“You can’t read Nietzsche the same way you read fanfiction, or a car repair manual, or a status update on Facebook. It’s different.”
It’s how I begin every fall semester, teaching introductory philosophy students how to read a philosophical text.
“The most important thing is this,” I say, “Don’t stop. Keep reading. Read all the way to the end. You’re going to think you’ve gotten to the philosopher’s big ‘point’ in the first couple of pages, but then he (almost always ‘he’ in the early weeks of introductory philosophy) will seem to change his mind. He’s not changing his mind. He’s just looking at an idea from every angle. Eventually–usually–he’ll come to a conclusion, but not until the end.” [Read more…]