Possible Initial Readings; Now Democratic and with fewer calories!

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What to Read, What to Read?

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Total Votes : 5

Possible Initial Readings; Now Democratic and with fewer calories!

Post  John on Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:27 am

Descriptions are followed by the poll. If there is something not on the list that should be, write-ins are accepted!

David Hume: A Treatise of Human Nature

Everyone's favorite Scotsman investigating, describing, and evaluating human nature with a touch of skepticism. Hume's personal favorite despite gaining little recognition upon the initial publication.

A.J. Ayer: Language, Truth, and Logic

A somewhat pristine overview of what Ayer took to be the primary arguments of the Logical Positivist school. Topics include Emotivism, induction, and the now infamous verificationist principle.

Schopenhauer: On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason

Ever curious as to why things happen? Following Leibniz, Schopenhauer seeks justification for the maxim that anything that happens does so for a reason, i.e. a sufficient reason.

Foucault: Discipline and Punish

On of Foucault's better-known works, the author attempts to show the extent to which modern society has been conditioned through discipline culminating in the modern prison. Torture, punishment, and Bentham who up, though B.F. Skinner is oddly not mentioned...

Wittgenstein: Philosophical Investigations

Aphorisms, thought-experiments, and question/answer sessions make this a rather difficult read. To those that manage to master the material, however, the world of modern philosophy and contemporary conceptual problems emerge as the proverbial nacre-filled oyster (I assume the proverb means 'fruitful').

Kuhn: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Before paradigms were cool, Kuhn made the seemingly obvious argument that science progresses through fits and starts resulting in disagreement and hurt feelings (imagine how J.J. Thomson felt about the plum pudding model?). A modern classic in the Philosophy of Science, and a relatively easy read.

Feyerabend: Against Method; Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge

Feyerabend argues rather convincingly that science, as conceived by the scientist, with certain assumptions, is simply absurd. That is, given the scientific method, falsification, and the law of the excluded middle, science should never be able to progress.

Rousseau: The Social Contract

Man is born free and everywhere in chains! If they had t-shirt slogans in the 18th century, Rousseau would have been an advertiser. Disagree with a certain law? Did you explicitly agree to it? This book is for you!

Marx: Das Kapital

Capitalism exploits labor and is simply on a continuum to socialism. Class struggle seemed trivially true when Marx was writing, but now we have a middle class. This would be an interesting way to approach one of the most cited individuals in history.

Whitehead: Process and Reality

Mereology! Topology! Subjectivism? I have not read this but so far it seems very much in line with modal actualism which is a three point shot at the buzzer...
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Re: Possible Initial Readings; Now Democratic and with fewer calories!

Post  JWSanborn on Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:46 pm

I like the descriptions of the works, I do however object to your allusion to a "three point shot at the buzzer..."
Grumble grumble grumble..

Also, in honor of everyone's favorite Scotsman, whenever we discuss Hume I fully intend to wear my Scottish flag rugby shirt and hum Scotland the brave over and over. Possibly speak in an accent too. just giving fair warning.

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JW on Hume

Post  John on Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:49 pm

I think it goes without saying that affectations are required for the discussion group. When we cover Wittgenstein I am planning on reciting Tagore poetry in the corner, making snide comments, and staring intensely at people for no reason. Alternatively, if we cover Foucault, I will just wear glasses...
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Re: Possible Initial Readings; Now Democratic and with fewer calories!

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