"My experiences have convinced me that even if we encounter a sentence we cannot make sense of, we will understand it with iterative attempts. So never get tired of re-reading." This remark of a philosophy professor was reassuring. He is a leading philosopher in Japan on what is called the philosophy of mind. So it seems that he has been free from the agony which I undergo whenever I set out to read a philosophical work. Since I heard the remark, which I had never expected to hear him say, I make it a rule never to shy away from the agony. To put it precisely, while reading a philosophical work, I ask such questions as, "What is the conclusion?" "How does the author argue for it?" "How is it related to my research?" and so on.
But this way of reading may possibly be peculiar. This worry looms in my mind because, when I was an undergraduate, I was given an intensive course on how to "do" psychology (I was a psychology major), whereas there has never been a course on doing philosophy or what it is like to be a philosopher.
This worry is dissipating as I am reading this book.
This book is a detailed guide for those who are embarking on the discipline. It tells you how and what to read, how to take notes and how to write papers, which was made clear before my eyes for the first time in my academic career. Though it is intended for undergraduate students, this book is another source of reassurance for me. After all, as far as the philosophical ability and experience are concerned, I am only as good as a fresh-year student.