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Hey Crim
Mesh Posted: Fri Apr 7 08:34:06 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I'd like some recommendations on books to read regarding the subject of philosopy. Particulalry western philosopy. I figured you'd be a good person to ask. I'd like to do a bit more reading on all of that fancy stuff than I am able to on wikipedia.

Maybe some books to just get me started? I don't know much about it, so I'm having a hard time deciding what books would be good to start with.

Anyone else that has suggestions please don't be afraid to offer them up.

Mesh Posted: Fri Apr 7 08:36:03 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Sorry, I hate to seem rude. Thank you in advance.

addi Posted: Fri Apr 7 08:37:32 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  a great starter book

Man's Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl

Mesh Posted: Fri Apr 7 08:54:58 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Thank ya kinely.

Posted: Fri Apr 7 17:03:26 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  well, are you more into reading novels that display philosophical themes?

If that's the case:

-Albert Camus - The Stranger (alternate title: The Outsider)
-Samuel Becket - Waiting for Godot
-Franz Kafka - The Metamorphosis
-Milan Kundera - The Unbearable Lightness of Being
-Voltaire - Candide (This is the first book of a philosophical nature that I'd read, within an age frame to be able to understand such things. Fundamentally affected my move towards studying philo., but who knows how it'll go for others)

If you're looking more towards a single introductory volume:

-Light Reading: Edward Craig - Philosophy, A Very Short Introduction (from Oxford University Press; ~100 small pages. Pocket size)
-Heavier Reading: Bertrand Russel - A History of Western Philosophy (~900 pages)
-Heaviest Reading: The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (~1000 pages)

If you're looking for the nitty-gritty type stuff that's inspired people over long periods of time, generally considered to make up the core of western philosophy:

Friedrich Nietzsche - On the Genealogy of Morals (alternate title: On the Genealogy of Morality)
Friedrich Nietzsche - Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Machiavelli - The Prince
Karl Marx - The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844
Martin Heidegger - Being and Time (note: particularly hard to start off with)
Soren Kierkegaard - Fear and Trembling
Soren Kierkegaard - Concluding Unscientific Postscript
Rene Descartes - Meditations on First Philosophy

(note that I'm leaving a lot of the "core" stuff out - Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, Kant, Bacon, etc. The idea is that a lot of these figures can be understood in light of their critiques, which are largely offered up in the above selections)

A few collections if you want a broader understanding of concepts of thought:

The Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings:

Existentialism: Basic Writings:

Theories of Human Nature: Classical and Contemporary Readings:

My personal Favourite books of philosophy that have not yet been mentionned:

Ludwig Feuerbach - Principles of the Philosophy of the Future
Herbert Marcuse - One Dimensional Man
Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good and Evil (favourite paragraph: #35: "O Voltaire! O humaneness! O nonsense! There is something about 'truth,' about the SEARCH for truth; and when a human being is too human about it - 'il ne cherche le vrai que pour faire le bien'* - I bet he finds nothing."

*'he seeks the true only to do the good'


All that said, if you're only going to get three books that I've mentionned, they should be:

1. Voltaire - Candide. Why? Because he allows for an understanding of the French Enlightenment period, and his characters are sharp and witty satires of other figures of the time (Pangloss is taken to represent Leibniz - independent discoverer of Calculus, and theorist of the "best of all possible worlds")

2. Theories of Human Nautre - Classical and Concemporary Readings. Why? Because it covers everybody you'd need to learn, and contains one of the best translation/introductions to Sartre's conception of existentialism that I've ever read. Plato to Aristotle to Confucious to Nietzsche to Sartre to de Beauvoir.

3. An anthology of Nietzsche's, either The Portable Nietzsche ( or Basic Writings of Nietzsche ( are reccomended, neither one more than the other.

Hope this was a help! Happy philosophizing!

Mesh Posted: Fri Apr 7 17:07:51 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Wow,that is definitely a huge help! Thank you so very much, it's greatly appreciated.

Posted: Sat Apr 8 03:17:29 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  no problemo dude; just one small step to help you become a brilliant, but ultimately useless person.


Mesh Posted: Sat Apr 8 06:56:41 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  One of those is already true. I think we all know which one.

Mesh Posted: Sat Apr 8 07:28:21 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Yes it's true, I do have a daily serving of humble pie. With whipped cream on top.

And a cherry.

FN Posted: Sat Apr 8 07:34:09 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Excellent, Crim.

Going to read a few of those myself, starting out with Candide by Voltaire.

jennemmer Posted: Sat Apr 8 08:16:02 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Candide was something I actually read for French class (I was in an immersion program so it was more like french language arts) and I just loved it. I picked up an English version to compare once and found it really dull so beware the translation.

We read L'Etranger (The Stranger) as well but that was unfortunately one that was read aloud in class. Nothing ruins a book quite like being forced to listen to other people read at a pace of maybe 4 pages a day. :p

Mesh Posted: Sat Apr 8 08:38:21 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  jennemmer said:
>unfortunately one that was read aloud in class. Nothing ruins a book quite like being forced to listen to other people read at a pace of maybe 4 pages a day. :p

Sweet Lord, I used to hate that. I usually asked if I could be excused to the library when that situation came about, so that I could read on my own. I hate, HATE, having to listen to other people read.


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