Saturday, March 15, 2014

My Spring Break Reading List

Filling some gaps with older works, supplemented with new fun books.

Ronald Coase and Ning Wang, How China Became Capitalist (Palgrave Macmillan 2012). So far, seems more Wang than Coase, but I'm only about half-way through. In any case, a good historical introduction to China's economic transformation after Mao. 

John H. Miller and Scott E. Page, Complex Adaptive Systems: An Introduction to Computational Models of Social Life (Princeton 2007). A wonderfully accessible introduction to computational modeling for social scientists.

Gerald Gaus, The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom and Morality in a Diverse and Bounded World (Cambridge 2011). Gaus seeks to rest a moral theory of liberalism based on game theory, social psychology, and social choice. Gaus, like all of my favorite philosophers and political theorists, takes heterogeneity and disagreement seriously.

Bruce Ackerman, The Civil Rights Revolution (Harvard Belknap 2013). The third volume in Ackerman's highly influential series, We the People

Lynn H. Nicholas, The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War (Vintage 1994). The only really good thing about the otherwise disappointing film, Monuments Men, was that it motivated me to read this book. So far, the book has not disappointed at all. It's hard to imagine that any fictional account could compare with the actual history.

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away (Pantheon 2014). Following up on her terrific novel, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God (Vintage 2011), this new work of quasi-fiction by the MacArthur "Genius Grant" recipient asks the question, what if Plato showed up in the 21st century and embarked on a multi-city tour, including interviews with cable news networks? The author's goal is to explore the relevance, not just of Plato, but all of traditional philosophy in the modern world.  

END-OF-BREAK UPDATE: As usual, my reading list was unrealistically long. I'm only halfway through Plato at the Googleplex (which is wonderful, by the way, for both it's fiction and it's take on Plato's philosophy), and just started Bruce Ackerman's The Civil Rights Revolution. 

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