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Recommended Philosophical Reading


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#1 Cap'n Refsmmat

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Posted 2 March 2010 - 10:56 PM

I'm sure there are some members here with their favorite philosophical writings. Let's make a sort of reading list, shall we?

So, what kinds of philosophical books do you like?
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#2 ecoli

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Posted 2 March 2010 - 11:19 PM

Some things currently on my desk/ recently finished:

Philosophy of David Hume by Norman Kemp Smith - so far seems like a good overview and well written. (original David Hume is pretty dry, if you ask me)

Introducing Empiricism - A neat book that goes over the major players and concepts. uses cartoons and graphics, so also a fun read and great if you like to visualize concepts.

Logic: a Very Short Introduction
- This was a great little book that goes into philosophical and mathematical concepts. Especially handy as a reference because it's not too long.
- an audio book lecture about Western and some Eastern ethics. Wasn't a big fan and wouldn't recommend it. I got it for free.

Machiavelli - The Prince.a classic I've been meaning to get to.

What Would Socrates Do - an audio lecture on western and some eastern ethics. Wasn't very good and I wouldn't recommend it. but it was free for me.

Also some original works by Kant, Hume and Locke, the titles of which slip my mind.

Essays concerning rationality by Eliezer Yudkowski (free material, on Bayesianism, etc)

Along similar lines, and from the same author, [URL="http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Sequences"]The LessWrong "sequences"
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#3 Genecks

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Posted 3 March 2010 - 05:17 AM

How about some wiki articles, too?

http://en.wikipedia....ientific_method

Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.[1] A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.[2]



http://en.wikipedia..../Falsifiability

Falsifiability or refutability is the logical possibility that an assertion can be shown false by an observation or a physical experiment. That something is "falsifiable" does not mean it is false; rather, that if it is false, then this can be shown by observation or experiment. The term "testability" is related but more specific; it means that an assertion can be falsified through experimentation alone.


http://en.wikipedia....gical_anarchism

Epistemological anarchism is an epistemological theory advanced by Austrian philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend which holds that there are no useful and exception-free methodological rules governing the progress of science or the growth of knowledge. It holds that the idea that science can or should operate according to universal and fixed rules is unrealistic, pernicious and detrimental to science itself.


http://en.wikipedia....iki/Physicalism

Physicalism is a philosophical position holding that everything which exists is no more extensive than its physical properties; that is, that there are no kinds of things other than physical things.


Edited by Genecks, 3 March 2010 - 05:22 AM.

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#4 Sisyphus

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Posted 3 March 2010 - 04:29 PM

A Treatise of Human Nature, by David Hume, is the work of his I'm most familiar with. My senior year thesis in college was actually about this book, and how it can lend some persective to early problems in quantum mechanics. (If you can believe that.) I didn't find it dry at all, personally, but by that time I was used to reading some far more dry philosophy.

If you want to know where science comes from, I recommend The New Organon, by Francis Bacon. Or A Discourse on Method by Rene Descartes, if you don't mind obnoxious Frenchmen.

Other philosophers that might be of particular interest to the scientist or science enthusiast are Leibniz (probably better known as the simultaneous inventor of calculus with Isaac Newton) and Spinoza (of the frequently invoked by Einstein). But honestly, they might be more of the "don't try this at home" variety for curious laymen.

Guys like Kant, Hegel, Nietsche, etc. are going to be more important to philosophy generally, but I don't know they could really be approached without a background in all the earlier philosophers they are responding to.
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I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

#5 ecoli

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Posted 3 March 2010 - 05:29 PM

A Treatise of Human Nature, by David Hume, is the work of his I'm most familiar with. My senior year thesis in college was actually about this book, and how it can lend some persective to early problems in quantum mechanics. (If you can believe that.) I didn't find it dry at all, personally, but by that time I was used to reading some far more dry philosophy.


Isn't that the version of an earlier book that he re-wrote because the original wasn't well received? (because it was too dry?) Or am I thinking of a different one.
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#6 Skye

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Posted 3 March 2010 - 05:58 PM

If you want to know where science comes from, I recommend The New Organon, by Francis Bacon. Or A Discourse on Method by Rene Descartes, if you don't mind obnoxious Frenchmen.

Other philosophers that might be of particular interest to the scientist or science enthusiast are Leibniz (probably better known as the simultaneous inventor of calculus with Isaac Newton) and Spinoza (of the frequently invoked by Einstein). But honestly, they might be more of the "don't try this at home" variety for curious laymen.

Guys like Kant, Hegel, Nietsche, etc. are going to be more important to philosophy generally, but I don't know they could really be approached without a background in all the earlier philosophers they are responding to.


Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Wittgenstein is another one that's relevent to science.
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#7 Sisyphus

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Posted 3 March 2010 - 06:07 PM

Isn't that the version of an earlier book that he re-wrote because the original wasn't well received? (because it was too dry?) Or am I thinking of a different one.


Pretty much, yeah. It wasn't well received, so he tried to say the same stuff a different way. I don't know much about the historical context, to be honest.
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I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

#8 ecoli

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Posted 8 March 2010 - 10:19 PM

Pretty much, yeah. It wasn't well received, so he tried to say the same stuff a different way. I don't know much about the historical context, to be honest.

I think I was reading the first version. Could explain the differences in opinion about his writing style.
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#9 needimprovement

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 02:13 AM

So, what kinds of philosophical books do you like?

Saint Thomas Aquinas - Summae, De Ente et Essentia, Commentaries on Aristotle
Blessed Duns Scotus - Philosophical Writings
Aristotle - Metaphysics, Politics, Nicomachean Ethics, Organon
Plato - Timaeus, Republic, Laws
Seneca - On the Brevity of Life
Saint Augustine - Confessions
Dostoevsky - Brothers Karamazov
Jacques Maritain - Natural Law
Etienne Gilson - Aristotle to Darwin and Back, Christian Philosophy series
Mortimer J. Adler - How to Read a Book
Frederick Copleston - Aquinas
Alasdair Macintyre - After Virtue
Don't drink and derive. Alcohol and Calculus don't mix.

#10 Stefan-CoA

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 09:30 AM

For the younger folk I would suggest:

Sophie's World - Jostein Gaarder

Philosophy of Science - Geoffrey Gorham

And my personal favourite, although pretty hectic (especially if you're a bit behind on philosophy like myself)

Goedel, Escher, Bach - An Eternal Golden Braid - Douglas Hofstadter

And a painful introduction to language

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus - Ludwig Wittgenstein

A bit of art-philosophy mixed with brilliant use of language and a murder mystery

My Name is Red - Orhan Pamuk

Also Ayn Rand is very good, I'd suggest Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead

But to be honest there is so much out there, I suggest spending a good hour or two in a bookstore at their philosophy and/or science section and just go with what you like. From there on you can always go on to bigger things. Wikipedia as has been suggested earlier is also an excellent place to start and just go link-hopping from there.
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Oderint dom metuant

#11 rktpro

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 01:03 AM

The True Philosophy of Divine Love.
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#12 Guest_lab_supplies_*

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 04:22 PM

Thanks for the posts. I have never read any philosophical books but I want to get into it.
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#13 the asinine cretin

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 05:05 PM

I got carried away but what follows has been trimmed down a lot. Here are some texts that were interesting and stimulating to me at some point. A fairly eclectic sampling I think.

D. von Hildebrand, Ethics
D. von Hildebrand, The Nature of Love
M. Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics
M. Heidegger, Being and Time
D. Hume, Treatise of Human Nature
D. Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
A. Tarski, Introduction to Logic
D. Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea
D. Hofstadter, Godel, Escher, Bach
Kirk, Raven & Schofield, The Presocratic Philosophers
Lucretius, On the Nature of Things
H. Wang, A Logical Journey
J. Searle, The Mystery of Consciousness


I like a good history of philosophy as well. I can vouch for these:

F. Copleston, A History of Philosophy (9 volumes)
W.T. Jones, A History of Western Philosophy (5 volumes)

Edited by Ceti Alpha V, 27 September 2011 - 05:09 PM.

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#14 music

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Posted 5 June 2012 - 04:52 AM

One that I really love and encourage people with scientific interests to check out is Owen Flanagan's The Problem of the Soul: Two Visions of Mind and How to Reconcile Them.
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#15 smellincoffee

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 03:16 PM

The Consolations of Philosophy, Alain de Botton
Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
A Guide to the Good Life: the Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, William Irvine
Discourses, Epictetus
Enchiridion, Epictetus
Letters from a Stoic, Seneca
Analogues and Essays, Seneca
The Art of Living, Sharon Lebell (modern English interpretation of Epictetus' handbook)
Dhammapada
Plato's Podcasts, Mark Vernon
I to Myself, Henry David Thoreau
Essays, Michel de Montaigne
The Essential Epicurus
For the Love of Life, Erich Fromm

Just a few favorites. There's another I really like,but I can't "reccommend" it because in one chapter the author promotes homeopathy. (In Praise of Slow, Carl Honore).

Edited by smellincoffee, 24 July 2012 - 03:17 PM.

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"There is a grandeur in this view of life, in which endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." - Charles Darwin

#16 proximity1

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Posted 2 September 2012 - 05:12 PM

by Bertrand Russell:

A History of Western Philosophy

The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell

My Philosophical Development

by Neil Postman:

Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology ( a philosophical treatise on technology, science and culture)

and, my musings of last evening, found already-written brilliantly in this essay's exposition

by Stephen Maitzen:

Stop Asking Why There's Anything, (2011, Springer+Business Media )

.pdf link: http://philosophy.ac...itzen_SAWTA.pdf
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« The purpose of education is not to validate ignorance but to overcome it. ...And that's the onus on scientists. … If people don't understand these things, it means we're doing a bad job. And we have to do a better job. …. But we as scientists are not doing a—a—a good job at—at explaining what we're doing or why we're doing it. …. The point is that we, i—, i—if , if we, if we continue to alienate—as scientists seem to do with the public—then, then we're not, then we shouldn't be surprised if they, uh, if they don't support science. » --Lawrence Krauss in a public discussion at Stanford University on Sunday, March 9th 2008 with Richard Dawkins.

« The point is not to get—at least I don't think the point is to get—people to believe in evolution merely for the sake of believing in evolution. The point is to get people to think rationally about the data of their senses, and, and, to understand logical arguments, and, to, we—we want people to think in the style of science, not merely to sign on the dotted-line after each, uh, each, scientific finding. » --Sam Harris, 2012 Global Atheist Convention 13-15th April - Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre, Presented by the Atheist Foundation of Australia

#17 proximity1

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Posted 4 September 2012 - 12:06 PM

by Bertrand Russell:

A History of Western Philosophy

The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell

My Philosophical Development

by Neil Postman:

Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology ( a philosophical treatise on technology, science and culture)

and, my musings of last evening, found already-written brilliantly in this essay's exposition

by Stephen Maitzen:

Stop Asking Why There's Anything, (2011, Springer+Business Media )

.pdf link: http://philosophy.ac...itzen_SAWTA.pdf



additional to the above,

by Charles Darwin:

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life
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« The purpose of education is not to validate ignorance but to overcome it. ...And that's the onus on scientists. … If people don't understand these things, it means we're doing a bad job. And we have to do a better job. …. But we as scientists are not doing a—a—a good job at—at explaining what we're doing or why we're doing it. …. The point is that we, i—, i—if , if we, if we continue to alienate—as scientists seem to do with the public—then, then we're not, then we shouldn't be surprised if they, uh, if they don't support science. » --Lawrence Krauss in a public discussion at Stanford University on Sunday, March 9th 2008 with Richard Dawkins.

« The point is not to get—at least I don't think the point is to get—people to believe in evolution merely for the sake of believing in evolution. The point is to get people to think rationally about the data of their senses, and, and, to understand logical arguments, and, to, we—we want people to think in the style of science, not merely to sign on the dotted-line after each, uh, each, scientific finding. » --Sam Harris, 2012 Global Atheist Convention 13-15th April - Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre, Presented by the Atheist Foundation of Australia

#18 ydoaPs

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 06:55 PM

This should be required philosophical reading for crackpots.
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#19 ralfy

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 06:29 PM

Has anyone read anti-natalist works like Ligotti's The Conspiracy Against the Human Race and older sources?


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#20 imatfaal

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 02:05 PM

Has anyone read anti-natalist works like Ligotti's The Conspiracy Against the Human Race and older sources?



I have read Malthus, Schopenhaur, and a few others and remain almost entirely unconvinced.   THey predict disaster in the next 25-50 years - and have been doing so for centuries.  It's a neat excuse to deny others the rights and privileges that I enjoyed - and I won't take that option.   For a nice diversion and potential solution watch some of Hans Rosling's TED lectures on birth rate / gdp per capita / female education.  In fact I would always recommend watching Dr Hans - one of academia's great communicators. 
 
 

This should be required philosophical reading for crackpots.

 
 
Very good - did you read Larry Lauden's slightly ill-considered follow-up and Ruse's counter?
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