Retirement looms/beckons (depending on whether it’s a day that I feel it is to be regretted or welcomed). So I’ve started really clearing out my office (as opposed to the occasional half-hearted efforts in the past). Most of a filing cabinet of assorted admin papers and dog-eared xeroxes has gone. Now it’s the turn of folders of old lecture notes.
Among some handouts from long back, I found a two-page end-of-term squib from 1975 headed “A First Eleven”. As I say in the preamble
Philosophers often indulge in the pastime of picking their world-beating first eleven of all-time greats or a team of contemporary philosophers … Here is my selection of contemporary ‘greats’. The team I’ve picked is of philosophers in the strict sense, still alive and influencing contemporary philosophy in a dominant way …
Then came the list with a few comments and suggestions for key reading against each name. The headline list read
- Quine (Captain)
Twelfth man: Bernard Williams.
If it is surprising to see Feyerabend’s name there, then remember that the pieces that were later collected in his two 1981 volumes of collected papers were then much read — and are good serious stuff. It isn’t all Against Method. Perhaps the name that surprises me the most is Strawson’s: I can’t recall ever being a particular fan, or even reading him much (I really struggled with the Bounds of Sense, while I loved Bennett’s Kant’s Analytic).
Still, I’m not too ashamed of my earlier self’s enthusiasms revealed here!