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Capitalist Chris

Avoiding the pitfalls in learning philosophy

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I've read a lot of Rand's work, that I've enjoyed, though I have some more books of hers to get through. The more I read, the more interested I've become in philosophy and have started to consume it independently on my own.

I checked out some syllabuses at some University to see what the intro epistemology courses use as a text and I picked up a copy. I'm currently working my way through "Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge" by Audi. This book in general doesn't really talk about the philosophers behind the ideas. Instead of saying Hume said this... or Kant said this... I'm left with the labels of the views like 'naive realism', 'sense datum theory', etc. It's all very interesting.

The author has name dropped a little bit, especially when I made it the chapter on Reason. Kant in particular, who I know Rand viewed as somewhat as her anti. I don't know much about Kant, other than his duty based ethics.

When most philosophy degrees are pumping out pretty much the same types of people, I'm concerned with falling into pitfalls and issues. I want to learn. I do think I'm doing myself a disservice if I don't get a perspective of ideas.

Thoughts?

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Get a copy of Leonard Peikoff's courses, I think they are called "History of Philosophy" and "Modern Philosophy" ... available from ARI, very informative and entertaining.  You will be astonished by the insanity which something masquerading as "thinking" (purportedly thinking performed by the greats) can produce... literally astonishing.

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I recommend a book I read several years ago: Basic Teachings of the Great Philosophers, by S. E. Frost, Jr., Ph.D. The edition I have was published by Anchor Books, and to the best of my knowledge, it is not available on Kindle. I'm trying to reduce the volumes of paper books on my shelves, but when I paged through it at my local Barnes and Noble, I had to have it. It was originally published in 1942. At that time, Ayn Rand had yet to release The Fountainhead. The book includes brief explanations of the ideas of nearly every relevant philosopher (and a few I'd never heard of before) in Western Civilization up to that date. I was very impress with the descriptions of key points with regard to specific philosophers and their teachings. It was very useful in reinforcing my understanding of the arguments made in Ayn Rand's, For the New Intellectual. I hope you find this book as helpful as I did, and I hope For the New Intellectual is also on your list. I doubt if I'll ever commit to a formal education in philosophy, but self-education has proven to be satisfactory. Best of luck.

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Thanks for the recommendations StrictlyLogical and Repairman. It has been recommended to me a few times now to go through Peikoff's History of Philosophy. I've heard nothing, but good things.

Repairman, that books sounds like a really good one for me. A good overview of all that is out there. I don't need (or expect) to be an expert in everything, but I think it's valuable for me to have a decent understanding of what is out there. I also hear you with regards to physical books, especially when I was moving (they're heavy), it's one of the reasons I purchased a Kindle. I'll add the book to my on going list.

'For the New Intellectual' and 'The Voice of Reason' are both on the list still. Plus I want to go through Peikoff's OPAR. This is the problem with only 24 hours in a day, I can't consume them all.

Thanks again.

Edited by Capitalist Chris

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Reading all of the material for a broad understanding of philosophy certainly takes time, not only for reading, but "chewing" on it. I have For the New Intellectual on audio book. You could say I've "read" it many times as I have a long commute.

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