Dailies 04.04.10

Ah, philosophy. Oy.

The Grayling book, Philosophy 1, has proven more than a little too dense for me. It assumes explanations not in evidence, leaving me unable to penetrate its knowledge. And when the subject is epistemology, that’s unacceptable. Maybe next year…

So, onward. New book. This time I’m going for a more generalist approach. I’m going to try Jacob Needleman’s The Heart of Philosophy, and see where that gets me. The cover blurb states that the book “provides an invaluable guide for those who would take philosophy seriously enough to understand its life-transforming qualities.” Okay, that’s a little more out here in the real world where I try to spend a little time every day (as little as possible, some might add). This approach would appear to work from the outside in, rather than from the inside and going deeper inside. I envision a new reality TV show: Real People, Real Philosophy, with real actors and real commercials and real scripting. Takes place on an island off the coast of England, an island populated by renegade philosophers who live on algae and sea bird eggs and who raid nearby coastal villages for women. Now that’s philosophy in the raw, by golly!

I’m also restarting the current Greek book, A Reading Course in Homeric Greek, with the intent of applying serious memory techniques to all the elements, not just vocabulary. In effect, I’m going to turn the Greek study into a laboratory for memory technique study. And vice versa, or possibly the other way around.

No one ever said learning was linear. Well, wait, some of my teachers way back when believed it was, or at least that’s the impression I carried away. Naturally it isn’t and I labored under the misapprehension that I wasn’t as smart as I really am. Mind terrible thing to waste and all that (I’m dieting, by the way).

UPDATE: 1:40 p.m.

Alright, Needleman is a bust. He’s sounding way too mystical, and using language that’s vague and loose. Not at all appealing, and I’ve noted in my long life that the more mystical something sounds and the vaguer the words the less meaning exists in the text. So bye-bye Jacob, and hello James Hall.

Hall’s Practically Profound: Putting Philosophy to Work in Everyday Life is a book that I started a couple of years ago and did find interesting and well written. I’ll give it another shot and see if this time I can finish it. It is more substantial in language and substance and structure than Needleman, that much I know.

Such fickleness! On the other hand I also have a video course by Hall. Maybe I can find enough ambition to work the two things together.


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