Getting back to reading

DescartesNow that I’ve finished my MA, I’ve slowly been making my way into the backlog of fiction and other things that have stacked up over the past two years. What I haven’t thought much about though is my philosophical reading list, now that I’ve cleared up some brainpower for new stuff.

The list below is mostly exploratory reading based on what I’ve had in my reading list, what I’m interested in pursuing in my PhD, and what I hope to write a paper or two about. You’ll notice that most of the reading list consists of introductory texts (two each for Descartes, Leibniz and Spinoza), and the SEP and IEP entries for them. The reason for this is that while I have some background information on these three, I haven’t really kept up with any of the literature, and I find that SEP and IEP (along with the Cambridge and other types of introductory texts) can quickly catch me up.

The important thing to remember is that the secondary literature is, ahem, secondary. Reading the secondary literature without ever reading the primary sources is a good way to forget about what is genuinely interesting in the sources, and to prejudice yourself against the texts themselves.

The list below isn’t in any particular order, except perhaps, the order in which I thought of these texts.

Reading List

  1. SEP entries on Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz
  2. IEP entries on Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz
  3. Descartes, Principles of Philosophy
  4. Descartes, Passions of the Soul
  5. Spinoza, Ethics
  6. Spinoza, Treatise on Theology and Politics
  7. Leibniz, New Essays on Human understanding
  8. Leibniz, Monadology
  9. Cambridge Companion to Descartes
  10. Cambridge Companion to Leibniz
  11. Cambridge Companion to Spinoza
  12. Nicholas Jolley, Leibniz
  13. Clarke, Desmond, Descartes: A Biography
  14. Henry Allison, Benedict de Spinoza