The Philosophical Apprentice

“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” Albert Einstein

Archive for the month “October, 2011”

The Scenic Route

s part of my Great Courses / Historical approach I’ve been reading Herodotus. I’ve read my way to Lecture 3- The Sophists and Social Science in the Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition course. The Histories is not actually part of the reading list in the course but since I’ve got to read Thucydides I might as well read Herodotus while I am at it. Not really philosophy but no regrets since Herodotus is such fun. I honestly know how he has came through the ages as being dull. Here’s the rest of the reading list for the lecture:

  1. Mary Fitt and Kathleen Freeman, trans. And intro., Ancilla to the Presocratic Philosophers (Harvard, 1962)
  2. Drew A. Hyland, The Origins of Philosophy (New York: 1973)
  3. Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy, Vol. 1. chapters 2-13
  4. Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, trans. By Rex Warner (Penguin, 1972)

Here are the questions to consider from the text:

  1. How far can a democracy go in using “Sophistic” analyses of political self-interest?
  2. How much does modern social science differ from the premises, methods, and conclusions of its Sophistic forebears?
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The Approach

What’s the best way to learn Philosophy?

Based on my own interests I’ve come up with a three-pronged approach.

  1. Historical.
  2. Subject specific / Analytical
  3. Scholastic

The historical approach is necessary because philosophical problems never seem to go away but always seem to get restated with each new generation, i.e. the problem of universals. I plan to rely on Teaching company lectures here. There is always a good reading list to go along with a series. I don’t want to get carried away with this approach because I could spend an entire lifetime devouring TC reading lists; however, the reading list included with the “Great Minds of the Western intellectual Tradition” course is a good place to start.

Regards the analytical approach, I have been debating whether to pursue the University of London’s external BA in philosophy. Its cheap and its reading list is extensive. I’d probably seek some sort of tutorial assistance with it. The Pathways to Philosophy program comes to mind.

The third – scholastic – approach is what really interests me (I’m a big fan of Ed Feser.) I’ve been trying to read as much in this area as I can, the Introductions to Philosophy by Daniel Sullivan, Paul Glenn and Jacques Maritain have been very helpful. I’ve also found the seven volumes of Paul Gerard Horrigan a good resource in this area. Beyond the large number of references in the Horrigan books, Holy Apostles College & Seminary has a distance learning Masters program in philosophy that dovetails nicely with my own interests.

The inaugural post.

Just a few words to explain what I’d like to accomplish with this blog.

My goals for this blog are modest. I’m one of those men of a certain age with a passion for philosophy and theology. Till now I’ve had little formal training in philosophy and although I plan to finish an academic degree in the subject, this blog will reflect my attempt to learn as much as I can on my own.

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