A student has suggested the formation of an informal ‘Great Books Club’. The idea is that the club would meet once a week (time and place to be determined, though Thursday at 6:30pm was suggested).
What the group would read would be negotiable, but at the top of Dan’s list (the student who suggested such a thing) were Dante- The Divine Comedy, Shakespeare- King Lear and Hamlet, and Cervantes- Don Quixote.
I think this is a great idea. As Plato says, lovers of learning should love the whole of learning, so we philosophers (lovers of wisdom) should want to read everything we can. And there is some reason to hope that there is interest in such things. Two examples that help save me from absolute despair over the place of reading in our culture:
a) Just this morning I was reading in the ~Quad Side Cafe, and the student sitting next to me was reading Russell’s ‘Why I am not a Christian’. I am not sure if that is a ‘great book’, but still impressive. I asked him if it was for a course, and he replied, ‘no, I am just interesting in things like this.’
b) When I was a graduate student in Indiana, I went to get my oil changed at a Jiffy Lube. The mechanic and I got to talking and when I told him I was studying philosophy, his grease-smeared face peered up and he said, ‘Oh, have you read Heidegger’s Being and Time?’ Apparently he was on his third reading of it, though he only had graduated from high school. When pressed for why he reads such things, he said, ‘I guess I’m just interested in hermeneutic phenomenology’.
So there is hope!
Students should post here with suggestions about date and time, and I will let Dan organize it from there.