Steve Cooke

measuring the boundaries of our nation by the sun


Favourite Philosophy Books

This blog is about the reading of books, and I was thinking earlier about the books that I’ve most enjoyed reading, or have complimented my studies the most, since starting my journey into academia. For some reason, these sorts of lists are usually end up being multipliers of ten – mine is not. So here they are – the books that I love:

  1. The Right and the Good, W.D. Ross – I just love this book to bits. Ross is a wonderfully gentle writer, and I’m fascinated by intuitionism (one day I’ll convince someone to fund me to develop an intuitionist approach to non-human animals). I bought this on a whim, having come across a reference to Ross in a footnote of something I was reading, and fell in love with it immediately.
  2. Rights, Peter Jones – if there’s a better introductory book on Rights I’ve yet to find it. A book I’ve gone back to again and again over the last five years.
  3. Applied Ethics, Peter Singer (ed) – this little collection of incredibly influential papers is endlessly useful and thought provoking.
  4. What does it all mean?, Thomas Nagel – 101 perfectly formed pages of engaging writing on some of biggest philosophical problems there are. It’s been my recent lunch-break companion.
  5. Doing Philosophy, Joel Feinberg – this excellent guide to writing philosophy papers also contains some good chapters on logic, advice on grammar (I should read that again), and a short section on ‘the irrelevance of most library research’.
  6. An Introduction to Political Philosophy, Jonathan Wolff – Wolff’s book is really well written and covers a lot of ground. I use it to inform my teaching.
  7. The Elements of Moral Philosophy, James Rachels – I’m working my way through this slim volume at the moment, and am already in awe of Rachels’ ability to write clearly, comprehensively, and succinctly.

So that’s my little list of indispensable books – it probably says a lot about me that all of them are quite short. If my academic books were all stolen, I’d probably replace those seven first – what about you?