It's dangerous to go alone! Take this secondary literature!

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How do you immediately and lastingly spoil someone's desire to engage in philosophy? You recommend your counterpart to read Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit or Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus. The immediate irritation that people are able to string such sentences together must initially overwhelm any reader. The reaction will generally be to declare the philosophers - rightly from this perspective - insane and to turn to other sciences.

Secondary literature, then, is the sword needed to cut many a written Gordian knot and see through the highest heights of academic rhetoric. The problem here? It, too, is often tedious and/or difficult to access. In any case, however, it makes sense to look at an author's basic philosophical orientation before diving into primary writings.

So you can ask yourself to which school of thought an author belongs and look that up first. What does enlightenment, naturalism, existentialism, or postmodernism actually mean? If you want to climb a mountain, you first have to think of a good entry point and a reasonable route. Anything else is downright dangerous. And in order to also name a concrete starting point, I can recommend the series "Very Short Introductions", which are available on many overarching philosophical topics.

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