Q & A

Q: What are your book recommendations for gaining a solid foundation in philosophy and critical thinking?

I explain these recommendations in my video “What is Philosophy?”, but here’s my list:

(1) The Philosopher’s Toolkit (Baggini)

(2) The Critical Thinking Toolkit (Foresman, Fosl, & Watson)

(3) Just the Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Arguments in Western Philosophy (Barbone & Bruce)

(4) Bad Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Fallacies in Western Philosophy (Barbone & Bruce)

(5) A Rulebook for Arguments (Weston)

(6) Philosophy 1: A Guide through the Subject (Vol 1) (AC Grayling)

(7) Philosophy 2: Further through the Subject (Vol 2) (AC Grayling)

(8) Knowledge, Reality, and Value: A Mostly Common Sense Guide to Philosophy (Huemer)

(9) The Philosophy Major’s Introduction to Philosophy: Concepts and Distinctions (Akiba)

(10) The Majesty of Reason: A Short Guide to Critical Thinking in Philosophy (Schmid)

(11) A Concise Introduction to Logic (Hurley)

(12) Philosophical Devices: Proofs, Probabilities, Possibilities, and Sets (Papineau)

(13) More Precisely: The Math You Need to do Philosophy (Steinhart)

(14) An Introduction to Philosophical Methods (Broadview Guides to Philosophy) (Daly)

Q: How does one publish in philosophy?

The short answer is that you write a paper with a reasonably cutting-edge idea/objection/argument and then submit it to a journal in the field. The journal’s website will have instructions on how, where, and what to submit.

The long answer involves a variety of tips for publishing. My first tip is simply to follow the tips of other people who have already given amazing tips. Here are some excellent sources that you should check out:

  • How to write (and publish) a killer philosophy paper (video by Majesty of Reason)
  • The Do’s and Don’ts of Philosophical Research (video with Dr. Liz Jackson and Justin Mooney)
  • How to Publish in Philosophy (article by Alan Coffee)
  • Guidelines on writing a philosophy paper (article by Jim Pryor)
  • How to publish your paper in a top philosophy journal (article by the IHS)
  • Publishing in Philosophy (article by Mike Huemer)
  • Publishing Your Philosophy (article by Neil McKinnon)

Apart from the advice and information contained in these excellent articles and videos, my main suggestion would be to read a number of philosophy papers published in well-respected journals within the topic or area in which you want to write. So, for instance, if you want to write about the radical skepticism objection to skeptical theism, you should find maybe 2-5 very important (somewhat recent) papers on the topic, read them, pay attention to their structure and style and citations, and take notes on your own thoughts, objections, and arguments.

As advice for finding such papers, JSTOR, Google (or Google Scholar), philpapers.com, and academia.edu are great places to start.

Q: How can I contact you?

I’m extremely busy, so I can’t guarantee that I’ll respond. But I try my best. You can either email me at majestyofreason@gmail.com or PM me on Facebook. For professional queries related to scholarly research, please use js9105@princeton.edu instead.