In an hour I shall leave for the airport for a quick trip to San Francisco, where I shall have the extraordinary pleasure of playing my viola with my grandson, who is just starting to study the violin. If I live long enough and he studies hard enough, the moment may come when we can play real duets together. It doesn't get any better for a grandfather!
Yesterday was bizarre, thanks to Reddit. Instead of the customary one thousand to twelve hundred daily visits to this blog, Google recorded 24,810 visits. I would not have though there were that many people in the entire world who are interested in a list of the twenty-five books of Philosophy one ought to read before getting the doctorate.
I read some of the comments on Reddit, and for any of those 24,810 who are still hanging around, I should like to clarify four points.
First, I omitted works of twentieth century analytic philosophy because I assume that graduate students will get all the advice they need about those works from the courses they are taking and the professors they are studying with. It should go without saying that someone who studied with Willard van Orman Quine and Nelson Goodman before he was old enough to drive would want contemporary graduate students to familiarize themselves with the twentieth and twenty-first century analytic literature.
Second, I ended the list more or less with the eighteenth century because after Kant things explode in western philosophy and there is no longer a single tradition on which everyone can agree.
Third, I omitted Hegel because I don't like him. It is my list, and I get to leave off it anyone I can't stand reading.
Finally, why just twenty-five? Why not fifty? Because I thought that if I listed twenty-five books, some of which any graduate student in philosophy would almost certainly have read, there was just a chance that some industrious student might be inspired to tackle the rest. But if I listed fifty titles, a graduate student would glance at it, mutter "as if ..," and forget the whole idea.
I shall return late Sunday night, so I should be back at this blog on Monday. Don't get into too much trouble while I am away.