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Beginner books for philosophy?

  1. Aug 11, 2007 #1
    I have little background in philosophy in that I took a intro to philosophy course for about 2 weeks until I dropped it. I've always been interested in philosophy but I never got the chance to take a full class on it, and now I probably never will as I will start my upper-div math and physics courses this fall.

    But I have free time from now until the school starts in fall, so I was wondering if there were any good philosophy books for those with little knowledge/backgrond in philosophy?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2007 #2
    If you already haven't, one site I'd recommend you might want to take a look at is:


    and especially the manuscript section where the link points to - the introduction to philophy is an "internet classic" (==excellent piece of work) doing a marvellous job in "summing up" philosophy in ~ 100 pages (sounds surreal but haven't heard anyone regret reading it) and the forums contain lots of recommendations for further study depending on what area you're particularly interested in. About general books spanning pretty much everything would recommend Roger Scrutton's "Modern Philosophy", Popkin's "The Columbia History of Western Philosophy" and then of course Bertrand Russell's classic "The History of Western Philosophy".
  4. Aug 12, 2007 #3
    Read Plato's Five Dialogues. It contains some of the best introductory material to philosophy ever. If you do, I recommend you pay close attention to the arguments given in the Meno. It's a pretty crucial dialogue and covers a lot of the basic definitions given in philosophy, in particular the definition of knowledge as a "justified true belief."

    There's a lot of good problems raised in these books.
  5. Aug 13, 2007 #4
  6. Aug 13, 2007 #5


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    I don't know of any belief which isn't justified by the believer/s, so i don't think this title for knowledge is suitable at all.
    obviously knowledge isn't a belief, for example you know that every morning the sun rises, but you also you know that this will not last forever, perhaps it's a belief in our calculation, but obviously mathematical knowledge isn't a matter of belief at all.
  7. Aug 13, 2007 #6
    You're right. It really isn't suitable for knowledge, and Socrates discusses this point in the dialogue.
  8. Sep 26, 2007 #7
    Now we argue the existence of universal truth. That aside... a great place to start, allthough it might be a bit dry, would be an intro to logic book. Critical thinking is vital to recieving full benefits from any of these other suggestions.
  9. Sep 27, 2007 #8
    Wff 'n Proof, the game of logic.
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