Book Club Potluck - "A Conflict of Visions"

  • November 8, 2013 · 7:00 PM
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Sally will host the discussion of "A Conflict of Visions" by Thomas Sowell. Orson suggested this book. Here's a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Conflict_of_Visions.

The other option for next month is Karl's pick, "Emotion" by Ronald de Soussa. See the November 1 Meetup.

The December poll results are in, and the winners are: Richard's pick, "The Extended Mind" by Richard Menary, and Sally's pick, "A History of the Mind: Evolution and the Birth of Consciousness" by Nicholas Humphrey. Richard has volunteered to host the Menary book December 6. Let me know if you'd be willing to host the Humphrey book on December 13 or another date in the future. I need two volunteers per month.

Since we are always planning ahead, I've started the poll for our Meetups two months out. You'll find that under the "More" menu at the top of this page. Anyone who is a member of this Meetup can submit a title for the poll. Just send me an email, and I'll add your selection. However, I will only include one title from each member. If you submitted a title last month, I've rolled it over into the new poll. If you want to change your recommendation, just let me know.

As always, it's essential that everyone who comes to the meeting reads the book in its entirety. Please also bring a food or drink item for the potluck.

Happy reading!

 

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  • Terry O.

    The book i added to the list for February, “Philosophy in a time of Terror - dialogues with Habermas and Derrida” by Giovanna Borradori, is a short interesting book written by a woman American philosopher who interviewed the two of them soon after 9/11 when they both visited America. The author is teaching at Vassar college. She offers an interesting introduction about the two philosophers and then each talks about how democracies and countries might want to approach the challenge of terrorism. I think their insights are worth discussing.

    November 9, 2013

  • Russell B.

    It was good. There was just too many times too many people talking at once and often 2 or 3 different conversations going on at once. So it was hard to follow the conversations.

    November 8, 2013

    • Sally A L.

      sorry it bothered you, just a reflection of how stimulating the book was for us - thanks for choosing it !!

      November 8, 2013

  • Sally A L.

    Thanks for coming everyone, i thoroughly enjoyed it

    November 8, 2013

  • Russell B.

    Hey, here are a few books I'd love to have discussed sometime in this potluck discussion. I just want to throw them out there. I have others too. Anyone who likes any of them is free to nominate for the poll. If there are any you think would not be good choices - too long or involved to discuss in one evening or whatever - let me know.

    Dao De Jing: A Philosophical Translation - Ames and Hall (This looks at Dao De Jing or Tao Te Ching as a philosophical work without the religiosity or mysticism)
    The Laws - Plato (I think it would be fun to read Plato dialogues without Socrates).
    Nicomachean Ethics - Aristotle
    Politics - Aristotle
    The Prince - Machiavelli
    Discourses on Livy - Machiavelli
    Federalist Papers - Hamilton, Jay and Madison
    Anti Federalist Papers - Clinton, Yates and Bryan
    Democracy in America - Tocqueville
    Genealogy of Morals - Nietzsche

    November 8, 2013

  • Orson

    WIKIPEDIA
    According to Haigt's Moral Foundations theory, "there are (at least) six innate moral foundations, upon which cultures develop their various moralities.... The six [dimensions] are Care/harm, Fairness/cheating, Liberty/oppression, Loyalty/betrayal, Authority/subversion, and Sanctity/degradation. ...Haidt and his collaborators at YourMorals.org have found that the theory works well to explain political differences. Liberals (leftists) tend to endorse primarily the Care, Fairness, and Liberty foundations, whereas conservatives (rightists) tend to endorse all six foundations more equally."

    November 8, 2013

  • Orson

    Political and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt - whose book from the summer of 2012 is "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion" - heartily commends Sowell's "Conflict of Visions." (Steven Pinker does too.)

    How does Sowell's thesis map to Haidt's "Moral Foundations" theory? Or not? (And perhaps vice versa?) Here are my extended thoughts (in our "discussion" section) - with controversial contemporary implications.
    http://www.meetup.com/philosophy-34/messages/boards/thread/39395272

    November 8, 2013

  • Orson

    RUSSELL - I'll ask you to examine my copy of "A Brief History of Liberty" by David Schmidtz and Jason Brennan, both young philosophy profs of the libertarian stripe.

    1 · November 8, 2013

  • Russell B.

    Hi Cameron, I would like to nominate for the next poll, "Libertarianism: A Primer" by David Boaz. I think a good understanding what Libertarianism is is important and I've spent some time the last few weeks contemplating which one to choose. This book is available as kindle and on audible.com as well as CD and affordable softcover and it gives a very nice broad introduction to Libertarianism.

    Thanks!

    November 8, 2013

    • Cameron K.

      You got it, Russell. I'll set that up this weekend.

      November 8, 2013

  • Russell B.

    I very good book to discuss next after this one is "Road to Serfdom"! Sowell talks a lot about Hayek and even references "Road to Serfdom" in particular several times. Hayek and R to S are very important and pivotal to political philosophy. Any of you who didn't give R to S a 10 should go to the poll now and update your vote giving it a 10!

    November 7, 2013

  • Russell B.

    Hi all, Here are some things that complement or augment last month's Charles Murray discussion. The book "Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream - and Why It Matters" by Helen Smith.

    http://tinyurl.com/prj6mbm

    Also, Karen Straughan talks a lot about the issue of cultural and legal biasedness against males. Here is link to her youtube page. https://www.youtube.com/user/girlwriteswhat?feature=watch

    October 31, 2013

  • Mark H.

    Hi Cameron, I'd be happy to host the Humphrey book, which I love! Can I also add a book to the next open poll: The View from Nowhere by Thomas Nagel. Thanks Mark

    October 17, 2013

    • Mark H.

      sure! Can I choose which of the two when we know the two book winners?

      October 18, 2013

    • Cameron K.

      Yes, let's plan on that. We'll have to coordinate with whoevere else volunteers to host. Thanks!

      October 19, 2013

  • Russell B.

    This is related to discussion at Murray meetup. http://www.fastcompany.com/53247/your-boss-psychopath

    This article mentions a book by Martha Stout called the Sociopath Next Door. I listened to this audio book a year or two ago. It's awful! Go to Amazon and look at the one star reviews. This book got lots of 5 star but look at the one star and read a few of them. I agree with the one star reviews and these folk who wrote them are much better at writing reviews and are more articulate than I and I think better educated in relevant ways than I am for writing good articulate reviews.

    So, anyway, I think this fastcompany article and Richard and Mo contentions have lots of holes.

    October 14, 2013

  • Orson

    Suppose one accepts Sowells thesis - that the political Left and Right are riven by competing, contrary, and conflicting visions - one unconstrained, the other constrained? What does that imply about politics today? My mentor at the London School of Economics and Political Science who passed away last June, Kenneth Minogue, wrote a sequel addressing this very question in his last book a few years ago, "The Servile Mind: How Politics Erodes The Moral Life." In it, he argues that the pursuit of social justice necessarily diminishes freedom. Thus, "Minogue contends that Western Democracy was conceived as a system in which government was accountable to the electorate, but it has now been corrupted so that the electorate is accountable to government...." Hence, prizing character and moral excellence recedes, supplanted by the policing of anything that gives offense - otherwise known as political correctness. REVIEW http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/book-review-the-servile-mind

    October 11, 2013

  • Russell B.

    Of course you can find lots of Murray on youtube by just searching "Charles Murray Coming Apart". But here is an interesting debate. Of course the left is a bit nutty, especially Nader. But it's very hard to get rational debaters on the left. Many parts of the left ideology have huge holes. That is why you will see the left appeal to weird philosophies like postmodernism or write difficult-to-comprehend obscure murky stuff. Or they appeal to emotion - The big bad corporations are doing this or that or rich people are horrible or anyone who disagrees with left ideology is stupid like Bush or psychologically deficit in some way.

    http://youtu.be/PEdY2OZXVd4

    October 10, 2013

  • Russell B.

    One of the great books of many by Thomas Sowell is Basic Economics. If you finish Conflict of Visions early enough you might want to check that out. It's available at audible.com too. It's very different from most other basic econ books in that there are no charts or graphs or mathematical equations but just words.

    And also, even if you are on left, it's a great book that shows how a government policy can have many unintentional and not anticipated secondary effects. So it would be helpful to policy makers and voters.

    October 10, 2013

  • Russell B.

    Here is fairly recent interview of Thomas Sowell. Not about the book we will be discussing but the topic ties in well to Murray book and some of our discussion lately.

    http://youtu.be/5SDLBqIubCs

    October 10, 2013

  • Russell B.

    Here is interview of Murray by Reason TV. Very good. Charley, you might be happy to hear Murray talk about bullhorns on street corners. I wish I would had noted the time when that happen. Anyway, worth watching the man himself talk about his book "Coming Apart". http://youtu.be/oXIsEHFCBns

    October 10, 2013

    • Russell B.

      Thanks, Richard. Interesting. I was a late talker - didn't start talking until I was almost 5. My parents and educators were stumped and concern. I was given hearing test and was fine I guess and given IQ test in Kindergarten. Something like 84 - "dull". I was poor student all the way through from elementary to high school. SAT after high school - very low verbal parts but very high math - this was typical for me on many test. As an adult, IQ test qualified me for Mensa and I've taken GRE a couple times and scored very high including perfect and near perfect scores on some parts.

      October 10, 2013

    • Russell B.

      Thomas Sowell knows a little about late talking children. His son was one. He has written two books on this subject. "Late Talking Children" and "The Einstein Syndrome, Bright Children Who Talk Late".

      October 10, 2013

  • richard l.

    I'd like to nominate a book for two months ahead, but I'm not sure this is the proper place. Anyway, it's "Encountering Naturalism" by Thomas Clark. This is a Center for Naturalism publication available in a PDF file from them for $10. 97 pages.

    October 9, 2013

    • Cameron K.

      You got it. Please update you vote!

      October 9, 2013

  • richard l.

    Food for thought applicable to "Coming Apart" (last month's book) and upcoming "Conflict of Visions."
    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_140204.html

    October 7, 2013

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We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

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