Repost: Reading Philosophy: An Introduction

Philosophy can often appear to be a daunting subject. All those great minds! All those long words! All those endless sentences that go on for half a page! The popular image of philosophy — an image…
— Read on

—— Nice.

However; I don’t think he listed the way that I read Philosophy.

This, I believe, is the most effective and coherent manner to understand most thoroughly philosophical writings.

I pick up the book, paper, EPUB, electronic book device, whatever. I skip the introduction, I skip the translators notes, I skip the history … basically I skip everything that is a commentary upon the actual text. I save all commentaries about a work until after I read the work.

Now, so far as reading the work:

I start reading from the beginning. If it doesn’t make sense to me, I’ll keep reading for a little while longer, often I will switch to some other chapter and start reading, but if various attempts throughout the book do not make sense to me within the first five or 10 pages, then I give up on the piece. What that means to me is that the work is not communicating to me anything that I need to know.

A few weeks, or maybe a couple months later, I pick up the book again, I start reading from the beginning. Again, if it still doesn’t make sense, then I put it away till later.

The books that are meant for me to understand are the ones that I understand pretty much immediately. Then through understanding the books that I understand immediately, I am able to understand other books that I wasn’t able to understand immediately before, but now I am able. When I come back to those books, because of the books that I understood intuitively, certain other books began to fall into place in the same manner.

If I have to struggle to comprehend what an author is saying, then I am involved in a different task than what I consider Philosophy. 






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