I'm Mik. Model, mother, moron. Future meta-magician. Former logic clinician.
My better half and I own Brainfood Bookstore in Longmont, Colorado. It is the only exclusively indie- and local-lit bookstore in the nation. We meet a lot of crazy folks.
Testimonial from a former roommate:
"Living with you was like living with a quiet little opinionated deer person who floated around like a ghost and said smart/nutso things and ate seaweed. "
I love Colorado. I love mountains. I love hiking. I read and write. I raise my children to the best of my ability. I have lupus and have defeated early-stage cancer twice, so I pretty much fully support the use of medical marijuana.
Sure! First off, I’d recommend any book published by Hackett. They have kajabillions of philosophical essays in tiny book form, from Plato to Mills to Hume to Locke, usually $3 to $8 a piece. This is super convenient because you can pick which ones you want, and it’s affordable. I have probably ten of them. Go to the Philosophy section of your local university library and you’ll find a plethora of them.
As for what to start with… remember that Philosophy includes lots of shit. Basically there are three main branches: Value theory (aesthetics, morals, etc), Epistemology (How do we know what we know? Logic is included here), and Metaphysics (what exists and what doesn’t?). I prefer epistemology and metaphysics; value theory includes lots of applied shit, from political theory to bioethics.
You can’t get anywhere without a basic understanding of Logic. I don’t know any good beginner books on the subject (I mean I basically teach it without a textbook), but if you can figure out the difference between validity vs soundness and modus ponens/ modes tollens vs affirming the consequent/ negating the antecedent, you’ll be good.
For a first book, I’d recommend Plato’s Death and Trial of Socrates. It’s published by Hackett and costs like $4. Both Euthyphro and Apology (included dialogues) use Reductio ad Absurdum, an important concept in philosophy. Also, this translation is just one of the easiest to read.
If you’re interested in Epistemology, you’ll be reading a lot of Bertrand Russel, Whitehead, Davidson, etc. I’d recommend What Is This Thing Called Science? by Chalmers for an easy read. Also, Descartes (“I think, therefore I am”) is a relatively easy and essential read, even though most philosophers hate him and he’s kinda a pretentious ass. But it’s essential and easy, so go for it. And David Hume. Check out that crazy Scottish bastard.
If you’re interested in value theory or morals at all, check out Hackett’s books by John Stuart Mills, Emanuel Kant, and John Locke. Also, for a textbook, James Rachels’ The Elements of Moral Philosophy. It’s not Hackett so it may cost like $40, but you can probably find just plain essays by James or Stuart Rachels.
If you have any interest in Eastern philosophy or Confucianism, I highly recommend the Roger Ames and Henry Rosemont translation of The Analects of Confucius. It doesn’t have the Christian alterier motives of other translations, and it has one of the best explanations of Eastern vs Western metaphysics and how language reflects their differences.
Once you’ve gotten your toes in the water with some Plato, Humes, Mills, etc, you’ll start to figure out what exactly it is you’re interested in, but hopefully this will get you started. :)