Book List

This list, focused on books somewhat frequently or recently discussed at this site, or highly relevant to the site’s content in other ways, is a work in progress. Feel free to recommend additions! You can also browse the “aStore” directly here: CK MacLeod’s: Influential and Recommended…

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  1. I’ve long been interested in your suggestions for further reading, so I’m glad you’ve added this book list to the website. A few of them I’ve already read, a few others I’ve long intended to read, and I’ll give careful consideration to reading the rest in time to come.

    I’m naturally intrigued by the classics or “great books” which you include. I’m especially curious as to your inclusion of Hume’s Treatise. I don’t have any particular take on it–just curious.

    A couple of technical considerations–and forgive me if I’m telling you anything you already know:

    1) Are you aware that the version of Hegel’s Philosophy of History which you’ve included would appear to be the introduction only? I can’t help but think that you would like prospective readers to read the entire survey of world-history which Hegel renders in that work. (Btw, I recently had occasion myself to read the Sibree translation of the Philosophy of History–I enjoyed it very much and plan on re-reading it soon.)

    2) If you scroll down to the comments beneath your selection of the Philosophy of Right, there’s a comment by a fellow named Alan White. He lauds the Cambridge translation but points out that the editors do not take Hegel’s dialectical logic seriously. He asks prospective readers to consider giving his own translation of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right a look. I only mention this because, to fail to situate the Philosophy of Right within Hegel’s “logic” does strike me as a defective interpretation.

    In closing, I found the following extract from a reader comment below the Kahn book on liberalism to be interesting; and I realize that it is, in some sense anyway, consonant with your own perspective–as well as mine:

    What becomes evident is that a purely rational life is simply not possible. This is partly due to the fact that reason cannot demand the ultimate sacrifice from people. Family, religion and the state can all demand sacrifice and do so on continuous basis, but reason stops just short of this demand of ultimate sacrifice.

    • Setting the Kahn citations aside for the moment, then in reverse order, I recall that comment from my own buying decision on Philosophy of Right, and, after reviewing its basis, felt I could correct adequately. I have since found that text immensely useful, first of course for its main content, but also for the notes pointing to and sampling other works. If I had the time, meaning a secure living or anything resembling same, I’d go to the original, and same for the rest of H’s lectures, the Philosophy at Jena, and the Encyclopedia – which last I do have on my Kindle and should make a point at least of glancing at from time to time. Alas, time is short, and one can’t read everything.

      Hume – many reasons – not least for the sake of his famous fickle finger, in accord with Kahn:

      Where a passion is neither founded on false suppositions, nor chuses means insufficient for the end, the understanding can neither justify nor condemn it. ‘Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger. ‘Tis not contrary to reason for me to chuse my total ruin, to prevent the least uneasiness of an Indian or person wholly unknown to me. ‘Tis as little contrary to reason to prefer even my own acknowledge’d lesser good to my greater, and have a more ardent affection for the former than the latter. A trivial good may, from certain circumstances, produce a desire superior to what arises from the greatest and most valuable enjoyment; nor is there any thing more extraordinary in this, than in mechanics to see one pound weight raise up a hundred by the advantage of its situation. In short, a passion must be accompany’d with some false judgment, in order to its being unreasonable; and even then ’tis not the passion, properly speaking, which is unreasonable, but the judgment.

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