So in an effort to be a better writer I'm interested a list of those you consider the best philosophical writers. William Zinser, acclaimed book editor, says that there are several writers he will always read no matter the subject matter they write about. The idea is to identify those philosophers that you think are the model of philosophical writing--whether or not you agree with their position. It might be good to include a favorite article or chapter of theirs. But most important (at least for me) is why they deserve to be on the list. What is it about their writing that makes it exceptional? I'm still working on my list but at the risk of being too hasty, I'll list a few that I've concluded are philosophers that I will try to read anytime I see one of their articles even if the subject is out of my field of inquiry. My list is probably influenced by my personal writing vices. These people are who I am trying to emulate
In no particular order:
Christopher Shields (I tend to overcomplicate my writing. Shields to me is the paragon of simple direct claims, reasons, and conclusions. He even announces his claims by saying "claim"! His new summary of Aristotle is both philosphically astute and critical but upper level undergraduates could use it.
Etinne Gilson (A thomist who is clear, concise, and doesn't have an ax to grind with analytic philosophy. He is a model of the principle of charity without being soft on his opponents.) The Unity of Philosophical Experience is his best work. Although from Aristotle to Darwin and Back Again is good as well.
Ken Greenawalt A philosopher who writes like a lawyer and a lawyer who thinks like a philosopher. As a lawyer he doesn't fill his law review articles with thousands of cases but rather can summarize complicated concepts into a few short paragraphs with clarity. Above all his prose is interesting. ) Check out his Speech, Crime, and the Uses of Language.
Harry Frankfurt I can't put my finger on it yet, but the importance of what we care about reads so nicely.
That's all for now. More as I think through this. Look forward to your own list