The web site Demasiado Aire recently asked "some of the world’s most important philosophers which three books influenced them the most while undergraduate students." And, from what we can tell, they got a good response. 28 influential philosophers dutifully jotted their lists, and, for at least the past day, Demasiado Aire has been offline, seemingly overwhelmed by traffic. Thanks to the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, we can recover these lists and provide you with a few highlights. We have added links to the texts cited by the philosophers. The free texts have an asterisk (*) next to them.
Charles Taylor (McGill University):
–Phénoménologie de la Perception, Maurice Merleau-Ponty
–The Brothers Karamazov*, Fyodor Dostoevsky
–Jalons pour une théologie du Laïcat, Yves Congar
Daniel Dennett (Tufts University):
–Word and Object, Quine.
–The concept of mind*, Gilbert Ryle
–Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein
“I got to study with Quine and Ryle, but Wittgenstein had died before I encountered his work”.
Alexander Nehamas (Princeton University):
–Apology of Socrates*, Plato
–Nicomachean Ethics*, Aristotle
“Also, I should point out that Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality* had a huge effect on me when I was a graduate student and had a formative influence on my philosophical development”.
David Chalmers (Australian National University):
“I was an undergraduate student in mathematics rather than philosophy, but the answer is”:
–Gödel, Escher Bach, Douglas Hofstadter
–The Mind’s I, Douglas Hofstadter & Daniel Dennett
–Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit
If you'd like to support Open Culture and our mission, please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us provide the best free cultural and educational materials.