Philosophy Books You Want Most Philosophers To Read, 2015-2016


So many philosophy books, so little time. What books should be on your list? One way to answer that question is to narrow the options down to books in your subfield. That’s a perfectly reasonable approach. But are there books in your subfield that you think philosophers who don’t specialize in your area should read? Or have you read a philosophy book outside your area of specialization that you think others should read? 

We can’t have a “best books” thread because, let’s be honest, the thread will likely get bogged down in disputes over the meaning of “best book.” And a list of “favorites” might be populated by books the value of which can be appreciated only by experts within specific subspecialties (which may be interesting, if of limited appeal). So instead, let’s put the question this way:

Which philosophy book published in 2015 or 2016 would you want most philosophers to read?

Don’t forget to say a little as to why.

Ready, go!

Rachael Ashe, "Forgotten Knowledge"

Rachael Ashe, “Forgotten Knowledge”

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Chris Stephens
Chris Stephens
4 years ago

Elliott Sober’s book: Ockham’s Razor’s: a user’s manual. The book is focused mostly (though not exclusively) on the use of Ockham’s razor in various sciences. Philosophers who appeal to simplicity in either philosophical or scientific contexts should read it. Due to his clear writing style, it should be accessible to most professional philosophers, though there are a few technical bits. A teaser was published in Aeon a couple of months ago, which Justin linked to.Report

James DiGiovanna
4 years ago

Susan Brison’s “Aftermath.” It’s a great study on personal identity, trauma, and the nature of self-knowledge. Brison is a rigorous philosopher, who uses an analytic approach to both the epistemological/metaphysical questions and, refreshingly, to the phenomenology of self-experience in the aftermath of trauma. Further, she’s one of, and maybe the best, writers in contemporary philosophy. Finally, she weaves autobiography and strict philosophy together better than any other book I’ve read in the history of philosophy (yes, I’ll be that hyperbolic.) Please read this! Report

Michel X.
Michel X.
4 years ago

Not my field, but I think we could all benefit from reading Millikan’s “Language, thought, and other biological categories” a few times. It’s not an easy read, but it cuts deep.Report

GJC
GJC
4 years ago

Mariana Ortega’s “In-Between: Latina Feminist Phenomenology, Multiplicity, and the Self” is timely and important for obvious reasons.Report

Nick
Nick
4 years ago

Wim van Binsbergen- Vicarious Reflections: African explorations in empirically-grounded intercultural philosophy http://www.quest-journal.net/shikanda/topicalities/vicarious/vicariou.htm

Really great retrospective of van Binsbergen’s (U Leiden) career and work on intercultural philosophy and comparative mythology. Report

post-doc
post-doc
4 years ago

Tim Button’s ‘The Limits of Realism’ (OUP) – super interesting, super clear.Report

Eddy Nahmias
Eddy Nahmias
4 years ago

Jenann Ismael How Physics Makes Us Free (OUP 2016). Beautifully written and powerfully argued book that brings her expertise in philosophy of physics and metaphysics to the free will debate and explains why our selves, naturalistically understood, can play the right sort of causal role in the physical universe, even if it turns out to be deterministic. Report

Adam Omelianchuk
Adam Omelianchuk
4 years ago

“The Minority Body” by Elizabeth Barnes. I had my disagreements with the author, but I’ve never read a philosophy book that became a page-turner. Well done! Report

conchliu
conchliu
4 years ago

“The Philosophy of Philip Kitcher” edited by Couch and Pfeifer. Contains chapters and replies on a wide range of issues by an important philosopher of science, with chapters on religion, science, ethics, history, and public policy. As an editor I could be biased though.Report

Sam
Sam
4 years ago

John Doris’ Talking To Our Selves (OUP, 2015). Excellent synthesis of recent work in moral psychology and interesting work on adjusting various philosophical theories (about agency, responsibility, personal identity, etc.) to better fit the data. Not only is it an excellent work of empirically-informed philosophy, but it’s also just well-written. It’s actually one of maybe two or three philosophy books published in the last ten years that I would recommend to my smart, non-academic friends.Report

Alex Sager
4 years ago

Duncan Bell’s Reordering the World: Essays on Liberalism and Empire (Princeton 2016). Superbly nuanced historical scholarship on the complexity of liberalism and how it was influenced by/informed empire and settler colonialism. Many of the chapters have been previously published, but it’s a pleasure to have them together in one volume.Report

Shelley Tremain
Shelley Tremain
4 years ago

Jesse Prinz, Beyond Human Nature. London: Penguin / New York: Norton (2012).
Because it will serve many of your de-naturalizing and de-biologizing requirements.

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Shelley Tremain
Shelley Tremain
Reply to  Shelley Tremain
4 years ago

Sorry about my suggestion: I missed the sentence above indicating that recommendations should have been published in the last year. Still, you should read this book!Report

Nick Z
Nick Z
Reply to  Shelley Tremain
4 years ago

My students really enjoyed Prinz’s book in my Philosophy of the Human Person course, which was basically a semester-long look at the ambitions of evolutionary psychology and population genetics. I assigned big chunks of it along with Arguing About Human Nature (Machery and Downes) and Pinker’s The Blank Slate. Among all of its other virtues, the book really bridges the gap for those students who cannot fully appreciate the force of John Dupre’s elegant and devastating arguments against the claims of EP. So, seconded.Report

Manja
Manja
4 years ago

What about Peter Baumann’s Epistemic Contextualism: A Defense just out on Oxford
Report

Dan F.
Dan F.
4 years ago

Linda Martin Alcoff’s The Future of Whiteness (Polity Press, 2015). Alcoff analyzes what possibilities there might be for the social identity of being racially white, given its history as well as our current circumstances, especially in the United States. The latest election has made knowing what those possibilities are much more urgent, as we look into the maw of what might be if we just let those conditions play themselves out in the hands of those in the grip of fear, ignorance, and self-delusion. The book is accessible as well as thoughtful, and seems especially relevant for one of the whitest of the humanities. Report