Cap'n Refsmmat

Recommended Philosophical Reading

36 posts in this topic

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?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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, The LessWrong "sequences"

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about some wiki articles, too?

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_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.org/wiki/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.org/wiki/Epistemological_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.org/wiki/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
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This should be required philosophical reading for crackpots.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

 

 

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

 

Forget Malthus and others. We now have warnings from various scientists, the IEA, Lloyd's of London, Morgan Stanley, the U.S. and German military, the Pentagon, the IMF, and many others of various crisis during the next few years due to peak oil, global warming, and economic crisis. You can find some sources mentioned in the "Fossil Fuel" lecture I shared in another thread.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My favorite book other than the "Handbook of Chemistry and Physics" is "The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science" EA Burtt 1923. There's a very old book and its metaphysics I've read countless times. Newton's work on physics and the pyramid have always interested me as well.

 

I've always had a dictionary (usually Webster's New Collegiate 1973 or '81) because you don't necessarily know what the other guy's talking about. Now days I'll fall back on wiki when surfing.

 

The 1920's produced some great scientific work and hypotheses especially in physics. Burtt's work deserves more attention than it gets. I consider it virtually comprehensive.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anything by Jiddu Krishnamurti like Freedom From the Known, Education and the Significance of Life, On Love and Loneliness, and Think on These Things. Also Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Aristotle for Everybody:Difficult Thought Made easy and Ten Philosophical mistakes just to name a few.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

He's had several bad papers. Do you mean "Science at the Bar"? If so, I'm currently (procrastinating instead of) writing a paper about it. I'm writing about the whole episode, actually. Starting with the court case, moving on to Laudan's terrible "The Demise of the Demarcation Problem", Ruse's great "Creation Science is not Science", and ending with Laudan's awful reply in "Science at the Bar" with my own thoughts along the way, of course.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I meant the awful "science at the bar" - rather than the terrible "the demise..."

 

You not concluding with Ruse's final rebuttal (only a few pages long - but cannot find it now)? Seems to be the natural conclusion. Presume you have a copy of Barry Gross' Philosophers at the Bar - I downloaded a hooky copy when you first posted the Ruse article - but it seems to have been removed

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now