What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

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Postby Deftil on January 28th, 2009, 6:08 am 

Kinds Of Minds: Toward An Understanding Of Consciousness
Daniel C. Dennett

http://www.amazon.com/Kinds-Minds-Under ... 0465073514

Dennett works toward a general understanding of consciousness and discusses what it's like to have a mind and which entities could be considered to have certain types of minds.

This is the third book I've read lately with "mind" in the title. First it was Mind, then The Mating Mind, and now Kinds of Minds. I didn't really do that intentionally, it just sorta happened.
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Postby BorisOfTerreHaute on February 16th, 2009, 8:53 pm 

Interesting. Two days ago I debated acquiring one of two books by Dennett: this one or Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness.
I chose the latter for some reason.
I have previously read: Darwin's Dangerous Idea, and Breaking the Spell.
I think Dennett is one of the premier philosophers of the age.
He provides one of the highest proportions of mind-expansion per words written of anyone out there.
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Postby Deftil on February 17th, 2009, 3:36 am 

I like Dennet. Don't always agree with him but his arguments and explanations often give me added perspective to problems. Kinds of Minds was pretty good.

I also just finished The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris

http://www.amazon.com/Naked-Ape-Desmond ... 0440362660

Discusses human behavior as animal behavior is normally discussed and involves evolutionary biology and psychology.

Currently reading The Great Philosophers - From Socrates to Turing edited by Ray Monk and Frederic Raphael

http://www.amazon.com/Great-Philosopher ... 0415928176

Sections on Socartes, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, Berkeley, Hume, Marx, Russell, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Popper, and Turing.
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Nausea

Postby Ryan on February 17th, 2009, 11:33 am 

I am currently reading Nausea and Ego and It's Own. I really enjoy Nausea because I enjoy the main characters thought processes and how they involve a lot of self examination.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby Chimera Hunter on June 10th, 2009, 11:44 pm 

Its been a while, but I'm finally nearing the end of Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding. It was quite a labor but just soooo valuable. I'm relieved that I've got a bunch of shorter books (going right down the line in 17th century philosophy: Liebniz, Spinoza, Hume, Berkeley) lined up for me next to keep things fresh for a while.
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Re: book reading burnout

Postby HappyMan on June 11th, 2009, 2:56 am 

asocialnorm wrote:I can't read books. I've tried reading, but it gets harder after about 10 pages :)

That said, I would love to get a recommendation for a introductory book on Philosophy that's a relatively easy read to start with. Deftil, I know you have recommended something in this post; however, would you say it is an easy read for a person who is as impatient as I.

Thank you all!


Learning is more than reading as comprehension scores have shown. "The road to hell is paved with good intention." To get learning to "take hold" in the searching process, the discipline of the routine has to allow for the limits of the learner. It's difficult to imagine anyone writing a book for all things to all people. Even the Bible was probably intended to be understood by anyone, but many people still claim it's too confusing.

Thus some sweat is required in digging through the mess of type to find the link to a question or an interest.
For Philosophy I like the classics mentioned by others, but for simplicity I like, Deductive Logic, by St. George Stock. It's available at: http://www.gutenberg.org Remember the definition of the word, "Philosophy" as you search. Literally it means 'Love of knowledge', but it has been nit picked for a long time.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby Deftil on June 13th, 2009, 5:23 pm 

An Introduction to Philosophy by Jacques Maritain translated by E.I. Watkin

Was going to be travelling in the car for awhile and picked up this book along with some others to read to pass the time. Figured it would be fairly easy reading and I could review some basic stuff with it. Well, let me tell you, it stinks. It's biased and makes no effort to be objective; making it complete crap for an intro book. The author tells you his views and that opposing views are "absurd" without offering much in the way of proof for why those views are absurd. Personally, I think most of his views are absurd, but to be fair, I think this was originally written in the 50's and I'm reading it translated from French, so maybe I shouldn't be too hard on him.... but still, this guy seems pretty dense, and doesn't have much understanding of what makes a good "intro" book. Also, the author is really big on Aristotle and Aquinas, which is cool and all, but he gets a bit carried away. At any rate, it's a short book (200 pages) and I started it (now on page 135) so I'm going to finish it. I guess it's not a bad practice to read books that you really disagree with every once in awhile.

edit - just looked up the author and he was a Catholic that lived from 1882-1928. Yea, that actually isn't very surprising considering what I've read so far. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maritain
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby Sudhir Babu on June 13th, 2009, 11:31 pm 

I like reading Madam Annie Besant's books...
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby Deftil on July 3rd, 2009, 6:19 pm 

Socrates Cafe: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy by Christopher Phillips

http://www.amazon.com/Socrates-Cafe-Fre ... 0393049566

Had seen this before but was hesitant to read it because I got the impression it was an attempt to make philosophy more hip for the modern person, but went ahead and checked it out from the library when I wanted a philosophy book that would be a fairly quick and easy read. It's about a guy and his endeavor to get the Socratic method of philosophy back into the world by hosting "Socrates Cafes", meetings of regular people discussing and trying to understand issues and ideas that interest them by asking questions about them and re-eaxaming their previous notions of them, at various locations such as community centers, elementary schools, and of course, cafes. I was surprised to find myself quickly drawn in to the discussions outlined in the book of those that had taken place at some of these meetings. But it wasn't long before I realized that what the author has put in the book isn't like an actual recording of the discussions that took place at these meetings, but more like him having his supposed Socrates Cafe participants say what he'd like them to say, in the (very forced and artificial) way he'd like them to say it. He never recorded anything in any way at these meetings (which he does state early on) and it became more and more obvious to me that this was the case as I continued to read the supposed discussions. The dialogue ends up managing to seem both very unnatural, and juvenile. Still, I do see some merit in some of the discussions, as awkward as they can be to read. He also discusses some aspects of his life and how it came to be that he began travelling around trying to facilitate these gatherings. At times this gets a bit cheesy, but I still think there is a decent message being sent in his conveying this part of his life. I also enjoy that he brings relevant info about important philosophers into the conversation of the pratical matters that typically get discussed at Socrates Cafe meetings. Overall, the boook is OK - some of it gets me thinking and I enjoy, and some of it is boring and I have to force myself to read. This book is probably best enjoyed by a beginner to philosophy.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby Deftil on July 14th, 2009, 12:15 pm 

My friend gave me his copy of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens to borrow. 100 pages in and I like it ok, but don't love it. He makes some decent points but he also tells some personal stories for which I see no way to verfiy and guess that to a degree you have to take his word for.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby Deftil on July 27th, 2009, 4:48 pm 

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

I only read about 1 fiction book every 2 years or so, but so many people seem to enjoy this book, and it's come up so often in my reading of NONfiction books (Hitchens brings it up in God is not Great for example) that I decided to give this famous work a reading for myself. At first, I was a bit bored with it. But then I became totally engrossed with it. Now I sometimes have trouble putting it down I like it so much. I'm about 125 pages in of its total 410 (ish) pages.

I'm also reading a book on Tai Chi by Waysun Liao (sp?) that a friend loaned me. It's a bit mystical for me, but it's easy reading and interesting to get a better understanding of the relevant eastern philosophy.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby Deftil on August 15th, 2009, 12:28 pm 

You people don't read enough philosophy books and post them here!

Currently reading:
Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge by E.O. Wilson
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consilience_(book)

Just started reading it. So far I find it really intriguing but Wilson's writing style sometimes isn't completely clear to me. The library only had the book in the large print edition and it has a bunch of typos which doesn't help.

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/index.html?curid=1378709

Almost done with it. I REALLY enjoy the discussions of past societies such as the Easter islanders, Greenland Norse, and Maya.

Wilson's book is essentially philosophical but involves a lot of science, and Diamond's book is essentially scientific but involves philosophy as well.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby tsukihime on January 4th, 2010, 12:30 pm 

Thoreau's 'Walden". I just love the way he cynically attacks the society.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby rrushius on January 4th, 2010, 10:43 pm 

"Cyclonopedia" by Reza Negarestani

He expands on the concept of the war machine by Deleuze. extreme and beautiful. The way a demon would write.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby Deftil on January 5th, 2010, 12:21 pm 

The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot by Bart Ehrman
In typically brilliant fashion, Ehrman (Misquoting Jesus) tells the lively tale of the modern discovery of the Gospel of Judas and its significance for us today. In order to differentiate the Judas of the newly discovered text from the character in the canonical gospels, he examines the portrayal of Judas in Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, as well as in other early Christian gospels such as the Gospel of Nicodemus. He chronicles the events surrounding the discovery of the text and its transmission since its discovery (which involves rumors of black market trading in looted documents). Ehrman also provides a helpful overview of the content of this once lost gospel, which depicts Jesus teaching Judas about a divine realm that no one has ever seen and to which Jesus must return. Ehrman concludes that the discovery of the Gospel of Judas is significant not only because it adds to our knowledge of the diversity of early Christianity but also because it portrays a Judas who is not a traitor to the cause but one who is instrumental in fulfilling Jesus' divine mission. Ehrman's fast-paced study introduces us engagingly to the Gospel of Judas.

http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Gospel-Judas ... 0195314603

Is really good. I like this guy. This is the 3rd book of his I'm reading.

The Ethical Brain by Michael Gazzaniga
http://www.amazon.com/Ethical-Brain-Mic ... 1932594019

Pretty good book - intriguing topic, but I'm not sold on the execution yet. It's a book on bioethics and it's good to learn about the actual science that's behind the current issues in bioethics but I'm not sure Gazzaniga's writing style is as clear as I'd like it to be. Also, to me, he comes across more as a scientist rather than an actual bioethicist, or someone who is familiar and comfortable with moral philosophy, so the actual discussion of ethics in the book is a bit questionable to me.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby Forest_Dump on January 7th, 2010, 9:39 am 

In looking at this thread out of curiosity, the first two posts I saw were by Deftil and Boris... regarding Dennett, etc. I just read P. J. Bowler's (2007) "Monkey Trials and Gorilla Sermons: Evolution and Christianity from Darwin to Intelligent Design", Harvard University Press.

The author notes early on that he is sympathetic to ultra materialists like Dennett and Dawkins but actually does a really good job of exploring some of the reasons why these extremist views have been rejected by many people from Darwin to S. J. Gould and some more recent philosophers. There is actually some great context for "why Darwin was not a Darwinist" and, IMHO, why I do not side with (or even like) people like Dennett and Dawkins but actually side more with E. O. Wilson and S. J Gould.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby CanadysPeak on January 7th, 2010, 7:50 pm 

Samuel Florman's The Existential Pleasures of Engineering. The content is decent, but Florman's writing makes Bulwer-Lytton look good. There's not a great deal of philosophical thought in engineering - once you've exhausted Henry Petroski, that's about it - so I have to read the mediocre also.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby Forest_Dump on January 7th, 2010, 8:29 pm 

CanadysPeak wrote:There's not a great deal of philosophical thought in engineering


Actually, I read a great one just a few years ago by Ursula Franklin. Can't remember the name of it though but it was a publication of her (I think) Massey lectures.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby CanadysPeak on January 8th, 2010, 9:29 am 

Forest_Dump wrote:
CanadysPeak wrote:There's not a great deal of philosophical thought in engineering


Actually, I read a great one just a few years ago by Ursula Franklin. Can't remember the name of it though but it was a publication of her (I think) Massey lectures.


Yes, I can see why you'd like her. Thanks.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby Deftil on January 8th, 2010, 5:36 pm 

Forest_Dump wrote:In looking at this thread out of curiosity, the first two posts I saw were by Deftil and Boris... regarding Dennett, etc. I just read P. J. Bowler's (2007) "Monkey Trials and Gorilla Sermons: Evolution and Christianity from Darwin to Intelligent Design", Harvard University Press.

The author notes early on that he is sympathetic to ultra materialists like Dennett and Dawkins but actually does a really good job of exploring some of the reasons why these extremist views have been rejected by many people from Darwin to S. J. Gould and some more recent philosophers. There is actually some great context for "why Darwin was not a Darwinist" and, IMHO, why I do not side with (or even like) people like Dennett and Dawkins but actually side more with E. O. Wilson and S. J Gould.

That's interesting. I'd like to hear more about that.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby Forest_Dump on January 8th, 2010, 6:00 pm 

Okay. I am not sure what, specifically you find of interest but the book overall covers a lot of the history up to the early 20th century although the last section brings it up to today in looking at why some resist the implications of evolutionary theory. Some key points, IMHO, were that the idea of progress was slow to take hold because of the implications that the world was either not perfect (and therefore could be improved) or in decline (since the age of the patriarchs, etc.). On the other hand, liberal theologians of the time embraced the notion of progress earlier (because of how it could, for example, help justify missionary work) as did the rise in the wealth of the middle class due to the fruits of industrialisation. This was where, of course, the Darwins came in because the elder had made so much money (i.e., particularly off Wedgewood china). And therefore the idea of individuals gaining and being able to pass this increased wealth on to future generations was argued to be of benefit to the race and species. However, this was essentially what Lamark was about as well with the notion of progress and specifically of course directed progress or improvement. While Darwin believed in progress, his ideas were problematic because natural selection was seen as relatively merciless and lacking in any purpose and direction. Huxley (Darwin's Bulldog) apparently had issues with organised religion and the status quo (he was not born to wealth) and took a more materialist bent that Darwin was not always happy about but accepted. According to Bowler, Darwin's opponents of the time fully accepted a longer age for the earth (YEC is seen as more of a 20th century thing) and evolution but did not like the implications of evolution lacking purpose or direction. There is a lot of interesting stuff in here including a lot more details about the second half of the 19th century and early 20th (the authors admitted specialty) and I found it a great read and enlightening.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby Deftil on January 8th, 2010, 6:33 pm 

Cool. And what specifically interested me was why the recent philosophers and whatnot have rejected ultra materialism.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby Forest_Dump on January 8th, 2010, 7:51 pm 

Deftil wrote:And what specifically interested me was why the recent philosophers and whatnot have rejected ultra materialism.


Ah well, my own take on that (and it seems to be a common theme among those surveyed - and there is a list of recent books etc. on the topic) is in the notion of purpose, "progress" and direction. I have long thought of human culture being a great example of many aspects of Lamarkism and that would include that we can create purpose and direction and certainly progress. I have no problems with the more neo-Darwian themes of progress, etc., must be evaluated in context, i.e., there can probably be no universal criteria for evaluating what counts as "progress" in different places, but that does not mean we can't decide purpose and direction etc. for ourselves. In a broader perspective, I have also recently gained an increased understanding for why anti-science is gaining ground in some places. Where I am now, science is not really seen as bringing much of value while some of the old time religion is very active locally in keeping families together, etc.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby BasterdizingJellyKit on January 23rd, 2010, 3:59 pm 

"Course in General Linguistics" by Ferdinand de Saussere-


He's supposed to be the "Godfather of Modern Linguistics", so i've been told
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby Thedrawrf on May 14th, 2010, 1:33 am 

I've been methodically redwing the "Collected works of John Cheever". Wait, you say, he's not a philosopher! Does he assume the moniker? No, but he does present a fascinating view of the hyperbolic fear and materialistic tendencies that tend to wrap their tendrils around the throat of humanity whenever we become complacent.

I highly recommend any of his works, though the short stories are more apt to receive praise than are his novels.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby tsukihime on September 23rd, 2010, 8:15 am 

Hans-Georg Gadamer's "Philosophical Hermeneutics" (translated by David E. Linge)
I'm interested in Gadamer's views on hermeneutics which includes Hegel and Heidegger's ideas.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby HigherLvlofThinking on September 23rd, 2010, 1:09 pm 

The Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche probably the most intense author on Philosophy ive read. I also like Christopher Hitchens God is not good: how religion poisions everything:) Very good points!
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby Anatoly on February 5th, 2011, 5:07 am 

I'm reading now Hegel's ''Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion''.
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby BorisOfTerreHaute on April 30th, 2011, 8:08 pm 

Forrest said,
"There is actually some great context for "why Darwin was not a Darwinist" and, IMHO, why I do not side with (or even like) people like Dennett and Dawkins but actually side more with E. O. Wilson and S. J Gould."


I really like Dawkins, Dennett, Wilson, and Gould. I've read so many books by Gould that I can't even count them right now. I absolutely love Gould.
Gould's NonOverlapping Magisteria work is really strained though, and really stretches credulity in my opinion.
I love reading Darwin, but he is out of the loop pretty much on modern scientific philosophy, not even knowing about DNA, and how genetics transmit information.

As you probably know, I think Dennett and Dawkins are the best of those mentioned at describing our current scientific reality.

Cheers... :-)
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Re: What Philosophy Books are you currently reading?

Postby BorisOfTerreHaute on April 30th, 2011, 8:16 pm 

A HISTORY OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY

Perhaps, if I were to choose one philosophy book that impacted me the most, in my early quest for truth an meaning, it might be: A History of Western Philosophy, by Bertrand Russell.
http://www.amazon.com/History-Western-Philosophy-Bertrand-Russell/dp/0671201581/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1304208595&sr=8-1

It was too early to cover the really modern scientific, bio-evolutionary philosophy that Dennett so aptly elucidates, but...
it really brought me up to speed on the history.

:-)
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