Commandments from a Philosopher
By Bertrand Russell
- Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
- Do not think it worthwhile to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
- Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
- When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
- Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
- Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
- Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
- Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
- Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
- Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.
Must Reads…according to mr. A
So I was asked about philosophical “must reads”. I immediately wanted to jump to an answer, but I thought I would slow down. There are quite a few great philosophical works, but for high school students? Do I really want to recommend anything by Hegel or Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason? You should read those authors, but maybe you should get your feet wet with something a little lighter first. So I asked myself, ‘what were the philosophical works that got me interested in philosophy?’ Some ideas came to mind. I’ll add to this list as I go along.
- Mortimer Adler: Ten Philosophical Mistakes
- Mortimer Adler: Six Great Ideas
- Bertrand Russell (Everything he ever wrote, but…) Problems of Philosophy
- Voltaire: Candide
- Voltaire: “Treatise on Tolerance”
- John Stuart Mill: On Liberty
- Henry David Thoreau: On Civil Disobedience
- George Orwell: “Politics and the English Language”
- Jean Jacques Rousseau: The Social Contract
- Robert A. Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land (Okay. This isn’t a philosophy book, it’s a science fiction, but it will blow your mind)
Theme 1 Epistemology
Question 1: ARe Human beings, by nature, warlike?
Question 2: What does it mean to be free?
Axiology or Value Theory
Testing Moral Premises
Free Philosophy Book: T. M. Scanlon What We Owe to Each Other