Formal logic in philosophy or the initial defensive stance

2 min read
Logic killed the philosophy star


I think many beginners in philosophy can relate to this meme. Probably one has already read "philosophical" literature, perhaps Dostojewskii, Sophie's World or Camus and therefore gets the desire to deal with the primary concepts of philosophy. Now it depends on which author you are presented with or which one you pick up more or less by chance: this is the point at which you can become convinced that philosophy is ultimately just a fantasy or whether you actually enjoy it.

One tip is always: it is useless to squeeze through a book. One cannot read Kant, Hegel, Quine, or the Vienna Circle without any preconditions. Especially not Whitehead and Russell, to whose title "Principia Mathematica" the meme ultimately alludes. Therefore, I always recommend to get a book that explains as many authors and/or ideas as possible in a short and understandable way. If you then realize that you like a certain author, you can build your own base camp exactly at this point in intellectual history and go back and forth in time: on which ideas of others does the author build his building or directed into the future, by which authors were these ideas received or criticized. I do not think much of a chronological "working through" of philosophy, since this would again be connected with forced reading.

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