Yesterday, I was having an advising sessions with one of my graduate students. We were reviewing the concluding pages of her – awesome – dissertation, and I suggested she should improve her final sentences. After all, these would be the last words she and her readers would share after a long trip together and so, I thought, they should leave her reader with the impression that something was indeed accomplished, but that also is worth keep thinking about. In order to illustrate what I meant, I picked up some books from my shelf at the office to look for examples. I was looking for something like this:
My hope is that the beginnings sketched here are compeling enough to inspire those cleverer and more knowledgeable than myself – to correct my errors, to fill what’s been passed over in the case against V=L, an to extend naturalistic mehtods to the evaluation of higher and more controversial hypotheses.
Penelope Maddy (1997) 234
You can change “V=L” and/or “naturalistic” for any other hypothesis and method and find here a nice blueprint for ending any piece of research. Graham Priest offers us a similar example here:
What will happen to this account in the future, and what consensus, if any, will emerge in the twenty-first century, only time will tell.
Graham Priest (2001) 230
However, while looking for these canonical examples, I also find other interesting ways contemporary philosophers have ended their books. Here is a small selection, feel free to share your favourite examples in the comments section:
Philosophical knowledge … is not the product of successful encounters with the skeptic. It is the product of the continuing dialectic among nominalists, conceptualists, realists, positivists, empiricists, and rationalists.
Jerrold Katz (1998) 211
The laws of thermodynamics doom the universe to heat death. Everything, everywhere, will end in silence.
Roy Sorensen (2008) 290
Reflective understanding and constructive critique should, I believe, replace both sleepy complacency and Luddite rage. The philosophers have ignored the social context of science. The point, however, is to change it.
Phillip Kitcher (1993) 391
What are your favourite ways contemporary philosophers have ended their books? Please share