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« Should philosophers lead interdisciplinary projects? (Guest post by Mandi Astola) | Main | Resubmitting a paper to the same journal? »

06/02/2021

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Postdoc

Chris Korsgaard's Sources of Normativity. I have very little sympathy for Kantian ethics and tend not to understand what Kantians are on about. But ... darned if this wasn't clear, compelling, accessible, and one of the most thought-provoking books I've ever read.

Daniel Weltman

This is true of basically all historical philosophy I've read. I know lots of people who don't do history mostly just stop reading this stuff once they're done with grad school but I've found it's quite valuable to keep reading more of it, even though I'm very unlikely to ever write directly about any of it. I want to give a special shoutout to Sidgwick's The Methods of Ethics. It's perhaps kind of dry on the surface and people might be (or may in the past have been) inclined to skip it, but it's stupendous! Unfortunately I have almost nothing useful to say about how good it is that isn't just a recapitulation of the stuff Parfit says about it in Reasons and Persons and On What Matters. (In On What Matters, Parfit says The Methods of Ethics is the best book on ethics ever written, albeit sometimes boring.)

Marcus Arvan

Postdoc: totally agree! I was thinking yesterday that I should have given it as a third example in my OP. Sources is an excellent and important book!

Sam Duncan

Being and Time. I was assigned an excerpt in a required class in my MA that I otherwise did not like at all and it really grabbed me. Years later I had to read the rest as prep for a survey of "continental" philosophy I'd agreed to teach. Some of it's crazy (especially in division 2) and you can see how some of it lead to really dark places but some parts are brilliant and eye opening in a way that only great philosophy is. The bits on how post-Cartesian philosophy distorts the way we experience dealing with other human beings and the stuff on pragmatic engagement being more fundamental than theoretical reasoning are particularly good. He also beat Ryle to the "knowing how/knowing that" distinction by a decade or two. (In fact, there's a decent case to be made that Ryle cribbed it from him).

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