July 29, 2006

Since Jo asked so nicely, I’ll add my answers to the one book meme that’s going around the place.

  1. One book that changed your life

Robert C. Roberts, Spirituality and Human Emotion.

It’s because of this book that I’m a philosopher, believe it or not. Reading it, I saw that the philosophy needn’t be self-contained, but could be used to say something productive and interesting about matters of human concern. In my undergraduate years I spent a lot of time reading theology, and I learned most from the literature that was philosohpical in technique and in style.

  1. One book you’ve read more than once

C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

My out-and-out favourite of the Narnia Chronicles.

  1. One book you’d want on a desert island

The Gospel according to John

> Following Jo's example, I'll treat different biblical books as different books.  For me it's a toss-up for different gospels, but John's the one I'm least 'at home' with and I think it bears repeated readings, as is fitting on a desert island.
  1. One book that made you laugh

Stanislaw Lem, The Cyberiad.

It’s an intellectual laugh mostly, rather than slapstick, but there are laughs on each page of these wise, knowing, sensitive tales of the robot constructors Trurl and Klaupacius.

  1. One book that made you cry

    David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas.

A truly vertiginous read: six interlocking stories from the 1850s, through the present, to the near future and after the collapse of civilisation. Deeply moving.

  1. OneTwo books you wish had been written

    Richard Routley, Exploring Meinong’s Jungle & Beyond, the edited version.

    The existing version version is an amazing read, but with a good edit it could have changed the face of philosophy in this country. In a very good way.

    Alan Anderson, Nuel Belnap, J. Michael Dunn and Robert K. Meyer, Entailment, Volume 2.

    The existing Entailment, Vol 2 is very good, but the version that was foreshadowed in the first volume of Entailment would have been fantastic. But that would have required the continuing of the Belnap/Meyer collaboration, which broke down in the 1980s.

  2. One book you wish had never been written

I find it hard to answer this question, so I’ll interpret it differently.

David Marr and Marian Wilkinson, Dark Victory.

It is unutterably sad that this book had to be written. I wish that it had been impossible to write because the events had never taken place. Instead, we’ve got to make sure that they never happen again.

  1. One book you’re currently reading

    PD James, The Children of Men.

    I’ve got a thing for well-written dystopias.

  2. One book you’ve been meaning to read

Colin Tudge, So Shall we Reap.

> I started reading this before the sabbatical last year, and I didn't take it with me -- it's still lying in my pile of things to read.  It's got a wonderful subtitle: "How Everyone Who Is Liable to Be Born in the Next Ten Thousand Years Could Eat Very Well Indeed; and Why, in Practice, Our Immediate Descendants Are Likely to Be in Serious Trouble".
  1. Tag five people

    If you’re reading this and want to do write your own answers, consider yourself tagged. Answer the questions on your own blog and link here in the comments, or answer in the comments for yourself.

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I’m Greg Restall, and this is my personal website. ¶ I am the Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews.



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