Philosophy- Introductions

Philosophy - Introductions

There are many introductions to philosophy and they all incorporate some general conception of what philosophy is supposed to be, aim at, and produce.

My own general conception of philosophy is realistic and analytic - by which I mean that I presume that there is one reality in which all things that exist do exist and that the generally best way to philosophize and try to find rational beliefs is by logical analysis. A brief introduction is in my Natural Philosophy.

Also, the Philosophical Dictionary that I am in the process of writing is along these lines: See e.g. Natural Philosophy, Natural Logic, Natural Realism.

Given this general conception, here are four items that I found very helpful as introductions to philosophy. The first four are general introductions in one volume and readable by anyone with a decent mind:

  • Klausner - Kuntz: Philosophy - The study of alternative beliefs
  • David Hawkins: The language of nature
  • Bertrand Russell: History of Western Philosophy
  • Bertrand Russell: Problems of Philosophy

There is an edition of Problems of Philosophy on this site, with my notes.

The other two are also general introductions but in quite a few volumes. They also presume some interest in and/or knowledge of basic mathematical logic, though the first volumes of Stegmüller also explain this topic:

  • Wolfgang Stegmüller: Probleme und Resultate der Wissenschaftstheorie und Analytische Philosophie
  • Mario Bunge: Treatise on Basic Philosophy

The first is German and comes either in 4 thick volumes or some 30-odd thin ones for students, called "Studienausgabe" in German. I have been told it has all been translated into English, but I never saw that edition.

The second is English and by a theoretical physicist. It comes in some 10 volumes and requires some knowledge of and facility with basic mathematical logic (or abstract algebra, if you studied mathematics).

For those interested in politics in a somewhat rational and reasoned way, there is a list of books with reasons why that includes rather a lot of fundamental social philosophy

Maarten Maartensz       
last update: 17 November, 2009