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Hi Everyone

Post by Gill » Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:06 pm

I'm new to Philosophy and hoping to learn a few things from folks on this board. I'm no youngster, but age seems to have developed an interest in the subject for me. I live in the north of Scotland and there are few (none in fact) opportunities for studying Philosophy up here, so I'm hoping to 'teach myself'
Any suggestions would be appreciated on suitable 'starter' texts?

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Post by RachelAnn » Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:20 pm

Plato's Charmenides - anything by Plato, I think, would make a nice starting point. The public library tends to carry the basics like Plato, Aristotle, the "Post-Socratics," and so forth. Also, I like translations from Greek into English as done by Edith Hamilton & Richard McKeon. I hope this helps...

All The Best, RachelAnn

P.S. North of Scotland...WOW! Sometimes I look up photos of landscapes and villages on the web. I will visit the area when my children are grown, wealthy, and able to afford to keep Mom in the lifestyle to which I should like to become accustomed.

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Post by bullwinkle » Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:00 pm

Hi Gill,

I'm in Edinburgh. Where abouts up North are you?

Descartes 'Meditations on First Philosophy' is a good first text. If you're interested in the philosophy of science then I found Thomas Kuhn's 'Structure of Scientific Revolutions' very readable. I'd also recommend John MacMurray's 'Interpreting the Universe', it doesn't seem very well known but it's short (90 odd pages) and serves as a good introduction to MacMurray's philosophy. He was Prof of Philosophy at Edinburgh Uni for a while, so it has local interest.


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Post by mhoraine » Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:51 pm

Hi Gill

Fit like ? You found a good place here !
Well, it seems like I find myself between a Gill and a bullwinkle...

As to philosophy courses, I assume that you don't live in, or around, Aberdeen itself. There has to be some there !?!
Have you considered taking an Open University course ?

As to books, it depends what grabs your interest, but the really, really basic books I have on my bookshelf are :

Teach yourself Philosophy - Mel Thompson
Teach yourself Ethics - same author
The Great Philosophers - from Socrates to Turing - eds Ray Monk, Frederic Raphael.

Best wishes


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Post by Gill » Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:06 pm

Thanks to you all for your suggestions. I've subscribed to the Philosophy Now magazine and look forward to the first copy arriving.
I am pondering the OU course.... meanwhile I hope to glean some useful snippets here on the board.
Mhoraine - I live near Keith but used to live near Strathpeffer. Are you in Aberdeenshire?

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Post by Psychonaut » Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:40 pm

Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy is an absolute must.
It looks like a weighty text, and it is, but its a smooth and easy read.

Anything else by Russell is also recommended.

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Post by Derek » Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:30 pm

I loved Will Durant's The Story of Philosophy. While it’s not a work of philosophy, it gives a great narrative of different philosophers, their works, and the contexts within which those works originated. As for actual ‘Great Works’, especially for someone just gaining an interest, I’m partial. I favor the American philosophers. William James would be a good start. Still, I have to agree with another reply which stated something like “Plato, anything from Plato”. I picked a dusty compilation of Plato’s works off of a public library shelf one summer about fifteen years ago, spent the summer roaming the beach with book in hand, and have never overcome the changes his words brought about in my thinking. The Trial and Death of Socrates remains, for me, as thought provoking and pertinent, perhaps, however, for different reasons, as The New Testament.

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