Most important Post-WWII thought and Judaism

As you read the list, which ones influenced Judiasm and which did not? Kuhn has not been used to discuss change, we usually still find the 19th century views of Hegel or von Savigny. From the comments here and elsewhere, we desperately needed a Jewish follower of Rawls in 1990. Most people did not need Post-modernism or literary criticism, but they did need an updated, beyond Dewey, rational approach which Rawls would have provided. Dworkin is used by Halbertal- people here are still jumping to Robert Cover for the role of ethics in halakhah, when what they really need is Dworkin. Wittgenstein is part of the Orthodox intellectual’s toolkit but no substantive engagement. MacIntyre is converted into virtue drush. There is still time for Searle’s Speech Acts or Taylor’s ever-changing self to find a Jewish voice. Feyerabend is too much to hope for. Nevertheless, I am forever amazed when rabbis who pride themselves that they are contemporary philosophers who quote Dewey or James as their last significant thinker.

The Most Cited Books in Post-WWII Anglophone Philosophy According to Google Scholar (in parentheses:  total number of on-line articles and books citing the book in question):

1.  Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (37,197)

2.  John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (26,768)

3.  Ronald Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously (7,892)

4.  Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations (7,169)

5.  Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue (6,579)

6.  Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind (6,356)

6.  John Rawls, Political Liberalism (6,352)

8.  Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia (6,246)

8.  H.L.A. Hart, The Concept of Law (6,212)

10.  Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (5,616)

11.  John Searle, Speech Acts (5,387)

12. Jerry Fodor, Modularity of Mind (5,050)

13.  Daniel Dennett, Consciousness Explained (4,810)

14. Saul Kripke, Naming and Necessity (4,535)

14. W.V.O. Quine, Word and Object (4,565)

Runners-up:   Paul Feyerabend, Against Method (4,420); Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony and Solidarity (4,011); Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self (3,233); Jerry Fodor, The Language of Thought (3,292); Carl Hempel, Aspects of Scientific Explanation (3,137); David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind (3,065), Daniel Dennett, The Intentional Stance (2,985); Derek Parfit, Reasons and Persons (2,972).

2 responses to “Most important Post-WWII thought and Judaism

  1. They all should have been utilized to some degree or other, especicially 1,2,3,5,6b, 10 and 14. 11 is interesting for the concepts of a chalos and kavanah.6a, 12 and 13, if you are interested in life after death, which no one seems to talk about. 14 can be used in many cute ways but is not essential. In the runner ups Feyerabend, Rorty and Taylor are very important.

    Tto the best of my limited knowledge none have been utilized except as part of a name dropping three card monte. That is the reason imho Jewish theology is in the sad state that it’s in.I feel the right way to go is to study philosophy until you know your way about and only then begin thinking about a Philosophy of Torah. Hermann Cohen can wait for the golden years.

    These philosophers are SOME of the stars of the last century. Equally important is to stay in tune with the thought of this century. Consciousness is changing quickly. The new perceptions and modes of filtering experiences will eventually make their way to Jewish philosophy, maybe by 2050-75.

  2. evanstonjew
    I just did a Rambi search hoping to update this post with some meager examples – some straws to grasp at- but I could not even find that.
    It seems no one is interested.
    This is my meager pickings:
    Chansky, James D. Reflections on “After Virtue” after Auschwitz In Philosophy Today 37,3 (1993) 247-256
    Goldin, Owen Tamir, Rawls and the Temple Mount. In Journal of Applied Philosophy 22,3 (2005) 289-298
    And Hlary Putnam’s new book on Jewish Thought. Anyone got any others?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s