Emeriti Faculty: Books that mattered

James Bogen

Professor of Philosophy, 1967-2001

  1. I spent a lot of time and effort on Aristotle while I was at Pitzer, and his philosophical and scientific writings have been important to a lot of the work I’ve done since. If I had to choose just one of his books, I’d vote for On the Soul. The edition I worked on was the bilingual one in the Loeb Classical Library – W.S. Hett, translator, Aristotle: On the Soul, Parva Naturalia, On Breath, Harvard, 1957.
  2. Mark (not Kurt – this is Kurt’s son) Vonnegut (1947- ), Eden Express (1975), a splendidly written memoir of his schizophrenic breakdown and recovery. The first freshman advisee I met when I started working at Pitzer began our advising meeting by explaining that she was considering suicide and wanted my opinion of whether it would be better to drive off the Baldy road or take some kind of poison. Eden Express helped me enormously in trying to understand what was going on with her and other mentally disturbed students (and others, too) over the years. It was also valuable to my thinking about schizophrenia with people who have been studying philosophical issues raised by the current revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
  3. Philosophical Investigations (1953, first bilingual edition), by Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951).

I know I’m only allowed three, but if I could have four choices, the fourth would be How the Laws of Physics Lie (1983), by Nancy Cartwright, which made the field of philosophy of science available to me, and had a lot to do with the way my philosophical interests and my way of doing philosophy changed in the 1980’s.

Aristotle: On the Soul, Parva Naturalia, On Breathcover-bogen-02-eden_express cover-bogen-03-philosophical_investigations