Which Five Philosophical Books Would You Bring If You Were Going To Be Struck On A Desert Island?
Arntzenius (University of Southern California): I'd take J.S. Bell's Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics, because I haven't read this book and Bell is the most brilliant writer in philosophical physics. I'd take Van Klaus' book of quantum mechanics which I haven't read and should (prove) to be very interesting. Then I might take the three volume series on parallel distributive processing, which describes neuro-network methods, solving certain problems and prime ultimatum which is discovering intelligence in a scientific series. Last I would probably take the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, so that I would learn more about eastern traditions. Beckman (Harvey Mudd): Aristotle's Ethics, Plato's Republic, Nietzsche's Zarathustra, Wittgenstein's On Certainty, and Heidegger's Being and Time. They're all books that you can read many times and they are new, different every time you read them. Churchland, Paul (U.C. San Diego): I don't think I will take five philosophical books. I already know the philosophical books that I might regard as important. I will take something that I haven't read or I will take something like the Encyclopedia Britannica or something like that, so that I will acquire new information. I don't want to reread books that I already read. I think that answer is this, I will not take any philosophical text at all. I will take the biggest book on physics, astronomy, chemistry, geology, and mathematics that I can find. Cohon (Stanford University): Hard question. I know I won't be able to stand by my list for even a day. But here's today's list: David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature--there is so much in it to think about and puzzle over. Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals-- it is inspiring, deep, also puzzling, worth reading again and again. John Rawls, A Theory of Justice--an enormous amount in it, and maybe I'd finally get it all down. Plato, several dialogues--I suppose this is a cop-out, but I wouldn't want to be limited to just one. Plato is so subtle and clever. The Euthyphro would be one, and maybe the Meno would be another. Copp (U.C. Davis): How long would I be stuck there? Do you mean forever, with no rescue? If so, I would take Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Rawl's Theory of Justice, Hume's Treatise, Grice's Studies of the Way of Words, and Hobbes' Leviathan. Dreyfus (U.C. Berkeley): I would take Heidegger's Being and Time because I think it is so complicated that though I have taught it for 25 years and written a book on it, I still haven't gotten to the bottom of it. I suppose I would take the Brothers Karamozov which I think is the greatest novel ever written. The fact is that on a deserted island I wouldn't want to read philosophy. I would rather take a lot of good novels like Gravity's Rainbow to read over and over, and the Iliad, and Shakespearean plays. Fischer (U.C. Riverside): I would hope that I could bring more than five, but if I had to choose I would pick: The Republic by Plato, Meditations by Rene Descartes, History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics and the Groundwork of Metaphysics by Immanuel Kant. Friedman (U.C. Davis): Meditations, Descartes; Ethics, Spinoza; A Treatise on Human Nature, Hume; Critique of Pure Reason, Kant; Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu. Kalish (U.C. Los Angeles): The first two I would choose are A Treatise on Human Nature and Enquiry Into Human Understanding by David Hume. Second, I would choose the Autobiography of Bertrand Russell. Third, I would choose the Autobiography of John Stuart Mill. The reason I would choose this is because it is a literary masterpiece as well as an extraordinary book. He was probably one of the only major philosophers in the entire western tradition that really took seriously what we know today as feminism. Next I would choose Human Nature and Conduct by John Dewey because it influenced my own development. Kaplan (U.C. Los Angeles): I would take things that kept me occupied. I would take works by Bertrand Russell and things I really enjoy. Things by Carnap and probably something very mathematical and logical, some kind of reason work, and category theory, something like that. And if I was struck on a desert island I would have plenty of time to read many things I don't have the time for now. Lloyd (U.C. Berkeley): I would take Rousseau--writings on human nature and politics, Saint Augustine's Confessions, Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, and I would take a book on ethics and society, science and society, but I can't decide which one it would be. Matson (U.C. Berkeley): Plato's Republic; I find something new to argue with in it every time I read it. Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations; I would have time to puzzle out the hints. Nietzsche's Will to Power--an enormous treasury of insights waiting to be developed. Spinoza's Ethics for inspiration--the greatest single work of philosophy. Hobbes' controversy with Bramhall on free will. The most fun to read. Schopenhauer's World as Will and Idea would console me for being out of the rat race. McCann (University of Southern California): I'd take, first of all, Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Hume's A Treatise on Human Nature, and Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, not only because they are the books I am professionally concerned with and have a lot more to learn, but because they are the most important philosophical works of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Rounding out, I would take Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations and some of Quine's writings, including Word and Object, as these are among the most fruitful contemporary writings. McGray (University of San Diego): I would probably want the works of Wittgenstein, Russell, Quine, and Putnam, plus some logic texts and stuff on artificial intelligence. Right now I am more interested in certain questions and areas of philosophy rather than specific authors. Needleman (San Francisco State): The Dialogues of Plato, Ethics of Spinoza, Tao Te Ching. Pippin (U.C. San Diego): Plato's Republic; Descartes' Meditations; Kant's Critique of Pure Reason; Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit; Heidegger's Being and Time. Rosenberg (U.C. Riverside): Well, the first thing I'd choose is "Boat Building Made Simple." I would also take Hume's Human Nature, an article on logics-amatics and metamathematics, Quine's Word and Object, and Aristotle's Metaphysics. Ross (Claremont Scripps College): First, five books is not very many when there are so many books to choose from. I would take a book on the works of Plato and Aristotle, Dostoyevsky, any book by Dewey or Kant or Spinoza because they are very religious and deal with pantheism. Scott-Kakures (Claremont Scripps College): I don't think I'd take any philosophy. But, I wonder how I got into such a nightmarish state. I don't know. I guess you're going to force me to answer. I guess Aristotle's Ethics, that's one. Spinoza's Ethics, and Kant's Second Critique. That's all I take. Shalinksy (U.C. San Diego): The best I can do is four: 1) The Critique of Pure Reason (because it's the most important worthwhile hard text in philosophy. 2) The Critique of Practical Reason (because it's the second most worthwhile hard text in philosophy); 3) Neurophilosophy (because I believe human behavior must be explained in neurobiological terms, and because I am mentioned in the prefatory remarks); and 4) any logic textbook (because while away, the long desperate hours by doing logic problems would at least be somewhat distracting). Sircello (U.C. Irvine): Plato's Symposium and Spinoza's Ethics because they deal with my own philosophical interest. Suppes (Stanford University): I would take the collective works of Aristotle; the single volume of Treatise on Human Nature by David Hume; the three critiques of Kant, hopefully in volume--Critique of Pure Reason, and Critique of Practical Reason, and Critique of Judgement. Then I might take something of a different sort in science, perhaps a superb text in classical physics partly because I might find it very useful and a superb text in electrical engineering because I would like to set up my own generator. Wollheim (U.C. Davis): Montaigne's Essays, Freud's Introductory Lectures, Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, Plato's Dialogues, and Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. They are 1) long; 2) interesting and amusing to read; and 3) I haven't read them all.