Black Milk wrote:
nachtvlinder wrote:While I have to admit that I didn't get very far in The Secret (maybe I should try again), I'm not sure I consider books like that to be philosophy. To me (and I hope this makes sense in English too), there's a difference between philosophy and aphilosophy. The first is about strict reasoning about various subjects, which can range from science via knowlegde to ethics. One of it's characteristics is argumentative reasoning (whether or not it's presented in an academic format; could also be a novel), and it is often dealing with more general problems/subjects. I normally refer to philosophical work by the name of the author and 'philosophy', like: Nietzsches philosophy.
The latter is the more colloquial use of the word, I think , which refers 'to ways of thinking about the universe and how to live in it'. To me, it's often esotery confused with philosophy. And most esotery I read - which I have to admit I have often not finished - is really focused on personal gain and growing (whether or not this is in relation to the universe). Sometimes, it is not vague 'theories', but novels based some vague 'theories'. Example (that I have actually finished): The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. Many people have recommended that book as something perfectly for my philosophical interest. I disagreed.
I'm afraid I disagree with this, by this idea of what Philosophy is and is not,
wouldn't the works of people who pre-date science (eg. Plato, Aristotle and Confucius) and who's ideas probably came about in the same way as "The Secret" be excluded from the conversation?
Wether one world view has more merit than the other is down to personal opinion, but I wouldn't say it wasn't philosophy, no matter how much I detested it, or even if it could be proven wrong or deeply flawed.
Plato, Aristotle and probably Confucius (still have to read that book) and all the others are philosophers, and I wouldn't say Plato and Aristotle pre-date science. I see them more as the first scientists, explorers of the natural world. By systematically questioning things around them (what (the good) life is, what the best state is, how the plants grow etc.) and trying to find rational, argumentative answers.
Let me try to clarify what I meant (just in case I wasn't clear enough): philosophy is characterised by the subjects questioned (they are general and often quite 'big', example: what is knowledge? what is mind? what is a good life?), and the systematic rational arguments used to explore and formulate answers (which you can also find in the Socratic dialogue, just not as clear as you'd find it in an academic paper). While philosophy, to me, is not per se intended to be useful in daily life (it's intended to find answers to fundamental, nagging questions), it can often be used in daily life (well, depending on the subject). I'm interested in bigger questions.
Defining philosophy like this means that I like to focus on a specific form of reasoning. Other forms of thinking or other worldviews (I generally regard mysticism, esotery, religion, and humanism to fall under this) are not necessarily philosophy. That depend on the reasoning (or the lack thereof). Which doesn't mean that they can't be valuable to people. Or that I disagree with them necessarily (there is also a lot of philosophers I disagree with). And sometimes the line is hard to draw. But I think the attraction of philosophy is in part the search for the most convincing logical answer to a fundamental question. Hence the focus on rational arguments and general subjects.
Black Milk wrote:
I can't list everyone I've read but off the top of my head :
Plato, Aristotle, Friedrich Nietzsche, Immanuel Kant, Niccolò Machiavelli, Arthur Schopenhauer, David Hume, Jean-Paul Sartre, Karl Marx, Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
I actually cannot stand reading Greek philosophy, it's not that the ideas are not interesting, it's the endless repetition and the endless metaphor!!! Ugh!
My favourite book so far is Nietzsche's "Human all too Human"
The philisophical view I have most in common with is Secular Humanism
That's a lot of authors! If you don't like metaphors and repetition those ancient Greeks must have been a drag. I always think that they were just making sure we got the point, by repeating it in different version.
I'll list some of mine (some are studied more extensively than others): Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Plotinus, Descartes, Hobbes, Hume, Machiavelli, Spinoza, Nietzsche (ages ago... I think it was the first philosopher I read), Husserl, Merlau-Ponty, Sartre, Rawls, and many contemporary philosophers of mind. Planning on getting my hands soon on Heidegger and Schopenhauer. Can't decide on a favorite book.