The Third Step In Syntopical Reading

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The third step from the book How To Read A Book from Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren is getting the questions clear.

Once of the most difficult things, but the best approach, to do in this step is to compose neutral questions in order to answer the problem that has been presented. These questions should be put in an order to help us come up with a solution which allows us to interpret the author so that he can give us an answer to our questions.

These questions that we want answered may not be the same as the authors of these books may recognize. Sometimes the author gives no answer to our questions and we must recognize this.

The first question usually has to do, according to page 320, has to do with “the existence or character of the phenomenon or idea we are investigating. If the author says that the phenomenon exists or that the idea has a certain character, then we may ask further questions of his book. A final set of questions might have to do with the consequences of the answers of the previous questions.”

If you have any interest in syntopical reading and getting answers to the questions that you would like answered in your reading, there is no book better than this.


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