Saturday, March 31, 2007


Most important philosophy books, 1980-

Exactly as the title says. Let's include collections of single(ish)-authored collections of papers too. So, to give you the idea, were we (counterfactually!) to include the 70's too, I'd have Dummett's Truth and Other Enigmas in there, but not Evans and McDowell's Truth and Meaning.

Please still feel free to contribute to the earlier thread as well.

Here are some of my (idiosyncratic and incomplete, of course) suggestions, just to kick things off:

George Boolos (1998), Logic, Logic, and Logic, Harvard
Alberto Coffa (1991), The Semantic Tradition from Kant to Carnap, Cambridge
Donald Davidson (1984), Inquiries into Truth & Interpretation, OUP
Gareth Evans (1982), The Varieties of Reference, OUP
Saul Kripke (1980), Naming and Necessity, Blackwell
-- (1982), Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language, Blackwell
David Lewis (1986), On the Plurality of Worlds, Blackwell
John McDowell (1994), Mind and World, Harvard
Robert Nozick (1981), Philosophical Explanations, Harvard
Mark Sainsbury (2005), Reference Without Referents, OUP
T.M. Scanlon (1998), What We Owe to Each Other, Harvard
John Rawls (1993), Political Liberalism, Columbia
Tim Williamson (1994), Vagueness, Routledge
Crispin Wright (1983), Frege's Conception of Numbers as Objects, Aberdeen
-- (1992), Truth & Objectivity, Harvard
-- (1993), Realism, Meaning & Truth (2nd Ed), Blackwell

Update: Please see the disclaimer I've added to the original post.


I'd add the following as well, although your list is pretty good.
John Perry and Jon Barwise (1985) Situations and Attitudes
John Perry (2001) The Essential Indexical and Other Essays
Robert Brandom (1998) Making It Explicit
Some additions:
Tim Williamson (2000) Knowledge and its Limits
T.M. Scanlon (2002) The Difficulty of Tolerance
Shelly Kagan (1989) The Limits of Morality
Kit Fine (2002) The Limits of Abstraction

I am sure there are many more that I am failing to remember. I apparently like books with the word 'limits' in the title!
Ruth Millikan (1984), Language, Thought and Other Biological Categories
Armstrong, D.A. (1997) A World of States of Affairs
Bealer, G. (1982) Quality and Concept
Blackburn, S. (1984) Spreading the Word
BonJour, L. (1998) In defense of pure reason
Chalmers, D. (1996) The Conscious Mind
Devitt, M. (1984) Realism and Truth
Dretske, F. (1981) Knowledge and the Flow of Information
Fodor, J.A. (1987) Psychosemantics
Fodor, J.A. (1998) Concepts
Goldman, A. (1986) Epistemology and Cognition
Jackson, F. (1998) From Metaphysics to Ethics
Kane, R. (1996) The Significance of Free Will
Kim, J. (1993) Supervenience and Mind
Kitcher, P. (1983) The Nature of Mathematical Knowledge
Parfit, D. (1984) Reasons and Persons
Smith, M. (1994) The Moral Problem
Stalnaker, R. (1984) Inquiry
Stich, S. (1990) The Fragmentation of Reason
Tye, M. (2001) Ten Problems of Consciousness
Williams, B. (1985) Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy
I'll add a few books from the phil. of logic/math:

J. Etchemendey (1990) The Concept of Logical Consequence

S. Shapiro (1991) Foundations without foundationalism

M. Dummett (1991) The Logical Basis of Metaphysics [althought this was of course really a lecture from the 70s; feel free to disqualify it]

G. Priest (1987) In Contradiction

S. Kripke (1982) Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language [I thought the first edition of Naming and Necessity was from the 70s?]
Here's the first few that occur:

Stalnaker (1984) Inquiry
Parfit (198?) Reasons and Persons
Field (1980) Science without numbers
Van Fraassen (1980) The scientific image
Van Fraassen (1989) Laws and Symmetry
Chalmers (1996) The conscious mind
Olson (1997) The human animal

We allowed collections too? Seems cheating somehow...
Stalnaker(1999) Context and Content
Field (2001) Truth and the absence of fact
Oh, and if we're allowing collections, I'd absolutely have all five volumes of Lewis's "Philosophical Papers" and "Papers in X".
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Idiosyncratic List of the Day:

(Limiting to those not already mentioned):

Chomsky, Noam. New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind (2000)

Dennett, Daniel. Consciousness Explained (1991)

Gibbard, Allan. Wise Choices, Apt Feelings (1990)

Korsgaard, Christine. Sources of Normativity (1992)

Putnam, Hilary. Reason, Truth, and History (1981)

Putnam, Hilary. Representation and Reality (1988)

Railton, Peter. Facts, Values, and Norms: Essays toward a Morality of Consequence (2003)

Where "important" = "having had what is, IMHO, a deserving influence, even if I don't necessarily agree with them."
Paul Grice (1989), Studies in the Way of Words. (Especially seems like cheating, since most of it except the afterword was written long before 1980 -- but there it is.)
I'll add:

Ted Sider (2001 or so) Four Dimensionalism

D.H. Mellor (1998 or so) Real Time II
Christopher Peacocke (1992) A Study of Concepts

Have to say that IMHO, "The Varieties of Reference" is the standout book in the period, maybe followed by "Knowledge and its Limits" and "The Conscious Mind".
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