How do you begin with philosophy?

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Posted Mar 23 2014 by Dave Darby of

To get started with philosophy, I think you need three things: a) some idea of where we are – to know what solar systems and galaxies are, and to have a vague idea of how many there are, as well as having a grasp of science’s current best guesses about the provenance and destination of our universe; b) some idea of the take-home messages of the world’s major religions – because those messages have guided us to this point in history, although money has taken over now; and c) some idea of how the world works – where real power lies, and what you think about that.

After that, you just need intelligence, curiosity and an open mind. You don’t have to have read any philosophy. If you decide to though, you’ll get some interesting insights and a mental workout – but philosophers don’t bring us knowledge, they bring us ideas. We can all have ideas, and we can all judge ideas.

I’m not talking academic philosophy of course, I’m talking about the kind of philosophy that we can all do – the kind we’ll need if we’re going to start asking the big questions about what we’re going to do and why.

When respected philosophers like Zizek say what he said above, it can help us see that we’re not mad when in our more reflective moments we get a sense that there are powerful people delivering a message that actually, it’s not that great to think.