Introduction to Moral Reasoning/How to Study
You will have to do a lot of reading, and some writing and some talking and listening. Then you will have to do some thinking.
courses and classes
If you can register for a course, this will give you the opportunity to do all these things. There may be adult education 'introduction to philosophy' evening courses available. But you are unlikely to have courses beyond introductory level outside the largest of cities.
You could register as an undergraduate at a university. Here you could study the course in depth over three or four years. You will probably also have to pay out quite a lot of money in course fees and living expenses.
'Distance learning' may be available to you, with such institutions as The Open University, based in the United Kingdom, or Athabasca University, based in Canada, or the College of the Humanities & Sciences (http://www.chumsci.edu), based in the United States.
But it may be that none of the above are available or suitable to your needs. Fortunately, on line resources are beginning to fill the gap, and Wikibooks, Wikipedia, and the Wikiversity are here to help you. The present work is here to fill this need.
Remember though that much of the world remains off-line. One hopes that this defect will eventually be remedied.
The present work is an introduction to philosophy. It is here to get you started. You could try reading Wikipedia articles at random, or in alphabetical order like the autodidact in Sartre's Nausea. But some of those articles are not for the beginner, and the beginner needs to be guided through the maze. Rather than duplicating what has already been written in the Wikipedia, we shall provide links. The Wikipedia is succinct. If you want a lot of detail, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy may be what you need. For absolute beginners an excellent book to read is Joestien Gaarder's "Sophie's World".
You will have to read a lot. And some passages you will have to read many times slowly and carefully.
If you don't write, then at best you end up with a vague feel for the subject you are researching. If you do write, the people at the philosophy department of the Wikiversity might give you some friendly advice and feedback on what you have written.
talking and listening
Hopefully, there will be discussion forums at the Wikiversity for this. Irc should also be useful.Last modified on 22 January 2011, at 01:22