Charles Bukowski on Writing

Well, because sometimes we need to be reminded… He may not have been the best writer, or even a good writer for those of us who have literary inclinations, but he was good at writing, which consumed him, and he was no pretentious phony: so you want to be a writer? Charles Bukowski, 1920 – […]

On Teaching Literature in a Composition Class

Recently, I came across a splendid image of a figure ensconced in the pages of a book, sleeping soundly, presumably dreaming the wonders of printed words.  Quint Buchholz’s “Nachts Mit Buch.”  It reminds me of the many times I’ve read myself to sleep with a good book.  Right now, I’m reading Herman Melville’s Typee–a sea […]

W.B. Yeats, Byron, and Idealism

Philosophical idealism has a complex history with many variations.  Most versions of idealism make univocal claims about the mind’s relationship to the world.  Specifically, idealism maintains that objects of human knowledge are mind-dependent.  Thus, reality is immaterial. The Irish poet W.B. Yeats was among others things an idealist.  Although Matthew Gibson maintains that the poet […]

15 Best Philosophy Books in 2014

Although we’ve started a new year, we can still celebrate recent great titles in philosophy.  Here are several significant contributions in the field: 1) T.M. Scanlon.  Being Realistic About Reasons.  (Oxford UP) 2) Bernard Williams.  Essays and Reviews: 1959-2002.  (Princeton UP) 3) Scott Soames.  Analytic Philosophy in America and The Analytic Tradition in Philosophy, Vol. 1. […]

So You Want To Be a Philosophy Major–Recommendations and Book List

Philosophy can be an exciting, challenging, and exhilarating field of study.  It often gets a bad rap for being an impractical (and not so cost effective) academic pursuit.  Why study philosophy?  Aside from extrinsic factors there is much intrinsic value in studying philosophy.  Bertrand Russell, a famous logician and philosopher, succintly writes about the value […]

Philosophical Fiction: Fifty Books

In no specific order or rank, the following list collects important books of philosophical literary fiction.  These books are novels (or novellas) with philosophical or existential themes (e.g., God, free will, personal identity, the meaning of life): 1) Albert Camus.  The Stranger and The Fall.  [Essay: “The Myth of Sisyphus”]. 2) Jean-Paul Sartre.  Nausea. [Drama: No […]

Twenty Important Philosophy Books

If I were asked for a list of the most significant philosophy books (ever written), then I might produce the following list.  Why is such a list relevant?  These books could be considered essential reads for any novice philosophy student or someone who is interested in reading philosophy… (this list is not comprehensive or ranked […]

On Lines From Horace’s Epistles

Here are lines from David Ferry’s translation of Horace’s Epistles on fortune, authentic contentment, and the achievement of happiness. Horace suggests that we would do well to consider the efficacy of achieving happiness in the present–in daily life–as opposed to thinking about it as an abstract concept or as achievable in a remote future.  It may […]