Changing the way we see the world and life
There are the three books, each with very different style, and shed light on very different parts of philosophy. None of them requires prior knowledge in the field, and they’re highly readable and inspiring.
So here we go.
Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It: Wisdom of the Great Philosophers on How to Live
by Daniel Klein
This book is a collection of short proverbs from great philosophers, accompanied by the author’s witty comments. Mainly, it deals with one question: how should we live our lives?
Some proverbs this book dealt might sound familiar to you, say: “Existence precedes essence” — Jean-Paul Sartre, some other are highly resonating: “Life oscillates like a pendulum, back and forth between pain and boredom” — Arthur Schopenhauer.
But philosophy is not about just knowing the proverbs. Rather, it calls for us to reflect, engage or even challenge these ideologies. In this book lively words, it shows how the quest in philosophy can be intimately close to our ways of living.
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Also, be warned — an idea cannot be unlearned. Once this book challenged your usual way of living, you will end up in unfamiliar intellectual territories and there is no way back.
Introduction to Logic
by Harry J Gensler
This is a university textbook for introductory courses to logic, also my very first philosophy book. In spite of its academic nature, surprisingly this is the easiest read among three.
The credits of readability should go all to the author’s prowess in language. Concepts, simple or sophisticated ones, are always elucidated in concise, and rigorous language.
Logic is of utmost importance to philosophy — and for this part, I better leave it to the author to explain his work:
Logic is the analysis and appraisal of arguments. When you do logic, you try to clarify reasoning and separate good from bad reasoning. As you work through this book, you’ll examine reasoning on various topics, both philosoph-ical (like free will and determinism, the existence of God, and the nature of morality) and non-philosophical (like backpacking, water pollution, football, Supreme Court decisions, and the Bible). You’ll come to see logic not as an irrelevant game with funny symbols, but as a useful tool to clarify and evaluate our reasoning — whether on life’s deeper questions or on everyday topics.
Not only this book teaches you logic, I like how the author shows logic’s relevance to other philosophical and daily matters. After this book, you will have a brief image of what kind of problems philosophy tackles, and how to approach these critically.
This set an excellent foundation for further pursuing philosophy — it trains you to think better, as well.
by Jostein Gaarder
The best known of these three. Sophie’s World is a novel about a little girl who became a student of an old philosopher. This is a book introductory material of history of philosophy, as you’ll be following Sophie’s journey as her teacher expounds pre-greek to modern existential philosophy in simple language — as if you’re talking to an old-wise friend.
Approaching philosophy through its history has its vantage points. You’ll get to see different epochs of philosophical progress, and their pertinent challenges, as well as how these challenges are tackled by philosophers at a later point in time. This would be helpful for your own philosophical thinking because you’ll be able to see how forebear response, conceptualise and refine the same problem.
It’s a novel, then, of course, it has own plot. As Sophie learns more, one day she discovered her world it like the world in Matrix, she and her teacher planned for a great escape. But for this part… you better discover it yourself.