Author Topic: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.  (Read 1164 times)

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Offline Shiny

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Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« on: February 13, 2013, 12:15:22 AM »
Having a difficult time with Lacan (I don't actually remember how I stumbled upon him) and I have given up on reading Hegel. Kierkegaard has been difficult for me as well, although Fear and Trembling (from what I could understand) helped a lot with understanding faith.

Finnegan's Wake by Joyce, uh yeah that is completely over my head but I guess that's the point.

What about you?
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 12:21:56 AM by Achronos »
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2013, 12:35:58 AM »
Most difficult to get through for me...

Hegel - Phenomenology of Spirit
Plotinus - Enneads
Kant - Critique of Pure Reason (just boring)
Voula Tsouna -The Epistemology of the Cyrenaic School (dry as saw dust, but I got through it somehow after several attempts)
Nietzsche - The Birth of Tragedy (I think I finished it, but very boring -- sorry orthonorm!)
Heidegger - Being and Time (I quit on this one fairly early, partly from boredom and partly from laziness I guess)

Offline JamesR

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2013, 01:26:26 AM »
How is Nietzsche boring? Everything the man wrote was interesting.
...Or it's just possible he's a mouthy young man on an internet forum.
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2013, 01:31:24 AM »
How is Nietzsche boring? Everything the man wrote was interesting.

Do you think The Birth of Tragedy was interesting?

Offline Nephi

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2013, 01:33:56 AM »
How is Nietzsche boring? Everything the man wrote was interesting.

I read Twilight of the Idols for a class, and I didn't find it interesting.

Offline Nephi

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2013, 01:37:16 AM »
Kant's Meditations felt like a chore for me to read. Just something about it bored me to tears.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 01:37:50 AM by Nephi »

Offline Cyrillic

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2013, 05:19:18 AM »
Aristotle - The Categories
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Offline vamrat

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2013, 11:34:21 AM »
How is Nietzsche boring? Everything the man wrote was interesting.

I read Twilight of the Idols for a class, and I didn't find it interesting.

I'd suggest you drop the Twilight of the Idols and pick up a copy of Twilight.  Far easier to read.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2013, 11:40:27 AM »
Having a difficult time with Lacan (I don't actually remember how I stumbled upon him) and I have given up on reading Hegel. Kierkegaard has been difficult for me as well, although Fear and Trembling (from what I could understand) helped a lot with understanding faith.

Finnegan's Wake by Joyce, uh yeah that is completely over my head but I guess that's the point.

What about you?

You need some supplementary materials to read Lacan (what are you trying to read). Seriously, his work is almost impossible to understand without recourse to various lectures and students notes.

It also helps to have a grounding in non-pop-Freudian theory and structuralism (as we call it in the States).

Maybe we PMd about this. I am not sure what most folks are going to get out of Lacan without a thorough background in a lot of difficult material. This is one thinkers where a decent overview (I don't know what that is) might be the best way to go.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2013, 11:42:28 AM »
Having a difficult time with Lacan (I don't actually remember how I stumbled upon him) and I have given up on reading Hegel. Kierkegaard has been difficult for me as well, although Fear and Trembling (from what I could understand) helped a lot with understanding faith.

Finnegan's Wake by Joyce, uh yeah that is completely over my head but I guess that's the point.

What about you?

Again, I know about three people on this planet who I would talk about Kierkegaard with. The violence done to him by "existentialists" and the would be "existentialist Christians" (as if such a thing could exist) makes me want to vomit.

Tell me about Hegel, then we can talk K.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2013, 11:47:07 AM »
How is Nietzsche boring? Everything the man wrote was interesting.

I read Twilight of the Idols for a class, and I didn't find it interesting.

People don't take Nietzsche seriously enough. He gets the fanbois of late adolescence who think they understand him and move on later to who knows what.

I will say that the beginning of Beyond Good and Evil is one of the greatest starts of any philosophical work. If you can read those first few paragraphs and get a sense of what is going on, then you might be able to read good ol' Neech.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2013, 11:49:39 AM »
How is Nietzsche boring? Everything the man wrote was interesting.

Do you think The Birth of Tragedy was interesting?

If The Birth of Tragedy is boring, it is only because it changed how we understand antiquity and seems grotesquely obvious and tedious now.

Neech doesn't come into his own till he rebels against his papa, Dick.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 11:49:53 AM by orthonorm »
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2013, 11:53:27 AM »
Most difficult to get through for me...

Hegel - Phenomenology of Spirit
Plotinus - Enneads
Kant - Critique of Pure Reason (just boring)
Voula Tsouna -The Epistemology of the Cyrenaic School (dry as saw dust, but I got through it somehow after several attempts)
Nietzsche - The Birth of Tragedy (I think I finished it, but very boring -- sorry orthonorm!)
Heidegger - Being and Time (I quit on this one fairly early, partly from boredom and partly from laziness I guess)

Hegel is enormously difficult. I try to never discuss him except to correct some the more ridiculous appropriations of his thought, old school Marxism and its critics. Otherwise, I remain silent. Anything I would have to say would be beyond embarrassing.

Kant's other Critiques are even more difficult than the one you list, but even more important in my opinion.

Weird how my love affair with anti-Hegelians and anti-Kantians brought me back to Hegel and Kant.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 11:53:55 AM by orthonorm »
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2013, 11:54:53 AM »
How is Nietzsche boring? Everything the man wrote was interesting.

Try making it through his "poetry". Although he didn't really take that stuff too seriously himself.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2013, 11:58:07 AM »
Deleuze.
Luhmann.

I am certain the two men above will come to be held as the greatest thinkers of the second half the 20th century.

« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 11:58:18 AM by orthonorm »
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Offline Papist

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2013, 12:04:59 PM »
Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics by Kant: Very heavy and very boring. I remember I read most of the book in one day, and developed a headache reading it.


Metaphysics: Aristotle. A great deal of this book is very easy to read but there are sections of the work that I had to read multiple times with commentary to understand what Aristotle was getting at. Probably because I didn't know all of the controversies which he was addressing.

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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2013, 12:15:51 PM »
The complete 800+ page Catechism of the Catholic Church...
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Offline Nephi

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2013, 12:26:22 PM »
People don't take Nietzsche seriously enough. He gets the fanbois of late adolescence who think they understand him and move on later to who knows what.

I will say that the beginning of Beyond Good and Evil is one of the greatest starts of any philosophical work. If you can read those first few paragraphs and get a sense of what is going on, then you might be able to read good ol' Neech.

I may have to do that. Luckily I had good professors, and was never around those fanboys.

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2013, 12:30:07 PM »
People don't take Nietzsche seriously enough. He gets the fanbois of late adolescence who think they understand him and move on later to who knows what.

I will say that the beginning of Beyond Good and Evil is one of the greatest starts of any philosophical work. If you can read those first few paragraphs and get a sense of what is going on, then you might be able to read good ol' Neech.

I may have to do that. Luckily I had good professors, and was never around those fanboys.

The problem with neech is that is he is seemingly so obvious at first or contrarywise obscurant. I don't read him any more as such, but as I have said before around here, if I had a few junior high school aged kids, we would read Descartes and then neech.

I can't think of two better thinkers who make clear the problems with which more people tend to struggle with in the day to day. And it might encourage one or two kids out of a 1000 to read some of the more difficult thinkers.
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Re: Most difficult pieces of writing and/or thinkers/authors/etc.
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2013, 02:37:22 PM »
Adorno- Dialectic of Enlightenment
Hardt and Negri- Empire

Though the difficulty of reading these comes less from difficulty of thoughts than from unnecessarily turgid writing.