Eminent Philosophers Name the 43 Most Important Philosophy Books Written Between 1950–2000: Wittgenstein, Foucault, Rawls & More

Image by Aus­tri­an Nation­al Library, via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

Faced with the ques­tion, “who are the most impor­tant philoso­phers of the 20th cen­tu­ry?,” I might find myself com­pelled to ask in turn, “in respect to what?” Ethics? Polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy? Phi­los­o­phy of lan­guage, mind, sci­ence, reli­gion, race, gen­der, sex­u­al­i­ty? Phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy, Fem­i­nism, Crit­i­cal the­o­ry? The domains of phi­los­o­phy have so mul­ti­plied (and some might say siloed), that a num­ber of promi­nent authors, includ­ing emi­nent phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor Robert Solomon, have writ­ten vehe­ment cri­tiques against its entrench­ment in acad­e­mia, with all of the atten­dant pres­sures and rewards. Should every philoso­pher of the past have had to run the gaunt­let of doc­tor­al study, teach­ing, tenure, aca­d­e­m­ic pol­i­tics and con­tin­u­ous pub­li­ca­tion, we might nev­er have heard from some of history’s most lumi­nous and orig­i­nal thinkers.

Solomon main­tains that “noth­ing has been more harm­ful to phi­los­o­phy than its ‘pro­fes­sion­al­iza­tion,’ which on the one hand has increased the abil­i­ties and tech­niques of its prac­ti­tion­ers immense­ly, but on the oth­er has ren­dered it an increas­ing­ly imper­son­al and tech­ni­cal dis­ci­pline, cut off from and for­bid­ding to every­one else.” He cham­pi­oned “the pas­sion­ate life” (say, of Niet­zsche or Camus), over “the dis­pas­sion­ate life of pure rea­son…. Let me be out­ra­geous and insist that phi­los­o­phy mat­ters. It is not a self-con­tained sys­tem of prob­lems and puz­zles, a self-gen­er­at­ing pro­fes­sion of con­jec­tures and refu­ta­tions.” I am sym­pa­thet­ic to his argu­ments even as I might object to his whole­sale rejec­tion of all aca­d­e­m­ic thought as “sophis­ti­cat­ed irrel­e­van­cy.” (Solomon him­self enjoyed a long career at UCLA and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas, Austin.)

But if forced to choose the most impor­tant philoso­phers of the late 20th cen­tu­ry, I might grav­i­tate toward some of the most pas­sion­ate thinkers, both inside and out­side acad­e­mia, who grap­pled with prob­lems of every­day per­son­al, social, and polit­i­cal life and did not shy away from involv­ing them­selves in the strug­gles of ordi­nary peo­ple. This need not entail a lack of rig­or. One of the most pas­sion­ate of 20th cen­tu­ry thinkers, Lud­wig Wittgen­stein, who worked well out­side the uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem, also hap­pens to be one of the most dif­fi­cult and seem­ing­ly abstruse. Nonethe­less, his thought has rad­i­cal impli­ca­tions for ordi­nary life and prac­tice. Per­haps non-spe­cial­ists will tend, in gen­er­al, to accept argu­ments for philosophy’s every­day rel­e­vance, acces­si­bil­i­ty, and “pas­sion.” But what say the spe­cial­ists?

One phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor, Chen Bo of Peking Uni­ver­si­ty, con­duct­ed a sur­vey along with Susan Haack of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mia­mi, at the behest of a Chi­nese pub­lish­er seek­ing impor­tant philo­soph­i­cal works for trans­la­tion. As Leit­er Reports read­er Tra­cy Ho notes, the two pro­fes­sors emailed six­teen philoso­phers in the U.S., Eng­land, Aus­tralia, Ger­many, Fin­land, and Brazil, ask­ing specif­i­cal­ly for “ten of the most impor­tant and influ­en­tial philo­soph­i­cal books after 1950.” “They received rec­om­men­da­tions,” writes Ho, “from twelve philoso­phers, includ­ing: Susan Haack, Don­ald M. Borchert (Ohio U.), Don­ald David­son, Jur­gen Haber­mas, Ruth Bar­can Mar­cus, Thomas Nagel, John Sear­le, Peter F. Straw­son, Hilary Put­nam, and G.H. von Wright.” (Ho was unable to iden­ti­fy two oth­er names, typed in Chi­nese.)

The results, ranked in order of votes, are as fol­lows:

1. Lud­wig Wittgen­stein, Philo­soph­i­cal Inves­ti­ga­tions

2. W. V. Quine, Word and Object

3. Peter F. Straw­son, Indi­vid­u­als: An Essay in Descrip­tive Meta­physics

4. John Rawls, A The­o­ry of Jus­tice

5. Nel­son Good­man, Fact, Fic­tion and Fore­cast

6. Saul Krip­ke, Nam­ing and Neces­si­ty

7. G.E.M. Anscombe, Inten­tion

8. J. L. Austin, How to do Things with Words

9. Thomas Kuhn, The Struc­ture of Sci­en­tif­ic Rev­o­lu­tions

10. M. Dum­mett, The Log­i­cal Basis of Meta­physics

11. Hilary Put­nam, The Many Faces of Real­ism

12. Michel Fou­cault, The Order of Things: An Archae­ol­o­gy of the Human Sci­ences

13. Thomas Nagel, The View From Nowhere

14. Robert Noz­ick, Anar­chy, State and Utopia

15. R. M. Hare, The Lan­guage of Morals and Free­dom and Rea­son

16. John R. Sear­le, Inten­tion­al­i­ty and The Redis­cov­ery of the Mind

17. Bernard Williams, Ethics and the Lim­its of Phi­los­o­phyDescartes: The Project of Pure Enquiry and Moral Luck: Philo­soph­i­cal Papers 1973–1980

18. Karl Pop­per, Con­jec­ture and Refu­ta­tions

19. Gilbert Ryle, The Con­cept of Mind

20. Don­ald David­son, Essays on Action and Event and Inquiries into Truth and Inter­pre­ta­tion

21. John McDow­ell, Mind and World

22. Daniel C. Den­nett, Con­scious­ness Explained and The Inten­tion­al Stance

23. Jur­gen Haber­mas, The­o­ry of Com­mu­nica­tive Action and Between Facts and Norm

24. Jacques Der­ri­da, Voice and Phe­nom­e­non and Of Gram­ma­tol­ogy

25. Paul Ricoeur, Le Metaphore Vive and Free­dom and Nature

26. Noam Chom­sky, Syn­tac­tic Struc­tures and Carte­sian Lin­guis­tics

27. Derek Parfitt, Rea­sons and Per­sons

28. Susan Haack, Evi­dence and Inquiry

29. D. M. Arm­strong, Mate­ri­al­ist The­o­ry of the Mind and A Com­bi­na­to­r­i­al The­o­ry of Pos­si­bil­i­ty

30. Her­bert Hart, The Con­cept of Law and Pun­ish­ment and Respon­si­bil­i­ty

31. Ronald Dworkin, Tak­ing Rights Seri­ous­ly and Law’s Empire

As an adden­dum, Ho adds that “most of the works on the list are ana­lyt­ic phi­los­o­phy,” there­fore Prof. Chen asked Haber­mas to rec­om­mend some addi­tion­al Euro­pean thinkers, and received the fol­low­ing: “Axel Hon­neth, Kampf um Anerken­nung (1992), Rain­er Forst, Kon­texte der Cerechtigkeit (1994) and Her­bert Schnadel­bach, Kom­men­tor zu Hegels Rechtephiloso­phie (2001).”

The list is also over­whelm­ing­ly male and pret­ty exclu­sive­ly white, point­ing to anoth­er prob­lem with insti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion that Solomon does not acknowl­edge: it not only excludes non-spe­cial­ists but can also exclude those who don’t belong to the dom­i­nant group (and so, per­haps, excludes the every­day con­cerns of most of the world’s pop­u­la­tion). But there you have it, a list of the most impor­tant, post-1950 works in phi­los­o­phy accord­ing to some of the most emi­nent liv­ing philoso­phers. What titles, read­ers, might get your vote, or what might you add to such a list, whether you are a spe­cial­ist or an ordi­nary, “pas­sion­ate” lover of philo­soph­i­cal thought?

via Leit­er Reports

Relat­ed Con­tent:

A His­to­ry of Phi­los­o­phy in 81 Video Lec­tures: From Ancient Greece to Mod­ern Times 

Oxford’s Free Intro­duc­tion to Phi­los­o­phy: Stream 41 Lec­tures

Intro­duc­tion to Polit­i­cal Phi­los­o­phy: A Free Yale Course 

135 Free Phi­los­o­phy eBooks

Free Online Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es

44 Essen­tial Movies for the Stu­dent of Phi­los­o­phy

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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Comments (39)
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  • Timothy E. Kennelly says:

    Leo Strauss: “Nat­ur­al Right and His­to­ry” and “Per­se­cu­tion and the Art of Writ­ing”

  • John Rogers says:

    Ryle’s great work actu­al­ly came out in 1949. I sug­gest that the fol­low­ing deserve strong con­sid­er­a­tion: Fey­er­abend’s Against Method, Gadamer’s Truth and Method, and Dray’s Laws and Expla­na­tion in His­to­ry.

  • Forest Trowbridge says:

    I’m at a loss to under­stand how the most com­pre­hen­sive, con­sis­tent, and fun­da­men­tal­ly based philoso­pher of all time, cov­er­ing meta­physics, epis­te­mol­o­gy, ethics, pol­i­tics, and aes­thet­ics, could be left off the list of most impor­tant philoso­phers and philoso­phies since 1950. I am refer­ring to Ayn Rand and Objec­tivism.

  • James M. says:

    For bet­ter or worse, Ms. Rand’s work has not been influ­en­tial with­in aca­d­e­m­ic phi­los­o­phy. Most philoso­phers would prob­a­bly regard her as just a pop­u­lar author. They would not regard her as hav­ing writ­ten any­thing schol­ar­ly on, say, ethics–her Objec­tivism, as I recall, is just gar­den vari­ety eth­i­cal ego­ism. And they would prob­a­bly not think of her as hav­ing writ­ten any­thing *at all* on, say, meta­physics or epis­te­mol­o­gy. Did she write on these? On sub­jects like the nature of prop­er­ties and rela­tions? Or on modal meta­physics, con­scious­ness, inten­sion and exten­sion, the analytic/synthetic dis­tinc­tion, apri­or­i­ty & apos­te­ri­or­i­ty, the­o­ries of epis­temic jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, con­fir­ma­tion­al holism, Molin­ist refu­ta­tions of the prob­lem of evil, nat­ur­al the­o­log­i­cal argu­ments, the nature of expla­na­tion, or any oth­er high­ly tech­ni­cal such top­ics that have been at the fore of philo­soph­i­cal dis­cus­sion for the past half-cen­tu­ry? I am not aware of her hav­ing writ­ten any­thing on any of those.

  • Chris Atkinson says:

    Sure­ly Ayer’s Lan­guage, Truth and Log­ic should fea­ture on the list — huge­ly influ­en­tial.

  • Joshua Synon says:

    Kei­ji Nishi­tani, “Reli­gion and Noth­ing­ness” and “The Self-Over­com­ing of Nihilism”

  • jkop says:

    The num­ber of aca­d­e­m­ic phi­los­o­phy depart­ments mul­ti­plied, not the domains of phi­los­o­phy, when spe­cial inter­ests or activists began to use “the­o­ry” as a means in their fight for pow­er.

  • Michael Gibbons says:

    That’s because she’s shal­low.

  • Michael Gibbons says:


  • Joel says:

    Jean Piaget and Bar­bel Inhelder, The Psy­chol­o­gy of the Child, 1950
    Alan Tur­ing, Com­put­ing machin­ery and intel­li­gence, 1950
    Isa­iah Berlin, The Age of Enlight­en­ment, 1956
    Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957
    Claude Levi-Strauss, Struc­tur­al Anthro­pol­o­gy, 1959
    Carl Rogers, On Becom­ing a Per­son: A Ther­a­pist’s View of Psy­chother­a­py, 1961
    Mur­ray Roth­bard, Man, Econ­o­my, and State, 1962
    Fer­nand Braudel, Civil­i­sa­tion matérielle, 1967
    Brent Berlin and Paul Kay, Basic Col­or Terms: Their Uni­ver­sal­i­ty and Evo­lu­tion, 1969
    Paul Karl Fey­er­abend, Against Method: Out­line of an Anar­chis­tic The­o­ry of Knowl­edge, 1970
    Nico­las Bour­ba­ki, Élé­ments de math­é­ma­tique, 1970
    B. F. Skin­ner, Beyond Free­dom and Dig­ni­ty, 1971
    Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guat­tari, Anti-Oedi­pus: Cap­i­tal­ism and Schiz­o­phre­nia, 1972
    A. J. Ayer, The Cen­tral Ques­tions Of Phi­los­o­phy, 1973
    Imre Lakatos, Proofs and Refu­ta­tions, 1976
    Lar­ry Lau­dan, Progress and Its Prob­lems: Towards a The­o­ry of Sci­en­tif­ic Growth, 1977
    Stan­ley Cavell, The Claim of Rea­son: Wittgen­stein, Skep­ti­cism, Moral­i­ty, and Tragedy, 1979
    Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Intel­li­gent Machines, 1990
    J.L. Schel­len­berg, Divine Hid­den­ness and Human Rea­son
    Fran­cis Fukuya­ma, The End of His­to­ry and the Last Man, 1992

  • John Rogers says:

    User’s book came out in 1936; this list is 1950–2000.

  • lora says:

    quentin meil­las­soux after fini­tude !

  • John Rogers says:

    That’s Ayer’s.

  • John Rogers says:

    Meil­las­soux’s book came out in 2008. C’mon, peo­ple, read the head­line!

  • Joel says:

    Ayer’s Lan­guage, Truth, and Log­ic came out in 1936. The Cen­tral Ques­tions of Phi­los­o­phy was a lat­er, and much more wide-rang­ing book, in which he actu­al­ly rejects many of his old ideas expressed in Lan­guage, Truth, and Log­ic.

  • Joel says:

    Quentin Meil­las­soux, After Fini­tude was pub­lished after 2000.

  • j says:

    Rand. Ha ha ha.

  • Xavier says:

    [The list is also over­whelm­ing­ly male and pret­ty exclu­sive­ly white, point­ing to anoth­er prob­lem with insti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion that Solomon does not acknowl­edge: …]

    Any non-white / non male author who should be includ­ed ?

  • Joel says:

    The head­line is “The 43 Most Impor­tant Phi­los­o­phy Books Writ­ten Between 1950–2000”. The list is over­whelm­ing­ly male and white because the 43 Most Impor­tant Phi­los­o­phy Books Writ­ten Between 1950–2000 were writ­ten by over­whelm­ing­ly male and pret­ty exclu­sive­ly white peo­ple. Non-White non-males are free to write impor­tant phi­los­o­phy books if they want. There’s as muc stop­ping them as there is any aver­age per­son, who will most like­ly not write one of the 43 most impor­tant phi­los­o­phy books of the last half-cen­tu­ry.

  • Jim Wright says:

    For those who would Know.

    Ayn Rand died in 1983 with her phi­los­o­phy com­plet­ed but not well orga­nized in a sin­gle book. Leonard Peikoff, a stu­dent of hers, cod­i­fied her phi­los­o­phy in his book “OBJECTIVISM: the phi­los­o­phy of AYN RAND”, pub­lished in 1991. For those who would like to make their own deci­sions I rec­om­mend study­ing this book. Cur­rent­ly, Objec­tivism is being pro­mot­ed by The Ayn Rand Insti­tute in Irvine, Cal­i­for­nia.

    Jin Wright

  • Required says:

    Hi, there are two typos in the name of Ricoeur’s book (#25). It should be “La Métaphore Vive”, not “Le Metaphore Vive”.

  • Jim Wright says:

    For those who would know, adden­dum.

    It occured to me that cer­tain of Ayn Rand’s talks and writ­ings before her death would cer­tain­ly be of inter­est to you. Of these “Phi­los­o­phy: Who Needs It?”, tops the list. This book begins with a talk Miss Rand gave to a grad­u­at­ing class at West Point Mil­i­tary Acad­e­my in 1974, and con­tains some 18 short arti­cles on var­i­ous aspects of Objec­tivism.

    Jim Wright

  • nieznany says:

    Some­what sur­prised Rorty’s Phi­los­o­phy and the Mir­ror of Nature did­n’t make it, but I guess a lot of pro­fes­sion­al philoso­phers still have some kind of grudge against RR.

    Ayn Rand isn’t on the list because no pro­fes­sion­al philoso­phers take her seri­ous­ly. They don’t take her seri­ous­ly because her work is, philo­soph­i­cal­ly speak­ing, worth­less. (Her lit­er­ary attempts are also worth­less, but I guess that’s a dif­fer­ent con­ver­sa­tion.)

  • Joel says:

    The prob­lem with Rand’s work is not that it’s worth­less. Uno­rig­i­nal, maybe. Unpop­u­lar, cer­tain­ly. But what philoso­phers mean when they say her work is worth­less is that they don’t agree with it. It’s been like that through­out the his­to­ry of phi­los­o­phy.

  • Robert M. Kelly says:

    I am one of the ordi­nary type of phi­los­o­phy lovers. I think Joel has a point about the Rand crit­ics. Their rather rude dis­missal here smacks of pil­ing on. In terms of strat­e­gy it reminds me of Hobbes deci­sion to label any­thing that con­tra­dict­ed his mate­ri­al­is­tic premis­es as “mean­ing­less”. Prob­lem solved, I sup­pose, but per­haps Hobbes’s move, in ret­ro­spect, was reduc­tive think­ing which restrict­ed the field unnec­es­sar­i­ly. Mind you, I’m not say­ing Rand is a great philoso­pher, or even a coher­ent one. But, she does have her admir­ers some of whom we’ve heard from. I would think that her exclu­sion from this list of the “greats” of this 50-year span should have sat­is­fied her crit­ics.

  • nieznany says:

    “But what philoso­phers mean when they say her work is worth­less is that they don’t agree with it. It’s been like that through­out the his­to­ry of phi­los­o­phy.” — This is whol­ly incor­rect. An enor­mous part of the activ­i­ty of philoso­phers con­sists in iden­ti­fy­ing points of dis­agree­ment with oth­er philoso­phers, explain­ing why they’re wrong, and propos­ing alter­na­tives. This has noth­ing to do with declar­ing the crit­i­cized phi­los­o­phy worth­less; on the con­trary, the engage­ment with it shows that it is con­sid­ered to have val­ue as phi­los­o­phy; that activ­i­ty of dis­agree­ment and argu­ment is itself a huge part of what phi­los­o­phy is. Aris­to­tle did­n’t agree with Pla­to on many ques­tions; Aris­to­tle did not there­by regard Pla­to’s work as worth­less. This is how it’s been through­out the his­to­ry of phi­los­o­phy.

    With regard to Rand, the dis­re­gard for her work is shown pre­cise­ly by the lack (for the most part) of this kind of engage­ment with it. From the Stan­ford Ency­clo­pe­dia of Phi­los­o­phy: “Where­as Rand’s ideas and mode of pre­sen­ta­tion make Rand pop­u­lar with many non-aca­d­e­mics, they lead to the oppo­site out­come with aca­d­e­mics. She devel­oped some of her views in response to ques­tions from her read­ers, but nev­er took the time to defend them against pos­si­ble objec­tions or to rec­on­cile them with the views expressed in her nov­els. Her philo­soph­i­cal essays lack the self-crit­i­cal, detailed style of ana­lyt­ic phi­los­o­phy, or any seri­ous attempt to con­sid­er pos­si­ble objec­tions to her views. Her polem­i­cal style, often con­temp­tu­ous tone, and the dog­ma­tism and cult-like behav­ior of many of her fans also sug­gest that her work is not worth tak­ing seri­ous­ly.”

  • James Wright says:

    For Those who would Know III.

    Those who reject Ayn Rand’s phi­los­o­phy are the Intel­lec­tu­als, who pre­sum­ably have read it, who have their per­son­al rea­sons, and the Lay­men, many of whom have not read her phi­los­o­phy, and are recit­ing what they’ve been told.

    How much bet­ter to have read it and to make your own judge­ment? Per­haps to start by read­ing her “Phi­los­o­phy: Who Needs It”.

    Jim Wright

  • Nieznany says:

    Con­sid­er­ing life is already far too short to read every­thing that’s actu­al­ly worth read­ing, I’d say it’s bet­ter not to waste your time read­ing some­one whose work has been essen­tial­ly unan­i­mous­ly reject­ed by those trained in the field.

    Rand was intel­li­gent and tal­ent­ed, but she was a crank, and her work attracts cranks. Or intel­li­gent, dis­af­fect­ed teenagers, who in most cas­es go through a Rand phase before out­grow­ing her imma­ture vision of the soli­tary, mis­un­der­stood genius/hero who has to make his (and it usu­al­ly is his) lone­ly, unas­sist­ed way through a world designed by and for the mediocre.

    It would­n’t mat­ter, except that some of the peo­ple who nev­er out­grew this have ascend­ed to posi­tions of polit­i­cal pow­er in the US, where they are able put this ide­ol­o­gy in prac­tice in the ser­vice of the pecu­liar­ly Amer­i­can notion that unfet­tered, dereg­u­lat­ed cap­i­tal­ism, uni­ver­sal pri­va­ti­za­tion, and the fur­ther enrich­ment of the already rich are some­how iden­ti­cal to human free­dom as such. Rand is con­so­nant with that, espe­cial­ly for peo­ple who don’t have any real philo­soph­i­cal acu­men.

    Of course, there are intel­lec­tu­al­ly respon­si­ble ver­sions of the ideas Rand was get­ting at. Noz­ick­’s Anar­chy, State, and Utopia (#14 in the list); Mil­ton Fried­man; some of Niet­zsche. Odd­ly enough, you don’t have to go to a Noz­ick Insti­tute or Fried­man Insti­tute or Niet­zsche Insti­tute to find peo­ple who take them seri­ous­ly.

  • Bill Weitzel says:

    I only see 31, not 43. The list stops at “31. Ronald Dworkin, Tak­ing Rights Seri­ous­ly and Law’s Empire

    As an adden­dum, Ho adds that “most of the works on the list are ana­lyt­ic phi­los­o­phy,” there­fore Prof. Chen asked .….” No more num­bered items.

    Appar­ent­ly some­thing should be between “.… Law’s Empire” and “As an adden­dum.….”

    Thanks a lot for the list!

  • Joel Dick says:


    I’ll respond to one para­graph at a time:

    “…bet­ter not to waste your time read­ing some­one whose work has been essen­tial­ly unan­i­mous­ly reject­ed by those trained in the field.”

    You’ve heard of ad vere­cun­di­am and ad pop­u­lum, haven’t you?

    “…but she was a crank, and her work attracts cranks. Or intel­li­gent, dis­af­fect­ed teenagers, who in most cas­es go through a Rand phase before out­grow­ing her imma­ture vision…”

    If we’re going to dis­qual­i­fy philoso­phers who were cranks, I’m afraid we would­n’t be left with many (also, google ‘ad hominem’ please). And about grow­ing out of a ‘Rand Phase…”, you’ve heard of Niet­zsche, right?

    “…pecu­liar­ly Amer­i­can notion that unfet­tered, dereg­u­lat­ed cap­i­tal­ism, uni­ver­sal pri­va­ti­za­tion, and the fur­ther enrich­ment of the already rich…”
    Ah! Now we’ve got­ten to the meat of the mat­ter. Anti-Rand sen­ti­ment real­ly stems from oppo­si­tion to Amer­i­ca and cap­i­tal­ism. That’s what it’s real­ly about, most of the time. Ask those Marx­ist pro­fes­sors how their polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy worked out in the Sovi­et Union and else­where.

  • nieznany says:

    re Joel Dick:

    Ad pop­u­lum does­n’t fit here as I am appeal­ing specif­i­cal­ly to the opin­ions of experts, not “a lot of peo­ple.”

    And that appeal on my part is of course not intend­ed to have log­i­cal­ly con­clu­sive force, but to serve as a use­ful heuris­tic, giv­en that we all have to make deci­sions as to how to allo­cate the very lim­it­ed resource of our time avail­able for read­ing. Tak­ing into account an over­whelm­ing con­sen­sus of expert opin­ion is an appro­pri­ate tac­tic for that.

    How­ev­er, I am hap­py to cop to engag­ing in ad hominem dis­course against Ms. Rand, because that is the only lev­el of engage­ment her work deserves, par­tic­u­lar­ly con­sid­er­ing her own ad hominem dis­missal of the most impor­tant fig­ures in West­ern phi­los­o­phy as “witch doc­tors.”

    As for anti-cap­i­tal­ism, I went out of my way to con­trast Rand with two influ­en­tial the­o­rists of cap­i­tal­ism in its most mar­ket-friend­ly, lib­er­tar­i­an form — Noz­ick and Fried­man. I don’t agree with them either, but at least their work deserves seri­ous intel­lec­tu­al engage­ment and response.

    Niet­zsche is a some­what dif­fer­ent case as his work does­n’t real­ly address cap­i­tal­ism or “polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy” in the usu­al aca­d­e­m­ic sense, but he can be read in places as advo­cat­ing a kind of eth­i­cal ego­ism that you could also asso­ciate with Rand.

    Niet­zsche was a much bet­ter writer, and broad­er and deep­er thinker, than Rand, of course. Rel­e­gat­ing him to an imma­ture phase that teenagers go through is igno­rant and/or dis­hon­est.

  • Craig Brown says:

    Her­bert Mar­cuse, One Dimen­sion­al Man; Mar­tin Hei­deg­ger, Die Tech­nik und die Kehre; Albert Borgmann, Tech­nol­o­gy and the Char­ac­ter of Con­tem­po­rary Life; Moishe Pos­tone, Time, Labor, and Social Dom­i­na­tion

  • Fred Mecklenburg says:

    Han­nah Arendt, The Human Con­di­tion (1958); Raya Dunayevskaya, Phi­los­o­phy and Rev­o­lu­tion (1973); Gillian Rose, Hegel con­tra Soci­ol­o­gy (1981). I was going to add de Beau­voir but her most sig­nif­i­cant philo­soph­i­cal writ­ing was pre-1950.

  • Thanks says:

    I just want­ed to say thanks to Niez­nany for set­ting Joel straight. Rand fanat­ics always act like she’s dis­liked because of her polit­i­cal views, yet refuse to acknowl­edge the wide­spread respect and admi­ra­tion among aca­d­e­m­ic philoso­phers for Noz­ick, who espoused quite lib­er­tar­i­an views but did it in a rig­or­ous, thought­ful, and philo­soph­i­cal­ly sub­stan­tive way. Rand was a dog­ma­tist who could­n’t write a half-decent argu­ment and who could­n’t engage with any sort of dis­agree­ment, which helps to explain why essen­tial­ly all of her diehard fans are peo­ple who haven’t read much oth­er phi­los­o­phy.

  • Ed in Kansas says:

    Typos / erra­ta in penul­ti­mate para­graph:
    ‘As an adden­dum, Ho adds that “most of the works on the list are ana­lyt­ic phi­los­o­phy,” there­fore Prof. Chen asked Haber­mas to rec­om­mend some addi­tion­al Euro­pean thinkers, and received the fol­low­ing: “Axel Hon­neth, Kampf um Anerken­nung (1992), Rain­er Forst, Kon­texte der Gerechtigkeit [not “Cerechtigkeit”] (1994) and Her­bert Schnädel­bach [not “Schnadel­bach”], Kom­men­tor zu Hegels Recht­sphiloso­phie [not “Rechtephilosophie”](2001).”’

    PS: At least two of these has been trans­lat­ed into Eng­lish.

    Axel Hon­neth, Kampf um Anerken­nung
    > The Strug­gle for Recog­ni­tion: The Moral Gram­mar of Social Con­flicts. Poli­ty Press, 1995

    Rain­er Forst, Kon­texte der Gerechtigkeit
    > Con­texts of Jus­tice. Polit­i­cal Phi­los­o­phy beyond Lib­er­al­ism and Com­mu­ni­tar­i­an­ism. Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Press, 2002

    One of the books men­tioned I do not see with sim­ple web search­es; per­haps Haber­mas had in mind
    Her­bert Schnädel­bach, Hegels Philoso­phie – Kom­mentare zu den Hauptwerken. 3 Bände: Band 2: Hegels prak­tis­che Philoso­phie.

  • JohnSteppling says:

    No a for no kant hegel Marx Spin­oza… I cod­go on.

    No Bud­dhism or Vedic thought. This us an absurd list

  • Carlos says:

    Mario Bunge is one of the great­est SCIENTIFIC PHILOSOPHERS today. His most impor­tant wirk: “Teatrise on Basic Philosoohy”

  • Clarence Saalman says:

    Since Orte­ga y Gas­set died in 1955, and some works were pub­lished
    posthu­mous­ly as well, I should have liked to seen his name on the list. Oth­er names list­ed, I for my part, do not think all that
    con­trib­u­to­ry of crit­i­cal new thought, like Rawls for one. Orte­ga’s
    His­tor­i­cal Rea­son was a new rev­e­la­tion over­turn­ing Carte­sian
    ide­al­ism and method­ol­o­gy; and his Phi­los­o­phy paves the way for the
    Car­son­ian epoch, with atten­tion upon the cir­cum­stances of envi­ron­ment
    and cli­mate as co-exist­ing with the vital rad­i­cal real­i­ty that is the human indi­vid­ual liv­ing in hap­pen­stance. Or so I think. For me, Orte­ga
    y Gas­set’s works are foun­da­tion­al, no less than Par­menides, Aris­to­tle,
    and Descartes. Jacques Barzun, cul­tur­al his­to­ri­an and author of ‘From Dawn to Deca­dence,’ wrote that soon­er or lat­er, peo­ple would have to lis­ten to Orte­ga y Gas­set. I could­n’t agree more, Orte­ga is the Philoso­pher for the Car­son­ian rev­e­la­tion and epoch.

  • JC says:

    What is _The Con­cept of Mind_, pub­lished in 1949, doing in a list of books pub­lished between 1950 and 2000?

    Also, what val­ue — or at least rep­re­sen­ta­tive val­ue — in a sur­vey that polled six­teen philoso­phers and got twelve respons­es!

    All in all: this enter­prise seems a mess.

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