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 Philosophy 
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Cania
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Post Philosophy
In the music book thread, a little discussion about philosophy started which deserves its own thread. I've been wondering to start that in print & art or in general, but I think print & art is appropriate. The works of many philosophers live on because of their books, and some might even consider a good philosophical debate an art in itself.

So, do any of you read philosophers? Which subjects interest you most? Things I'd also like to discuss include the best philosophy books you have read - and those you'd absolutely not recommend to anyone. And what do you consider to be philosophy? And what not? I'll give a little quote from the other thread to start the discussion, in which I tried to explain what philosophy is to me:
nachtvlinder wrote:
While I have to admit that I didn't get very far in The Secret (maybe I should try again), I'm not sure I consider books like that to be philosophy. To me (and I hope this makes sense in English too), there's a difference between philosophy and a philosophy. The first is about strict reasoning about various subjects, which can range from science via knowlegde to ethics. One of it's characteristics is argumentative reasoning (whether or not it's presented in an academic format; could also be a novel), and it is often dealing with more general problems/subjects. I normally refer to philosophical work by the name of the author and 'philosophy', like: Nietzsches philosophy.

The latter is the more colloquial use of the word, I think , which refers 'to ways of thinking about the universe and how to live in it'. To me, it's often esotery confused with philosophy. And most esotery I read - which I have to admit I have often not finished - is really focused on personal gain and growing (whether or not this is in relation to the universe). Sometimes, it is not vague 'theories', but novels based some vague 'theories'. Example (that I have actually finished): The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. Many people have recommended that book as something perfectly for my philosophical interest. I disagreed.


Personally, I have been interested in philosophy for a long time now. Can't say that I have read all there is or even all I would have liked to read. There's simply too much for that.

edited to add something I had forgotten

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Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:42 am
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Manisha
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Post Re: Philosophy
I will admit though Philosophy interests me greatly, I have not taken a large amount of time in reading different types. The only book I have on the subject, I think, is a book simply titled Horace, Satires and Epistles. Inside, however, it says the book is called Horace: Sataires. It was published in 1909 and I have yet to read it.

I am highly interested in relativism, but not actually sure that is phiolosphy. It most likely is not. I really need to read up on the subject and I wish I had more to offer this very interesting topic.

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Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:14 am
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Post Re: Philosophy
Here's my list in [very] rough chronological order for the Platonic/Neo-Platonic and Gnostic philosophy I love:

Plato

Apuleius

Philo Judaeus

The Hermetic Writings

The Nag Hammadi Gnostic writings

Origen

Plotinus [ESPECIALLY!!!!!]

Porphyry

Iamblichus

Proclus

St. Augustine

Macrobius

John Scotus Eriugena

Meister Eckhart

Marsilio Ficino

della Mirandola

Jakob Boehme


Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:39 am
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Cania
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Post Re: Philosophy
What do you like so much in Plotinus??? I am roughly familiar with his work (not that much of a fan I have to admit), so please explain your love of it.

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Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:07 pm
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Post Re: Philosophy
nachtvlinder wrote:
While I have to admit that I didn't get very far in The Secret (maybe I should try again), I'm not sure I consider books like that to be philosophy. To me (and I hope this makes sense in English too), there's a difference between philosophy and aphilosophy. The first is about strict reasoning about various subjects, which can range from science via knowlegde to ethics. One of it's characteristics is argumentative reasoning (whether or not it's presented in an academic format; could also be a novel), and it is often dealing with more general problems/subjects. I normally refer to philosophical work by the name of the author and 'philosophy', like: Nietzsches philosophy.

The latter is the more colloquial use of the word, I think , which refers 'to ways of thinking about the universe and how to live in it'. To me, it's often esotery confused with philosophy. And most esotery I read - which I have to admit I have often not finished - is really focused on personal gain and growing (whether or not this is in relation to the universe). Sometimes, it is not vague 'theories', but novels based some vague 'theories'. Example (that I have actually finished): The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. Many people have recommended that book as something perfectly for my philosophical interest. I disagreed.


I'm afraid I disagree with this, by this idea of what Philosophy is and is not,
wouldn't the works of people who pre-date science (eg. Plato, Aristotle and Confucius) and who's ideas probably came about in the same way as "The Secret" be excluded from the conversation?
Wether one world view has more merit than the other is down to personal opinion, but I wouldn't say it wasn't philosophy, no matter how much I detested it, or even if it could be proven wrong or deeply flawed.

I can't list everyone I've read but off the top of my head :
Plato, Aristotle, Friedrich Nietzsche, Immanuel Kant, Niccolò Machiavelli, Arthur Schopenhauer, David Hume, Jean-Paul Sartre, Karl Marx, Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

I actually cannot stand reading Greek philosophy, it's not that the ideas are not interesting, it's the endless repetition and the endless metaphor!!! Ugh!

My favourite book so far is Nietzsche's "Human all too Human"

The philisophical view I have most in common with is Secular Humanism

:)

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Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:39 pm
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Post Re: Philosophy
Black Milk wrote:
nachtvlinder wrote:
While I have to admit that I didn't get very far in The Secret (maybe I should try again), I'm not sure I consider books like that to be philosophy. To me (and I hope this makes sense in English too), there's a difference between philosophy and aphilosophy. The first is about strict reasoning about various subjects, which can range from science via knowlegde to ethics. One of it's characteristics is argumentative reasoning (whether or not it's presented in an academic format; could also be a novel), and it is often dealing with more general problems/subjects. I normally refer to philosophical work by the name of the author and 'philosophy', like: Nietzsches philosophy.

The latter is the more colloquial use of the word, I think , which refers 'to ways of thinking about the universe and how to live in it'. To me, it's often esotery confused with philosophy. And most esotery I read - which I have to admit I have often not finished - is really focused on personal gain and growing (whether or not this is in relation to the universe). Sometimes, it is not vague 'theories', but novels based some vague 'theories'. Example (that I have actually finished): The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. Many people have recommended that book as something perfectly for my philosophical interest. I disagreed.


I'm afraid I disagree with this, by this idea of what Philosophy is and is not,
wouldn't the works of people who pre-date science (eg. Plato, Aristotle and Confucius) and who's ideas probably came about in the same way as "The Secret" be excluded from the conversation?
Wether one world view has more merit than the other is down to personal opinion, but I wouldn't say it wasn't philosophy, no matter how much I detested it, or even if it could be proven wrong or deeply flawed.


Plato, Aristotle and probably Confucius (still have to read that book) and all the others are philosophers, and I wouldn't say Plato and Aristotle pre-date science. I see them more as the first scientists, explorers of the natural world. By systematically questioning things around them (what (the good) life is, what the best state is, how the plants grow etc.) and trying to find rational, argumentative answers.

Let me try to clarify what I meant (just in case I wasn't clear enough): philosophy is characterised by the subjects questioned (they are general and often quite 'big', example: what is knowledge? what is mind? what is a good life?), and the systematic rational arguments used to explore and formulate answers (which you can also find in the Socratic dialogue, just not as clear as you'd find it in an academic paper). While philosophy, to me, is not per se intended to be useful in daily life (it's intended to find answers to fundamental, nagging questions), it can often be used in daily life (well, depending on the subject). I'm interested in bigger questions.

Defining philosophy like this means that I like to focus on a specific form of reasoning. Other forms of thinking or other worldviews (I generally regard mysticism, esotery, religion, and humanism to fall under this) are not necessarily philosophy. That depend on the reasoning (or the lack thereof). Which doesn't mean that they can't be valuable to people. Or that I disagree with them necessarily (there is also a lot of philosophers I disagree with). And sometimes the line is hard to draw. But I think the attraction of philosophy is in part the search for the most convincing logical answer to a fundamental question. Hence the focus on rational arguments and general subjects.

Black Milk wrote:
I can't list everyone I've read but off the top of my head :
Plato, Aristotle, Friedrich Nietzsche, Immanuel Kant, Niccolò Machiavelli, Arthur Schopenhauer, David Hume, Jean-Paul Sartre, Karl Marx, Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

I actually cannot stand reading Greek philosophy, it's not that the ideas are not interesting, it's the endless repetition and the endless metaphor!!! Ugh!

My favourite book so far is Nietzsche's "Human all too Human"

The philisophical view I have most in common with is Secular Humanism

:)


That's a lot of authors! If you don't like metaphors and repetition those ancient Greeks must have been a drag. I always think that they were just making sure we got the point, by repeating it in different version. :wink:

I'll list some of mine (some are studied more extensively than others): Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Plotinus, Descartes, Hobbes, Hume, Machiavelli, Spinoza, Nietzsche (ages ago... I think it was the first philosopher I read), Husserl, Merlau-Ponty, Sartre, Rawls, and many contemporary philosophers of mind. Planning on getting my hands soon on Heidegger and Schopenhauer. Can't decide on a favorite book.

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Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:43 pm
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Post Re: Philosophy
Yeah, I'm not a fan of metaphor in Philosophy, I dislike Nietzsche's "Thus Spake Zarathustra" for the same reason.
I always thought the repetition in the Greek books was due to them originally being intended to be school books for children, but that was just a guess, I never actually looked it up.

Descartes is one I'm hoping to read soon, but I really want to get away from Western Philosophy as that's essentially all I've read, I'd like to read some Eastern stuff.
I'm pretty sure Nietzsche was the first philosopher I read too ;)

Before when I said "pre-dates science" I had been thinking of modern science, which is only a few centuries old, I think that caused some confusion.

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Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:15 pm
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Post Re: Philosophy
I'm not really into philosophy, but I did like some of the arguments put forth by Socrates.

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Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:01 pm
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Post Re: Philosophy
Wolfmammy wrote:
I'm not really into philosophy, but I did like some of the arguments put forth by Socrates.


I was wondering when someone was going to mention him. Sadly the only thing I ever researched concerning Socrates was his manner of death.

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Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:15 pm
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Cania
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Post Re: Philosophy
Midieval Fantasy wrote:
Wolfmammy wrote:
I'm not really into philosophy, but I did like some of the arguments put forth by Socrates.


I was wondering when someone was going to mention him. Sadly the only thing I ever researched concerning Socrates was his manner of death.


Socrates didn't write any books (or if he did, they got lost somewhere in history), so that probably why none of us listed him so far. All that we know about Socrates' philosophy is via others. Via some Greek history writers and playwriters, but most importantly via his apprentice Plato. Especially in his early work, the early Socratic dialogues, Plato was still really inspired by Socrates (he gradually formed his own philosophy, but I couldn't tell you right now to what degree that is still inspired by Socrates).

Both Black Milk, AngryInch, and myself have listed the books of Plato, so in a sense we did mention Socrates. Don't take this the wrong way, I don't want to disrespect any philosopher, but it is like those 'two for the price of one'- bargains. Personally, I like both Socrates and Plato a lot.

Plato wrote about Socrates death as well, I think in the Phaedo. Don't know if they give that another title for the English translation.

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Thu Jul 15, 2010 2:12 am
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Post Re: Philosophy
Yeah I knew that someone had not written anything themesleve, but someone else wrote for them/about them, I just could not remember who it was. Thanks for the clarification.

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Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:14 am
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Stygia
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Post Re: Philosophy
Does Homer Simpson count as a philosopher? cause he is my fav

I AM SO SMART I AM SO SMART

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Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:53 am
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Post Re: Philosophy
Sort of

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Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:55 am
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Cania
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Post Re: Philosophy
Maybe I have to watch the Simpson's more often... it always gets my atttention whenever I flip channels, but I have never thought of Homer as the new Socrates :wink:

I like the idea of dialogues between Homer and Bart, though :oops: :lol:

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Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:26 am
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Post Re: Philosophy
Black Milk wrote:


D'oh!

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Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:25 pm
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