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What are you reading?

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Old Main, USU


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• Is the world eternal? YES
• Do humans have contra-causal free will (i.e., can humans do otherwise)? NO
• Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? YES
• Do humans have souls? YES
• Are there natural rights? YES
• Is it morally permissible to eat meat? NO
• Is the unexamined life worth living? NO
• Is truth subjectivity? YES
• Is virtue necessary for happiness? YES
• Can a computer have a mind? YES
• Can humans know reality as it is in itself? YES
• Is hell other people? YES
• Can art be created accidentally? NO
• Can we change the past? NO
• Are numbers real? NO
• Is it always better to know the truth? YES

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What philosophical books is everyone reading these days, outside of class? I just finished Kugel’s How to Read the Bible (very interesting; I’ll post about it soon on huenemanniac); am about to start Everything Must Go by Ladyman and Ross; and am midway through Nadler’s The Best of All Possible Worlds.



  1. Mike L. says:

    I just got the 4th edition of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, which just came out this month. I can’t compare it to earlier versions and I don’t know German so I can’t really comment on how good a translation it is, but I’m excited. I’ve read a ton about him, but not so much BY him, so hopefully if I comment on him in discussions I won’t have to preface what I say with “Well I think I sort of heard that maybe Wittgenstein almost thought…” anymore…


  2. Jon says:

    Everybody Poops.


  3. Kleiner says:

    I’ve been reading up on personalism, reading Benedict and John Paul II as my primary sources. I’m currently reading “Person and Being” by Norris Clarke. His view is very close to mine – an attempt to synthesize a relational notion of the person (see my postmodern sympathies) with more traditional Thomistic metaphysics. I am increasingly becoming convinced that a relational ontology of personhood is a “creative completion” (perhaps even a “retrieval” to use Heideggerian language) of what was left undeveloped in Thomas’ metaphysics of man by those that inherited the Scholastic tradition.

    I’ve also been reading tons of fairy tales (particularly princess stories) with my daughter. I have done nothing to encourage this. My daughter knows the names of all of the disney princesses. We don’t watch those movies and do not have those books. I have no idea where she picked this crap up. So despite my view (see Aristotle) that we are born with a blank slate and must needs acquire knowledge through experience, I am becoming increasingly convinced that girls have innate ideas about princesses. It is discouraging – I am entirely against teaching my daughter this damsel in distress crap. What is a Dad to do that wants to raise strong social justice feminist girls? In my view, if princesses stories must be read, Paper Bag Princess sends the best message.


  4. Dan says:

    I’ve been reading Heidegger’s “The Origin of the Work of Art,” C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves, and some stories by Kafka. I increasingly think that Kafka may be about the only Modern writer whose work carries a comparable weight to giants such as Shakespeare or Goethe.


  5. Huenemann says:

    Dan – Kafka is great. But what about Joyce for the honor you describe?


  6. Mike says:

    I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I can’t seem to get into Joyce. I’ve tried so many times, different works and failed. My reading at the moment is uninteresting and probably will be for a while. I gave a cursory reading to Kugel’s pdf on Apologetics and Biblical Criticism. Looking forward to your take.


  7. Mike L. says:

    I have it on good authority that girls, in fact, do NOT poop.


  8. Moudi says:

    Does a comic count? How about rereading rereading a book that was already read in class? (Spinoza, im in love with him)

    Mike, so do gay guys, they don’t poop either. In fact, they do the exact opposite.


  9. Huenemann says:

    Mike and Moudi – care to explain these claims about girls and gays? Sarcastic irony or what?


  10. Jon says:

    No, I’m not reading “Everybody Poops.” But I am rereading “On Bullshit” by Princeton’s HG Frankfurt.


  11. Dan says:

    Huenemann – In my mind the only modern novelists who could potentially contend with Kafka would be Joyce, as you say, or Proust. Then again there’s much I haven’t read. To my mind, I’d be willing to say Proust is deserving of the honor, but I’d agree with the others who have said that Joyce just doesn’t ‘grab the human heart’ in the same way as Kafka or Shakespeare or Goethe. The only works I’ve read by Joyce, though, are Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, both of which I enjoyed but not like I enjoyed Faust, Hamlet, or The Metamorphosis.


  12. Adam says:

    Though a Sophomore in the Philosophy Department, I am just now starting to dive into philosophical writings – other than the ones read in class. To begin my reading, and knowing my absolute interest in the subject, Aaron Johnson was kind enough to loan me “Works of Love” by Kierrkegaard. I also picked up The Complete Works of Aristotle for the purpose of reading his famous Nicomachean Ethics. Finally, in a desperate attempt to feel of some sort of use within the Philosophy Department, I am now reading the book you suggested to me, Prof Huenemann, namely “The Story of Philosophy” by Will Durant.

    I am thrilled with all three of these books. In addition to these, I am just finishing up a delightful read, “Tuesday’s with Morrie.” This is a terrific book, of which the man that is being written about quite reminds me of Socrates! Morrie says, “It’s like I keep telling you. When you learn how to die, you learn how to live.” Interesting.


  13. shaunmiller says:

    Lately I’ve been interested in gender roles, so I picked up Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent. It’s not philosophy. She basically dresses like a man and infiltrates certain places that men usually do and tries to pick up the masculine identities from their social attitudes. It’s somewhat interesting, but definitely not something that would claim a universal standing.

    In the philosophical aspect, I’m going through Plato’s Symposium. This will be my fourth time reading it. And I’m trudging through Camus’ The Rebel.


  14. shaunmiller says:


    The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant is excellent. I’ve read that so many times (especially the Schopenhauer chapter) that I’ve had to buy another copy because book was falling apart and the print was starting to smear. It’s actually the book that got me more involved in philosophy.


  15. Huenemann says:

    I’ll agree with Vince and Dan that Joyce often wears his huge brain on his sleeve (ewww!). Though “The Dead” (a short story in Dubliners) is beautioful, moving, tragic, and wonderful — as heart-grabbing as you can get.


  16. Jake says:

    This is a great post Huenemann! I just began Gordon S Wood’s “Empire of Liberty” it is more of a history book then a philosophy book, but it is great. If anyone wants to look at the origins of the U.S. it is a great one. I have not finished it but I am well in the book to make this claim. I also have been reading Allan Bloom’s “The Closing of the American Mind.” Im almost done and I think it is a great book and recommend it to everyone.


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