My top 7 scholars:
- Donald Davidson. Reading “On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme” is still one of the high points of my philosophic career. I was a pretty naive cognitive relativist in college when I read this essay and it convinced me then and still convinces me now that humans share much more intellectual and cognitive background than not.
- Thomas Kuhn. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions altered my perception of science and forced me to question my belief in a naive, progressivist narrative of scientific development. It also put a great word into wide circulation – “paradigm”.
- Lorraine Daston. A relative newcomer to the list within the last 5 years. I still haven’t finished reading Objectivity by her and Peter Galison, but the short essay on the history of objectivity I read for my STS (science, technology, and society) class still echoes in my memory.
- George Lakoff. I first encountered Lakoff through his work on moral metaphors in politics. There are a number of times when I think that he pushes his ideas further than they can be sustained, but the whole nation-as-a-nuclear-family idea is still powerful.
- James P. Carse. I read Finite and Infinite Games in the final years of high school so I actually own an original hardcover edition. I’m still enamored of the idea that there are games played to win (finite) and games played to continue play (infinite). Breakfast at the Victory, his book of essays is also great.
- Douglas Hofstadter. Godel, Escher, Bach made me want to be a cognitive science for a couple of years. I’m still interested in the field but took a turn toward the philosophical end of the topic.
Ian Hacking. I read The Taming of Chance a few years ago while working on a paper about the history of statistics in the nineteenth century. Hacking’s book was a central part of my thesis.
Inspired by a post I found while trawling through the MinneBar links. An old link but still worth considering.