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Tyler Collection

We asked the current group of CASBS fellows for their perspectives on influential works in the Tyler Collection. The responses ranged from surprise at finding a cornerstone economics textbook to the nomination of works that have defined disciplines.

Kyle Bagwell, Economics, Stanford University
Two books that have significantly influenced the field and my own work are:
Games and decisions; introduction and critical survey [by] R. Duncan Luce and Howard Raiffa. A study of the Behavioral Models Project, Bureau of Applied Social Research, Columbia University. New York, Wiley [1957]
Microeconomic theory [by] Andreu Mas-Colell, Michael D. Whinston, and Jerry R. Green. New York : Oxford University Press, 1995.

Valentina Bosetti, Economics, Bocconi Univesity
Microeconomic Theory” by Andreu Mas-Colell, Micheal D. Whinston, Jerry R. Green
This was not expected. It is a basic education-training book. Very popular, just not the kind of book I had expected and yet it reaches millions of students.

Ivano Caponigro, Linguistics, UCSD
I found at least one very important book that reshaped semantics, my field:
"From discourse to logic : introduction to modeltheoretic semantics of natural language, formal logic and discourse representation theory" by Hans Kamp and Uwe Reyle. 1993
Another very influential book for semantics, but also philosophy of language is:
Quine, W. V. Word and object. 1960

Joshua Dienstag, Political Science, UCLA
It’s hard to single out just one but Richard Rorty’s Philosophical Papers had an enormous impact on political philosophy in the last quarter of the twentieth century.  Probably more people disagreed with the content than agreed with it, but it set out a case for what’s now called post-modernism or antifoundationalism so clearly and cogently that it could not be ignored.

Mary L. Dudziak, Law, Emory University
I was surprised to find that so many books I rely on are Tyler Collection books. For my work on the history of American war and political accountability, Adam Berinsky's In the Name of War: Understanding American Public Opinion from World War II to Iraq, has been essential reading. In my fields of law and history, there are so many fine books that I hesitate to suggest which one is most influential. But it is wonderful to know that John Hope Franklin wrote his autobiography at CASBS.

Richard Leo, Law and Social Psychology, USF
Elizabeth Loftus' EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY probably had the greatest effect on
my field (the study of the wrongful conviction of the innocent in the American criminal justice system).

Kent Lightfoot, Anthropology, UC Berkeley
The publication that has made the most impact on me is Patrick V. Kirch's (2000) book, "On the Road of the Winds: Archaeological History of the Pacific Islands Before European Colonization."  It is the foremost book written about the ancient societies of the Pacific and has been important in my thinking about the archaeology of western North America.

Paul Starr, Sociology, Princeton University (from a speech at CASBS 60th Anniversary Celebration)
If you go into the Center’s library and look at the Tyler Collection, you will see literally hundreds of books written at the Center—evidence that the trail of individual curiosity social scientists have followed here has led to a remarkable trail of accomplishment. Although there is no way to measure the Center’s exact impact, without its support many of those books would not have been written, or would have been less ambitious, and as a result the social sciences and intellectual life would have been much the poorer.

This morning, I went into the library and picked a volume from the shelf—not one at random, but the most cited work in all the social sciences, Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions. I learned in the preface that he began thinking about that book as a junior fellow at Harvard and completed it at the Center. And here is what he writes there:

"The final stage in the development of this [work] began with an invitation to spend the year 1958-59 at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Once again I was able to give undivided attention to the problems discussed below. Even more important, spending the year in a community composed predominantly of social scientists confronted me with unanticipated problems about the differences between such communities and those of the natural scientists among whom I had been trained. … Attempting to discover the source of that difference led me to recognize the role in scientific research of what I have since called ‘paradigms.’ … Once that piece of my puzzle fell into place, a draft of this essay emerged rapidly."

Kuhn sets the standard for a year’s work at the Center—a very high standard of accomplishment indeed.

Maryanne Wolf, Psychology/Education, Tufts University
I have found Dedre Gentner’s Analogical Mind very helpful.  As a graduate student both the Kuhn and Erikson (Childhood and society by Erik Erikson) books were bibles then.

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