Where do philosophers read?




In our newest “how can we help you?” thread, an early career reader asks:

Recently, I found myself wondering not just how or when other philosophers read, but where they read. My dissertation supervisor once told me he did all of his reading in bed. I know plenty of folks who read at their desks. Personally, if there is something that I need to read, yet know that it is sitting on my desktop as a PDF and I haven’t printed it out yet, then I’m not inclined to read it that day. I don’t think I absorb material from the screen, sitting at my desk, as well as I do from the printed page sitting on my couch or in the park. But maybe others have good reasons why reading from the screen at the desk works for them.

So, I’m wondering: Where do you read and why is that your preferred spot?

This is a fun little question. While I sometimes read books on the couch and e-copies of articles on my computer in my home office, I normally tend to read outside at the park that I take my dog to, where I alternate reading at table or walking around. I also sometimes read while taking walks around the neighborhood (while, yes, trying to avoid walking into things, sometimes unsuccessfully!). Walking around with my head buried in a book probably looks a bit strange, but whatever. I spend so much time sedentary in front of my computer writing that it’s nice to get up and get moving, and I tend to think better while walking anyway. Finally, I do sometimes read in bed, but I normally reserve that time for intellectually lighter things, such as novels or historical biographies, as I don’t like to get my mind too active on philosophical problems at night (I have a sleep disorder which makes it hard enough to sleep as it is!).

Anyway, these are just my reading habits. What are yours, and why?

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More