Student Philosopher: Where to Start with Philosophy? – Free Ebook

a question I get asked all the time by people that are interested in philosophy is where do I start and I was actually online last night chatting to this really sweet Italian girl and she was asking me for a reading list and you know where should she start looking so Amelia and anybody else who might be interested I have put together some suggestions for you but before I do go into that I just wanted to say one thing that I really think you need when you’re starting out in philosophy and that is just to lose the fear I think that philosophy is surrounded by this really unhelpful mystique and respect and for me I just think try and ditch all that and relax some things I always tell myself things like it’s okay to find the subject boring and even silly in parts and it’s alright not to understand everything because philosophers don’t know at all and your grandma’s probably as wise as a philosopher in many ways so to get going on the subject I’ve recommended for books and for me these just really opened my mind the first one is called to the conquest of happiness by this guy called Bertrand Russell and it’s a really lovely book that shows us how thinking can help you deal with things in life that you can’t control it actually says that a lot of our unhappiness comes from the way that we approach things so for example if you go into a relationship thinking this person’s going to understand everything I do and I’m going to be permanently satisfied then you’re probably going to have more trouble than somebody who just accepts that being a bit unhappy at times is all part of life the book is full of really wise advice from this philosopher who lived to a ripe old age and used his experience to try and save us some time another great book is the consolations of philosophy by Alain de Botton now this book takes you through the life and work of six great philosophers it’s got chapters on Socrates Epicurus Seneca contain Schopenhauer and Nietzsche in each case de Botton asks how can these philosophers help us with our lives today so job and how is says some really fascinating things about our love lives or Seneca is the guy you turn to and you’re feeling angry and so on the book is just really well-written is funny and wise and it’s actually got some great pictures in it as well I think when you finish it you’ll have a real basic understanding of the history of philosophy a third title that I really really adore is by Erich Fromm and it’s called the art of loving this is the one that will really get you philosophizing about relationships I read it when I was 17 and it definitely changed the way that I look at relationships basically from says that love isn’t the thing that movies and songs tell us it is it’s an effort to understand another human being to sympathize and forgive them being in love for from primarily means putting your own needs aside to enter the life of somebody else’s so if somebody does giving you from one an early date it’s a very good sign indeed the last book I recommend is 5 million and it’s called The Unbearable Lightness of being now this one is actually a novel but it’s profoundly philosophical one and it looks ideas from Nietzsche about fate destiny and responsibility the great thing about this book is that it’s really gripping and you’ll want to know what happened to the characters and really care about them but it’s also quite thought-provoking and stimulating you’ll probably finish it in tears I mean I can speak to anyone for days when I finished it it just left me so blown away and really melancholy and thoughtful so those are my four recommendations for anyone starting out the conquest of happiness the consolations of philosophy the arts of loving and The Unbearable Lightness of being but one thing I don’t want people to forget is that more than any book philosophy is about an attitude it’s about not wanting to accept things the way they are it’s about questioning everything asking why our relationships the way they are how can we make politics better why is it that we look at money the way that we do and what is the meaningful job for me a philosopher ultimately isn’t just somebody who’s read a lot of books or has a degree from an impressive sounding university it’s anyone with an open curious and restless mind and quite frankly those are the people I love more than anything and they are the true everyday philosophers I think we need a lot more of them a fascinating and deeply unmodern idea what’s even more interesting is how the ideas changed throughout history after it was trying to sort of explain some of the concepts I came across on my journey as a philosophy student and maybe

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