Philosophical texts most worthy of close study I

I have a rather open, somewhat stereotypical question for anyone who comes across or reads this blog: What philosophical texts are most worthy of close study? I should probably qualify this by saying that my interest and motive is asking is largely history of ideas than abstract problem solving, so "most worthy" encompasses both retrospective and prospective purposes. Also, my approach is essentially Straussian, not in terms of esoteric exegesis, but in terms of emphasis on ethical and political philosophy.

I ask this because I have this annoying tendency to take a shotgun approach to reading—presently have feet in a dozen books. As Karen Oprea once said of her brother, the problem is that you get far enough in to see the conclusions and you get lazy and don't finish. And this despite generous inculcations of Mortimer J. Adler. And, practically speaking, the occasion is that I am trying to assemble something of a mult-year program for reading and writing. (Now that I'm settling into "bourgeois domesticity" and all.)

For sheer scope and sweep, it strikes me that the Aeneid is uniquely suited to sustained reading. Not entirely a traditional philosophical text, however. And yet very much an extension of the Socratic project of bringing philosophy down from the heavens and elaborating an ethics.

I'll readily confess that I have not spent enough time in Plato lately. But which Plato to concentrate on? (i) The Socratic corpus? (ii) the Republic? (iii) the Laws?

I know the Politics well, the Ethics less well, but the Metaphysics hardly well enough.

I am afraid to wade into the Critique of Pure Reason. One has almost to resent the "obligatoriness" of Kant. Ditto for Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. LOL

I feel obliged to develop something of a special competence in the Arabo-Jewish tradition, so close readings of the Guide for the Perplexed and the Al-Ghazali/Ibn Rushd Incoherence are in order.

Grotius' De iure belli ac pacis strikes me as a neglected text worthy of close reading, after which it will be less necessary to consult Locke or Pufendorf.

I'm still struggling as to which of the other moderns to concentrate upon. I have a sinking suspicion that Pope is the least dense of them. A new edition of Spizona's Theologico-Political Treastise will be out shortly—I've been putting that off on account of the piss-poor readability of the old Dover reprint.

Speaking of new books, Richard Tarrant's OCT edition of the Metamorpheses should be out any time now!

Last but not least, how important is Suarez?

No comments: