As a teacher, I tend to favor original texts or anthologies of excerpted original texts. This means that most of the time I ask my students to read what the actual philosophers wrote—not a textbook written by someone telling them what the actual philosophers wrote.
Because many of these texts have been translated into English from the original Greek, French, German, etc., it is very important that the whole class uses the same translation or edition. Different translations of the same text can vary greatly. Students who use different translations will have trouble following lectures and classroom discussion, because words and page numbers will vary.
For these reasons it is important that students buy the translations or editions listed in the syllabus. You should also get all your books at the start of the semester—you don’t want to fall behind in the assigned reading.
If for whatever reason the campus bookstore does not have a required book on the shelf, here are your options:
- At the McNichols campus go to the textbook counter and ask to talk to the manager. Show the manager your syllabus and tell them which book you are looking for.
- If you get anything short of a firm promise from the campus bookstore that your book(s) will be in the next day, give up on them and get on-line—immediately. I no longer recommend Amazon because of their business practices, but Barnes & Noble is still big and fast. Make sure you order the same translation or edition listed in the syllabus. If you are looking for a Hackett edition (which I often use) you can order directly from their website also.
- Other on-line possibilities: ABE Books is an on-line consortium of independent bookstores specializing in used books, and renting texts from various online sources is becoming increasingly popular as book prices continue to rise.
- I allow the use of e-books so long as students don’t distract their classmates in class.
Remember, you are responsible for getting the texts required for this class. Get them now, not later.
© D. R. Koukal