Chapter Ten

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 

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 

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 

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 

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.