philosophy’s problems: a free app for learning philosophy; and some other resources.

I made an app for (at present only) android phones, with the aim of helping people who lack the resources (time, money, institutions) to attend courses but who nevertheless want to learn about contemporary analytic philosophy.

It consists of an annotated version of Bertrand Russell’s 1912 classic introductory text Problems Of Philosophy, along with about 10,000 words of notes describing how Russell’s ideas have been developed or refuted in the course of the 20th century. I hope that if you work through the app you’ll have a good ‘reading knowledge’ of contemporary analytic philosophy — that is, the sort of knowledge that if you meet someone who does analytic philosophy, you’ll have at least a rough sense of what they care about.

But I also have another goal. Like any discipline, philosophy is more than a set of facts, but it’s also a method: a way of approaching problems and thinking about them different from, say, physics or history or literary studies or whatever. My more ambitious goal is to help those interested in acquiring that skill do so. If you are such a person, then you could read the text much more closely and consider the questions I pose in the notes. At the end, there’s a set of questions you can answer about a new and relatively underexplored area of philosophy, namely the philosophy of the digital world. If you answer those questions in sufficient detail — a very hard task that will require a lot of work — I will provide feedback on them. Details about the site to submit answers are on the app (the site itself isn’t developed yet).

So, if you want to learn some contemporary philosophy while reading a classic, and don’t mind reading on screens, and you have an android phone, consider the app. If the first two but not the last sentence apply to you, I’ve collected the introductory philosophy articles I’ve written on medium.

Analytic philosophy for beginners

Conceptual Engineering: A New Approach To Philosophy

Contemporary Philosophy Introduced Through Descartes

Philosophy Of Language in 9 Sentences
(I wrote this in one shot with barely any copyediting and is has proven quite popular, with the result that I’m too scared to reread it and see the typos and mistakes.)

What Is Postmodernism?

What Is Postmodernism? part II: Derrida

Added 23 June 2020: From summer 2020 I’m going to move my occasional writing from medium to tinyletter. If you want to read more from me in your inbox, please consider signing up: I’ll post relatively infrequently, and hopefully interestingly, on the same sort of themes as the blog, so: popular philosophy/explainers, culture, literature, politics/economics, etc. I might also do things like brief reviews of books I read and so on.

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