I took an introduction to philosophy class many years ago and found it very interesting. I would like to learn more about Philosohy. Can anyone recomend a good book to start off with?

Michael
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  #2  
Old Aug 1, '09, 12:58 am
Areopagite Areopagite is offline
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Default Re: Good book on philosophy

The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric by Sr. Miriam Joseph is a book that I would generally recommend for beginners ... and everyone else. It's an incredibly clear, well laid-out technical manual of basic philosophical thought, based on Aristotle and Scholastic philosophy. It's perhaps the most clear and accessible presentation of its kind that I've ever encountered. It's tough, but it's manageable, especially if you are interested in mastering clear-thinking and the love of wisdom.

In terms of Plato's works. I recommend probably his work Euthyphro first. However, his work Gorgias is what changed my life forever, and really made me start to like philosophy. However, the first half of it is pretty tough, but the second half is much easier and it's the best half (it's where the character Callicles first makes his long monologue, just so you know).

Aristotle is a little more difficult than Plato, and I recommend Plato first. Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics is probably the first one to read. And then, eventually, his Metaphysics. And, just so you know, Aristotle's the man. With Aristotle, you can eventually move onto Thomas Aquinas and actually have some idea what's up.

General Metaphysics by Fr. John P. Noonan is a somewhat advanced but incredibly thorough outline of being. I recommend this for more advanced philosophy-readers, but it helped answer and clarify questions that I had my whole life. Little nitty-gritty things, too, that I couldn't quite sort out myself and were driving me crazy until this book answered it.

But, once again, I recommend starting with The Trivium because it introduces terminology and concepts that all these other works use constantly (and more or less all works of philosophy use).

Just out of curiosity, what kind of stuff in your intro class did you cover that you were particularly interested in?
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  #3  
Old Aug 1, '09, 12:58 am
Spock Spock is offline
 
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Default Re: Good book on philosophy

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Originally Posted by mac9681 View Post
I took an introduction to philosophy class many years ago and found it very interesting. I would like to learn more about Philosohy. Can anyone recomend a good book to start off with?

Michael
I will leave it to the others to recommend supporting books. My recommendation is George H. Smith's book "Atheism, A Case against God". Of course, only if you are interested in the "dark side". Otherwise just say: "Apage Satanas", and avoid it.
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  #4  
Old Aug 2, '09, 3:24 pm
Gottle of Geer Gottle of Geer is offline
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Default Re: Good book on philosophy

Quote:
Originally Posted by mac9681 View Post
I took an introduction to philosophy class many years ago and found it very interesting. I would like to learn more about Philosohy. Can anyone recomend a good book to start off with?

Michael
## Some names to look out for:
  • Frederick Copleston, S.J.
  • Brian Davies, O.P.
  • Etienne Gilson (in English translation)
Brian Davies, O.P. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Davies_(philosopher)

Categories: 1951 births | Living people | 20th-century philosophers | 21st-century philosophers | American religion academics | British clergy | British theologians | Christian philosophers | Dominicans | English academics | Philosophers of religion | Alumni of the University of Bristol | Alumni of King's College London | Fellows of Blackfriars, Oxford | Fordham University faculty | English Roman Catholics | Analytic philosophers

Stanley Jaki, O.S.B. (who died recently), is also worth reading.
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  #5  
Old Aug 2, '09, 10:42 pm
surritter surritter is offline
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Default Re: Good book on philosophy

"A Summa of the Summa" by Peter Kreeft. It focuses on St. Thomas Aquinas's writings of philosophy, in an easier-to-read format.
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  #6  
Old Aug 3, '09, 6:08 pm
mac9681 mac9681 is offline
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Default Re: Good book on philosophy

Thank you all for your responses. I will check out some of these.
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  #7  
Old Aug 3, '09, 6:23 pm
warpspeedpetey warpspeedpetey is offline
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Default Re: Good book on philosophy

Quote:
Originally Posted by mac9681 View Post
I took an introduction to philosophy class many years ago and found it very interesting. I would like to learn more about Philosohy. Can anyone recomend a good book to start off with?

Michael
St. Thomas Aquinas, the Summa, the heart of Catholic Metaphysics, all the ammo you will ever need.
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I have dealt with great things that I do not understand; things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know. -Job 42:3
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  #8  
Old Aug 3, '09, 6:30 pm
PadraigPearce PadraigPearce is offline
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Default Re: Good book on philosophy

Mortimer J. Adler wrote some very good introductory philosophy books. I can particularly reccomend Aristotle for Everybody, Truth in Religion, and Six Great Ideas. I'm just getting into reading philosophy and these books are a great help to make up for the education I never had. I found out about him because Peter Kreeft reccomends Aristotle for Everybody as a preliminary to reading his Shorter Summa.
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  #9  
Old Aug 4, '09, 1:39 pm
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Earnest Bunbury Earnest Bunbury is offline
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Default Re: Good book on philosophy

I liked the "Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective" by Norman L. Geisler and Paul D. Feinberg, because of the basis of Christianity and lack of novelties. It isn't an explanation but an overview of concepts, alternatives, and conclusions based on revealed truth.
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  #10  
Old Aug 4, '09, 1:50 pm
PadraigPearce PadraigPearce is offline
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Default Re: Good book on philosophy

Here's another good one. It's a bit dry, since it was written as a school textbook, but I found it fairly easy to follow.

http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-P...9418965&sr=1-1
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  #11  
Old Aug 4, '09, 5:49 pm
PoliSciProf PoliSciProf is offline
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Default Re: Good book on philosophy

Try Eva Brann's Feeling Our Feelings: What Philosophers Think and People Know. Susan Shell blurbs on the back: "To read Feeling our Feelings is to relive one's own early moments of intellectual awakening, with all the advantages of age and experience. Eva Brann proves to be a most steady and enlightening guide on an inquiry into the relation between life and thought that few have pursued so thoroughly." My sentiments exactly.
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  #12  
Old Aug 7, '09, 8:35 am
jfoges jfoges is offline
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Default Re: Good book on philosophy

I read a good book by Bertrand Russell called Problems of Philosophy. In the back of the book he suggests a series of books for those wishing to delve further into philosophy. The books are Plato's Republic, Descartes' Meditations, Spinoza's Ethics, Leibniz' Monadology, Berkely's Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, Hume's Inquiry, and Kant's Metaphysics. I majored in philosophy and I consider Russell's book followed by these selections to be a great introduction to philosophy. I just want to add though that Russell was an atheist, and most of the philosophers I mentioned are not Catholic. I think this is a good way to learn about philosophical thinking, whatever your personal beliefs or philosophical leanings.

I don't think it should matter though, that the philosophers are not Catholic. Philosophy is not a set of doctrines but a method of thinking, infact all it is is very clear thinking about some of life's most difficult problems.
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  #13  
Old Aug 11, '09, 9:26 am
otjm otjm is offline
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Default Re: Good book on philosophy

The series by Copleston, SJ is still in print - we used it in the late 1960's as the textbook for the History of Philosophy, which was a four semester course for anyone majoring in Philosophy. It is not necessarily easy reading, but is excellent for its overview. I think it is something in the range of 7 volumes; I would not go there unless I really wanted some serious reading and was willing to part with some cash.

Most of the surveys that amount to much are going to be heavy lifting. That is not to say they should be avoided, but philosophy itself is some heavy lifiting, and anyone who gives a thumbnail sketch will not do it any justice. One can read "original sources" but there is a marked difference between analysis of an individual's thoughts, and those thoughts themselves. "Thus Spake Zerathustra" may well be worth reading, but one would be advised to understand the background and rationale of it before jumping in.
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  #14  
Old Aug 11, '09, 9:27 am
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Wowbagger Wowbagger is offline
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Default Re: Good book on philosophy

A First Glance At Thomas Aquinas: A Handbook for Peeping Thomists by Ralph McInerny was a terrific read for me. Copleston's books on Aquinas also come highly recommended.

Perhaps you can tell that I'm quite a fan of Aquinas. Perhaps this is unsurprising, given where you are. I'd love to give you the title of a good general text, but I can no longer recall the name of the only one I really liked. Yes, in philosophy, your main focus should be on the philosophers, but a good textbook can give invaluable context and elucidation. So hopefully someone will have a good recommendation for you.

So, whom should you be reading?

Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Mill, Hume, Kant, Sartre, Hobbes, Rousseau, Nietzche, Augustine. That's my list, at least.
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  #15  
Old Aug 11, '09, 10:06 am
alforo alforo is offline
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Default Re: Good book on philosophy

An Introduction Of Philosophy' by Jacques Maritain published by Sheed and Ward.
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