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Books enjoyed

Enter here to talk about books, art, literature, film, TV and anything else to do with popular culture.
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Dave B
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Re: Books enjoyed

#61 Postby Dave B » March 23rd, 2015, 2:04 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

:pointlaugh:
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Athena
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Re: Books enjoyed

#62 Postby Athena » April 20th, 2015, 12:11 pm

Here's a link to my review of Edzard Ernst's A Scientist in Wonderland. I'm relieved to note that the author is delighted with it and has been tweeting it enthusiastically.

http://www.skepticat.org/2015/04/a-scie ... onderland/

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Dave B
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Re: Books enjoyed

#63 Postby Dave B » April 20th, 2015, 2:18 pm

Athena wrote:Here's a link to my review of Edzard Ernst's A Scientist in Wonderland. I'm relieved to note that the author is delighted with it and has been tweeting it enthusiastically.

http://www.skepticat.org/2015/04/a-scie ... onderland/
Athena, when I hit the link I briefly see the review then get a sort of blank page with tge sidebar and a "polite notice".Tried hitting "home" , review comes back then goes away again to blank column!

Later: OK, found it in a pile at the very bottom of the page!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
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Re: Books enjoyed

#64 Postby Alan H » April 20th, 2015, 2:56 pm

It's a 'responsive' template that adjusts to the size of the screen being used. If your screen is deemed too small, it reverts to a small screen type display. I'll tweak it a bit...
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Dave B
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Re: Books enjoyed

#65 Postby Dave B » April 20th, 2015, 3:21 pm

Alan H wrote:It's a 'responsive' template that adjusts to the size of the screen being used. If your screen is deemed too small, it reverts to a small screen type display. I'll tweak it a bit...
R I C!

Was viewing it on my tablet. Prefer a narrow column so that I can expand the image and reading is not such a strain!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Dave B
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Re: Books enjoyed

#66 Postby Dave B » June 8th, 2016, 3:24 pm

About 60 years ago, feeling a bit lost, confused and lonely, I found a notice about the Lewisham humanist group. Suddenly I knew that I was not entirely alone. That lttle bit of reading had a profound effect on me - unfortunately I could not take it further at the tine, the home environment did not encourage such and there was a lower age limit of 18 for membership, but the knowledge helped.

I have meandered all my life eince the, looking for a path. I was attracted in various directions but made critically bad decisions early on.

What has this to do with books? Well, today I indulged in my frequent habit of buying a 2nd book in Geoff's shop then browsing it in my favourite lunchery.

The book is, "The meaning of Modern Design" by Peter Dormer. No longer modern, of course, published 1990, hardly anything digital in it.

But that only goes for the "hard" design, what the author has to say about design in terms of ethics, philosophy, psychology and politics and economics is still current - one can ask the same questions today.

I have only tickled the surface as yet but, for at least this aspect of my life this could become a bit of an important book for me. Bit late again, even had I had to wait until 1990 reading it then might have made a big difference.

Few realise what effect "design" has on so many aspects of everyday life - it is the essence of the man-made world, it leads rather than follows us, we do what it (or those who commissioned/created it) wants more often than not. They do get it fundamentally wrong at times I have to admit! :D

The differences between engineering, craftmanship and pure design are described but, for me, it is their mingling together with ethics and psychology stirred in that holds the key. That counts whether it is an organic loo for Africa whose appearance enhances the landscape or one the great piles, such as the Burg Khalifa, built for the filthy rich. As much for a new concept in arthritis sufferer's cutlery as the latest innovations in luxury cars.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Nutellathehun
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Re: Books enjoyed

#67 Postby Nutellathehun » June 23rd, 2016, 7:38 pm

Though I tend to read quite a bit of fiction when not pursuing things relevant to my profession (education), I very much enjoyed Dreyfuss and Kelly's All Things Shining, the subtitle of which accurately states that the book is about reading Western classics to find meaning in a secular age.
"Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little."
~Epicurus

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animist
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Re: Books enjoyed

#68 Postby animist » July 5th, 2016, 4:34 pm

the last three novels I read were all by women and all concern, in different ways, time frames and locales, the unsuccessful attempts of Western culture to mingle with, and basically dominate other, very different, cultures. The books are Lionel Shriver's "Game Control", which is about the futility of population control programmes in Kenya; Deborah Moggach's "Hot Water Man", set in Pakistan and about an English couple and an American entrepreneur's disastrous affaire with a high-class Pakistani girl; and the monster read of them all, Barbara Kingsolver's "The Poisonwood Bible", which charts the disastrous attempt of an American Baptist family to evangelise in the newly independent Belgian Congo. All are very well worth reading for sceptics and humanists!

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Nick
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Re: Books enjoyed

#69 Postby Nick » April 6th, 2017, 9:06 pm


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animist
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Re: Books enjoyed

#70 Postby animist » June 30th, 2017, 10:25 am

reading my last post here makes me wonder - does anyone else here read mainstream novels? Anyway, I can't recommend too much Monica Ali's "Brick Lane". It details the gradual self-realisation of a very intelligent but dutiful Bangladeshi woman called Nazneen who is married off by Abba (dad) to a silly and pompous, if decent, husband in London (hence the title). After much patient acceptance of the gender inequalities which surround her life as a devout Muslim, she establishes a degree of autonomy when she declines to accompany him husband back to Bangladesh. Nothing horrible happens here, thank God (which is what Nazneen would say, I guess)

Cairsley
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Re: Books enjoyed

#71 Postby Cairsley » August 13th, 2017, 7:48 pm

It must be a couple of years since I last sat down with a novel. Of late I have been rereading a short philosophical work entitled The Correspondence Theory of Truth (1975) by D. J. O'Connor, a little gem for anyone who finds philosophy interesting and likes to read clear, levelheaded work on specific philosophical questions. In this book the author discusses the problems encountered when one tries to analyse the common-sense view of truth as a correspondence of a truth-bearer (sentence, proposition, statement, concept, idea, cognitive content etc.) to something else regarded as the truth-giver (fact, state of affairs, status rerum, etc.), including also the difficulties in clarifying what is meant by 'correspondence', for which Albert Tarski's semantic theory of meaning is examined for possible clarification in the penultimate chapter. In the final chapter a refinement of the traditional version of the idea of truth being a correspondence between thought and thing is offered that does remove some (but not all) of the difficulties and anomalies that have bothered philosophers in their efforts to make systematic sense of the everyday uses of the terms 'true' and 'truth'.

Another book I have just started reading is Christianity and Classical Culture (1993) by Jaroslav Pelikan, in which the author discusses mostly the interplay of Chirstian beliefs and classical learning in the works of the four fourth-century Greek theologians: Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus (known as the Three Cappadocians) and Macrina (the Younger), elder sister of the first two named. The Cappadocians have played a similar role in the Eastern church to that played by Augustine of Hippo in the Western church, and their authority has been as much recognized by Westerners as Augustine's has been by Easterners. But, having only just started reading this book, I can say very little about it at this stage. Jaroslav Pelikan is well known for his work on the history of Christian doctrine, which he sets out in his five-volume work The Christian Tradition spanning the centuries from around the year 100 CE to the present era. One may wonder why an atheistic humanist might want to read such books about the development of Christian doctrine, but that is easily explained. As a historian, I want to know the factors that caused or influenced people to think and act as they did, and religious beliefs have indeed had significant effects in what was done and suffered all through history. Western civilization as we have it now cannot be understood without an understanding of the one thousand six hundred years of Christian predominance over it, from which we are only just emerging. But the development of Christian doctrine is an interesting subject in its own right, for it provides a marvelous study of how a long-established tradition of superstitious beliefs received from a prescientific time can interact with reason and logic and the community's emotional and social needs to produce what is regarded as divinely revealed truths. The two things that most impressed me about The Christian Tradition are: 1. in the first volume, subtitled The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600), no attempt is made to base any early Christian beliefs on any kind of historical evidence that might substantiate what was believed about Jesus Christ; and 2. from the fourth century on, there was a basic set of beliefs that remained consistent and very little changed throughout subsequent centuries in all Christian denominations to the present day.

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animist
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Re: Books enjoyed

#72 Postby animist » August 13th, 2017, 10:10 pm

thankyou very much for this, Cairsley. I did PPE at Oxford, long ago, but was out of my depth, and I agree that "correspondence" is a difficult concept. Maybe you can refresh my dim memories - is the "competitor" theory to the correspondence theory some sort of coherence theory which focuses on internal consistency rather than the world outside language? BTW, Tarski's name was Alfred :redface:

On your other topic, I guess that "historical evidence" was somewhat out of consideration for all these long centuries. There was no scientific culture to provide an alternative to faith, and IMO the likeliness of Jesus's existence and his worthy preaching, added to some accident relating to his death abd burial, was enough to cement a firm faith which the Xian tradition's contact with Greek philosophy may have simply made it more casuistical rather than questioning

Cairsley
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Re: Books enjoyed

#73 Postby Cairsley » August 14th, 2017, 5:20 am

Hello, Animist. I woke up this morning with the uneasy feeling that I had typed Alfred Tarski's name incorrectly and have now logged in to check, and, yes, I misnamed the famous logician and mathematician. His name is indeed Alfred Tarski, not Albert. Mea culpa.

You are quite right that the coherence theory of truth was seen as a competitor of the correspondence theory. Although the latter has never been without difficulties, it has been the favored view among philosophers at least since Aristotle, who first devised a systematic theory of knowledge based on the senses. In the final chapter of The Correspondence Theory of Truth, D. J. O'Connor sets out this schema as a minimal basis for a correspondence theory of truth:
A. status rerum
B. things and their properties, situations, events
C. empirical statements
The links between B and C are the semantic conventions (for a given language). The links between A and B are the cognitive processes of sensation, perception, memory and concept formation. B is a selectively processed and edited version of status rerum; C is a selectively processed and edited version of B.

In his subsequent discussion of the relations between the three levels of the schema, O'Connor has this to say:
It is a schema because it gives rise to an indefinite number of hypotheses of the form: This statement S is a model of some aspect of status rerum. And the hypotheses are genuine (because falsifiable). 'True' in this context is equivalent to 'is a model of some aspect of status rerum'. I can corroborate or disconfirm the hypothesis that S is a true statement, in the first place, by pragmatic tests of workability.
Is the assumption that S mirrors some structural features of status rerum borne out, to some degree at least, by further experience?
and, if it passes these pragmatic tests, is it consistent with the body of accepted knowledge? Thus the coherence and the pragmatic accounts of truth, can at least provide tests to pass or fail particular candidates for the category of true statement.

Thus O'Connor, who evidently regards correspondence accounts of truth to be the most useful, still sees the pragmatic and coherence accounts as having parts to play in understanding how we brainy apes seek truth.

Cairsley
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Re: Books enjoyed

#74 Postby Cairsley » August 14th, 2017, 5:31 am

Footnote to my previous message: 'status rerum' refers to "the raw, unexperienced welter of objects and events" (op. cit. p. 130). O'Connor's footnote has this to say about it: "This term has a respectable philosophical ancestry in that it was suggested by Wittgenstein to C. K. Ogden as a suitable translation of 'Sachlage' for the Tractatus. The suggestion was, of course, not adopted."


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