New philosophers, hold off on reading the Greeks.

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As is the case with many things, the hardest part of getting into philosophy is the beginning.

If you were to make a graph displaying difficulty over time as you read more and more philosophy, it would likely be a slope that starts very high and begins to fall exponentially lower.

This isn’t very surprising, is it? It makes intuitive sense that the more texts you have under your belt, the easier it becomes to take down another one.

As you understand more of the relevant ideas and terminology, that context you’ve gained is going to make the next book…

The influence of ethics on heroes and why Achilles isn’t the answer.

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Who among us doesn’t love a good bit of heroism?

Whether it’s a brave act you read about in a news headline or an event you witnessed yourself, there’s something very moving about extreme displays of heroic character.

The Iliad, one of the classic epics of literary history, is primarily a story about heroes and their feats. It’s full of these “displays of heroic character,” with entire books of it sometimes being allotted to the larger-than-life exploits of a single character.

This emphasis on spectacular individuals who are more like gods than people is characteristic of classic Greek culture. …

The separate classes of our ideas and their differences explained simply.

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An investigation into our own cognition as rational beings can be such a productive exercise if done properly. What better way is there to understand than to attempt to grasp our own understanding?

This is why epistemology regularly ranks among my favorite areas of philosophy. My undisputed favorite book on the subject is An Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke

John Locke seems to be more commonly remembered for his political philosophy. Which I consider a shame because I’ve yet to come across a more comprehensive breakdown of knowledge and how we gather it than his Essay.

As such…

Important sources and useful texts to keep on your shelf

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You’ve probably seen at least a hundred variations of the book-recommendation list articles. Usually, as they pertain to philosophy, these are recommendations of primary sources, like the work of a famous philosopher. Typically they are also marketed towards people looking to pick up their first or second book on the subject.

This is not one of those articles.

The targeted-demographic for this list will be someone who already has a solid-footing in philosophy. The books on this list will serve as references that will help deepen your understanding of the topics and terms you are already a little familiar with.

An overview of the central figures and key disputes in one of the most important times in philosophy’s history.

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The modern period of philosophy, depending on who you ask, begins around the late 16th century and extends to the late 18th century or even later.

Some will say that it began earlier or that it extended much further. That’s irrelevant, though, as the purpose of this article is to familiarize you with the most substantive material which took place in the timeframe I mentioned.

Much of which you have probably already heard of to some extent. Things like the mind-body problem, the rationalism vs. empiricism debate, and various arguments about ontology.

In addition, we’ll explore the big names responsible…

The philosophical case for avoiding lies like the plague.

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Truth is a complicated concept, especially if you’re speaking about it in a philosophical context. In colloquial situations, we tend to take its meaning for granted.

As with any other concept, there’s been plenty of discussion in the philosophical literature about what truth is and what makes something true.

Of course, that’s an important subject to talk about and maybe I will in a future article, but it’s unnecessary for our purposes here. For the sake of the discussion at hand, we can refer to truth in the informal ordinary fashion and presuppose whatever that entails.

I’d like to emphasize…

The purpose and applications of music in a well-organized society.

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As far as entertainment goes, music seems to be unanimously enjoyed among humans.

Music just seems to be something that is ingrained in us as people. Our music preferences may differ from person to person or from culture to culture, but its presence in some form is the common thread.

I would be surprised to hear of a person who legitimately is unamused by music in any way. Music’s power to move us and alter our thoughts appears to be a universal experience.

If we admit that music has this effect on us, then we must also necessarily concede that…

A short cautionary tale about diving in headfirst.

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I was probably 15 or 16 years old when I started to develop an interest in reading serious nonfiction books and primary sources. In my case, it was philosophy, but I suppose it could be applied to any field of a similar nature.

I was flying through books and loving every second I was reading. I started with the usual suspects, Nicomachean Ethics, Discourse on Method, Meditations on First Philosophy, and Meditations.

These all are relatively short, easy to understand, and touch on meaningful topics. I had chosen them with that in mind.

All good things come to an end…

Elucidating a common misconception and its origins.

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I’ve become painfully aware of what can either be called an unfortunate misunderstanding or a deliberate misinterpretation. That being, Aristotle was somehow “anti-democracy.”

There is some basis for this thought, and I don’t blame people who get that impression. Well, I am of the opinion that some people are peddling this idea intentionally for their own ends, but we’ll get to that later.

Almost all lies have some basis in truth, no matter how egregious the jump in logic may be. I’m very confident in my assertion that the belief in question is a fallacious one.

His Politics is where…

A nebulous concept simplified.

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If you’ve spent even a middling amount of time in intellectual circles, you will have heard the term “postmodernism” thrown out at some point. The name of postmodernism is usually invoked in an ambiguous way where the speaker takes no time to elaborate on what specifically they are referring to.

Sometimes it can feel as if the term “postmodern” just serves as a way for academics to say “weird” in a highbrow setting. In more egregious cases, it seems postmodernism acts as a dog whistle for anything that is contrary to traditional norms.

People like Jordan Peterson come to mind…

Stanley Burnski

Professional layman and mediocre sophist with an interest in many things.

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