Yesterday, in an interview in The New York Times, physicist and novelist Alan Lightman made a wish—a wish the readers of Daily Nous are well-positioned to grant, or at least point out how it has been granted.
Asked, “Which subjects do you wish more authors would write about?”, Lightman replied:
As a scientist, it would be natural for me to say the subject of science, but there are already many wonderful books about science. I wish more authors would write about philosophy in an accessible and meaningful way, as does the writer Rebecca Goldstein.
Lightman is also Professor of the Practice of the Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). You might be thinking, “Hey, philosophy is in the humanities; shouldn’t a professor of ‘the practice of the humanities’ know about the abundance of trade books published by philosophers that aim to discuss ‘philosophy in an accessible and meaningful way’?” The answer is: don’t blame the potential audience for not getting your message.
Instead, let’s take advantage of this opportunity to share with Professor Lightman, and anyone else paying attention, some of the many wonderful books about philosophy that are well-written, on meaningful subjects, and accessible to non-specialists. To keep things manageable let’s limit suggestions to books published in the 21st Century, thanks.
So, readers, your recommendations, please. Include at least the title of the book, its author(s), and a line about why Lightman (or others) might want to read it. Thanks!
(Related: “Writers: Love Your Ideas, But Love Your Readers, Too,” an excerpt from an interview with Goldstein. An excerpt from another interview is here.)