An Ambitious Undertaking

The Boston Philosophy Meetup has been meeting for years and reading through the Western philosophy in roughly chronological order starting with the Presocratics. They are in the process of wrapping up the nineteenth century with Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. They asked me to help draft an outline of twentieth century philosophy to use a basic guide to the next several years reading. It is quite a plan. I’m sure we won’t follow it exactly. There will be additions, deviations and we will perhaps skip some things that don’t inspire or interest the group. However, the group has been at this for years and has already worked their way through Locke’s Essays on Human Understanding, Hegel’s Phenomenology and Marx’s Capital. This is a dedicated group with a strong commitment to reading the great works of philosophy no matter the length or difficulty. As long and difficult as this list may prove to be I think there is a reasonable chance we’ll get through much of it. And even if we don’t it will be quite an adventure.

Also, we do a meeting by Skype chat every other week so if anyone is is interested you can join in from anywhere in the world (with a reasonable internet connection).

Here is the list:

Boston Philosophy Meetup Group
Twentieth Century Philosophy
150 Meeting Outline


I. Pragmatism I: Classic Pragmatism

Charles S. Pierce (1 or 2 meetings)
>Menand-Pragmatism: A Reader pp. 3-59 (56 pages)
from “Some Consequences of Four Incapacities” (1868)
“The Fixation of Belief” (1877)
“How to Make Our Ideas Clear” (1878)
from “A Guess at the Riddle” (c. 1890)
from “Evolutionary Love” (1893)
“A Definition of Pragmatism” (c. 1904)
>and/or selected essays from Philosophical Papers or online:

William James  (4 meetings)

>Menand-Pragmatism: A Reader pp. 59-136 (76 pages)
“Habit” from Principles of Psychology (1890)
“The Will to Believe” (1896)
“What Pragmatism Means” in Pragmatism (1907)
Pragmatism’s Conception of Truth” in Pragmatism (1907)
“A Pluralistic Univesre” in A Pluralistic Universe (1909)

>The Will to Believe (1897) 325p.

John Dewey (3 meetings)
>Menand-Pragmatism: A Reader pp. 181-272 (90 pages)
“The Ethics of Democracy” (1888)
“Theories of Knowledge” in Democracy and Education (1916)
from “The Need for a Recovery of Philosophy” (1917)
“Experience, Nature and Art” in Experience and Nature (1925)
“I Believe” (1939)

>How We Think (1910; revised ed. 1933)  164p.

Other Pragmatists (1 meeting)

Menand-Pragmatism: A Reader pp. 136-301 (75 pages)
Including:

Oliver Wendell Holmes
“Lecture I; Early Forms of Liability” and “Lecture III: Torts—Trespass and
Negligence” in The Common Law (1881)
from “Privilege, Malice, and Intent” (1894)
“The Path of Law” (1897)
from “Ideals and Doubts” (1915)
from Abrams v. United States (1919)

Jane Adams
from “A Function of the Social Settlement” (1899)

George Herbert Mead
“The Mechanism of Social Consciousness” (1912)
“A Contrast of Individualistic and Social Theories of the Self” (c. 1927)

II. Analytic Philosophy

A. Pre-1900 Antecedents (1 meeting)

Gottlob Frege
>from The Frege Reader (Blackwell Readers) 165p.
Begriffsschrift (1879)                                                 47-79
The Foundations of Arithmetic (1884)                 84-130
“On Sinn and Bedeutung” (1892)                          151-172
“Comments on Sinn and Bedeutung” (1892)      172-181
Grundgesetze der Arithmetik Vol.I (1893)         194-224
Grundgesetze der Arithmetik Vol.II (1903)        258-290

B. 1900-1910 Realist opposition to Idealism (2 meetings)

Morris Weitz -Twentieth-Century Philosophy: The Analytic Tradition (Readings in the History of Philosophy)
Part I. Realism & Common Sense pp. 13-125 (110p.)
G. E. Moore “ The Refutation of Idealism” (1903)
Bertrand Russell “On the Relations of Universals and Particulars” (1911)
Arthur Lovejoy “Natural Dualism” (1930)
G. E. Moore “The Subject Matter of Ethics” from Principia Ethica (1903)
G. E. Moore “A Defense of Common Sense” (1925)

Ludwig Wittgenstein

>On Certainty (1949-51) 90p.

C. 1910-1930 Logical Atomism & Ideal Language Analysis (2 meetings)

Morris Weitz -Twentieth-Century Philosophy: The Analytic Tradition (Readings in the History of Philosophy)
Part II. Logical Analysis pp. 125-205 (80p.)
Bertrand Russell “Logic as the Essence of Philosophy” (1914)
Bertrand Russell “Descriptions” from Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (1919)
Bertrand Russell “The Relation of Sense-data to Physics” (1914)
Gilbert Ryle “Systematically Misleading Expressions” (1931-2)

Ludwig Wittgenstein

>Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921) 95p.

D. 1930-45 Logical Positivism (2 meetings)

Morris Weitz -Twentieth-Century Philosophy: The Analytic Tradition (Readings in the History of Philosophy)
Part III. Logical Positivism pp. 205-281 (75p.)
Rudolf Carnap “The Rejections of Metaphysics” from Philosophy and Logical Syntax (1935)
Hans Hahn “Logic, Mathematics and Knowledge of Nature” (1933)
C. L. Stevenson “The Emotive Meaning of Ethical Terms” (1937)
C. G. Hempel “The Function of General Laws in History” (1942)
J. O. Urmson “Logical Positivism and Analysis” from Philosophical Analysis (1956)

A. J. Ayer

>Language, Truth and Logic (1936) 150p.

E. 1945-1965 Ordinary Language Analysis (2 meetings)

Morris Weitz -Twentieth-Century Philosophy: The Analytic Tradition (Readings in the History of Philosophy)
Part IV. Conceptual Elucidation pp. 281-380 (100p,)
John Wisdom “Philosophical Perplexity” (1936)
Gilbert Ryle “Descartes’ Myth” from The Concept of Mind (1949)
Ludwig Wittgenstein “Pain and Private Language” from Philosophical Investigations (1953)
John Austin “A Plea for Excuses” (1956)
H. L. A Hart & A. M. Honoré “Reasons and Causes in the Law” from Causation in the Law (1955)
Kurt Baier “The Meaning of Life” (1957)

John Austin
>How to Do Things with Words (1962) 175p.

and/or selections from:
>Philosophical Papers (1961)  [including “Other Minds” (1946), “A Plea for Excuses” (1956), “Ifs and Cans”  Performative Utterances”  “Are There Apriori Concepts?” “The Meaning of a Word”]

F. Post-1965 Eclecticism & Pluralism (3 meetings)

Ludwig Wittgenstein
>Philosophical Investigations (1953) 228p.

W. V. O. Quine
>From a Logical Point of View (1950) [including “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” and “On What There Is”] 170p.


III. Hermeneutics/Phenomenology/Existentialism

Henri Bergson (2 meetings)
Creative Evolution (1907) 250p.

Lev Shestov (2 meetings)
All Things are Possible (1905) 246p.

Miguel de Unamuno (2 meetings)
>Tragic Sense of Life (1913) 228p.

Sigmund Freud (4 meetings)
>On Dreams (1901) 76p.
>Outline of Psychoanalysis (1938) 60p.
>Future of an Illusion (1927) 92p.
>Civilization and Its Discontents (1930) 92p.

José Ortega y Gasset (2 meetings)
>Revolt of the Masses (1930) 200p.

Nikolai Berdyaev (3 meetings)
>The Destiny of Man (1931) 328p.

Karl Jaspers (1 meeting)
>Philosophy of Existence (1938) 120p.

Edmund Husserl (2 meetings)
>The Idea of Phenomenology (1907) 60p.
>Cartesian Meditations (1931) 160p.

Martin Heidegger (7 meetings)
>Being and Time (1926) 500p.
>Poetry, Language, Thought (1946-60) 225p.

Maurice Mereleau-Ponty (1 meeting)
>The World of Perception (1948) 100p.

Jean-Paul Sartre       (6 meetings)
>Transcendence of the Ego (1937) 100p.
>Existentialism is a Humanism (1946) 128p.
>Search for a Method (1957) 200p.
>Colonialism and Neocolonialsim (1964) 256p.

Franz Fanon (3 meetings)
>Wretched of the Earth (1961) 315p.

Gabriel Marcel (2 meetings)
>Man against Mass Society (1962) 200p.

Hans-Georg Gadamer (5 meetings)
>Truth and Method (1960) 580p.

Hans Jonas (2 meetings)
>Phenomenon of Life (1966) 280p.

Emmanuel Levinas (2 meetings)
>Otherwise than Being (1974) 200p.

 IV. Marxism/Frankfurt School/Liberalism

Thorstein Veblen (2 meetings)
>Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) 260p.

György Lukács (4 meetings)
>History and Class Consciousness (1923) 400p.

Ernst Bloch (3 meetings)
>Spirit of Utopia (1918) 278p.
>Traces (1929) 172p.

Isaiah Berlin            (1 meeting)
>“The Hedgehog and the Fox” and other essays (1935) 150p.

Walter Benjamin (1 or 2 meetings)
>Selected essays from Illuminations or online (c. 1920’s-30’s) c. 150p.

Herbert Marcuse (no meeting-read  July 2010)
>Reason and Revolution (1941) 420p.

Friedrich Hayak (2 meetings)
>The Road to Serfdom (1944) 260p.

Alexandre Kojève (no meeting-read  April 2010)
>Introduction to the Reading of Hegel (1947) 250p.

Theodor Adorno/Max Horkheimer (2 meetings)
>Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947) 230p.

Max Horkheimer (2 meetings)
>Eclipse of Reason (1947)  200p.

Karl Löwith (2 meetings)
>Meaning in History (1949) 222p.

Reinhold Niebhur (2 meetings)
>The Irony of American History (1952) 180p.

Leo Strauss/Alexandre Kojève (2 meetings)
>On Tyranny (1948/54) 215p.

Arnold Gehlen (1 meeting)
>Man in the Age of Technology (1957) 166p.

Hannah Arendt (4 meetings)
>The Human Condition (1958) 321p.
>Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963) 300p.

Jürgen Habermas (2 meetings)
>The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (1962) 250p.

John Rawls   (4 meetings)
>Theory of Justice (1971) 600p.

Giorgio Ambgen (1 meeting)
>State of Exception (2005) 100p.

V. Structuralism/Post-Structuralism/Post-Modernism

A. Structuralism

Ferdinand Saussure (2 meetings)
>Course in General Linguistics (1915) 232p.

Marcel Maus (1 meeting)
>The Gift (1923) 79p.

Geroges Bataille (2 meetings)
>The Accursed Share Vol.1 (1949) 190p.

Claude Levi-Strauss (3 meetings)
>The Savage Mind (1962) 267p.
>Totemism (1962) 104p.

Louis Althusser (2 meetings)
>For Marx (1965) 240p.

B. Post-Structuralism

Rolland Barthes (1 meeting)
>Writing Degree Zero (1968) 87p.

Michel Foucault (4 meetings)
>Discipline and Punish (1975) 308p.
>The Care of the Self (1984) 240p.

Rolland Barthes (2 meetings)
>The Neutral (1978) 200p.

Jacques Derrida (4 meetings)
>Positions (1981) 96p.
>Limited Inc. (1988) 154p. with John Searle’s “Reiterating the Differences” (1988)
>Given Time: I. Counterfeit Money (1992) 170p.

Jürgen Habermas (3 meetings)
>The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity (1985) 370p.

Alan Sokol (1 meeting)
>Beyond the Hoax or online documents (1996/2008) up to 450p.

C. Post-Modernism

Guy Debord (1 meeting)
>The Society of the Spectacle (1967) 150p.

Jean Baudrillard (5 meetings)
>The System of Objects (1968) 224p.
>For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign (1972) 212p.
>Simulacra & Simulation (1981) 160p.

Jean-François Lyotard (1 meeting)
>The Postmodern Condition (1979) 82p.

Michel De Certeau (2 meetings)
>The Practice of Everyday Life (1980) 200p.

Pierre Bourdieu (4 meetings)
>Distinction (1984) 500p.

Paul Virilio (1 meeting)
>The Vision Machine (1994) 96p.

John Searle (2 meetings)
>Making the Social World (2010) 224p.

VI. Pragmatism II: Later Pragmatism

Richard Rorty (4 meetings)
>The Mirror of Nature (1979) 435p.
>Menand-Pragmatism: A Reader pp. 303-337 (35 pages)
“Philosophy as a Kind of Writing: An Essay on Derrida” (1978-79)
“Postmodern Bourgeois Liberalism” (1983)

Later Pragmatists (1 meeting)

Menand-Pragmatism: A Reader pp. 337-469 (130 pages)
Including:

Hilary Putnam
“Fact and Value” in Reason, Truth and History (1981)

Steven Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels
from “Against Theory” (1982)

Richard J. Bernsteiin
“Pragmatism, Pluralism, and the Healing of Wounds” (1988)

Cornel West
“Prophetic Pragmatism” in The American Evasion of Philosophy (1989)

Richard Posner
“A Pragmatic Manifesto” in The Problems of Jurisprudence (1990)

Richard Poirier
“Reading Pragmatically” in Poetry and Pragmatism (1992)

Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt & Margaret Jacob
“The Future of History” in Telling the Truth About History (1994)

Roberto M. Unger  (2 meetings)
> Social Theory (Politics, Vol. 2) (1987) 240p.

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~ by severalfourmany on February 21, 2012.

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