Book Club Potluck - "The Road to Serfdom"

  • January 17, 2014 · 7:00 PM
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Karl will host the discussion of "The Road to Serfdom" by FA Hayek. Russell suggested this book. Here's a link: http://www.amazon.com/Road-Serfdom-Fiftieth-Anniversary/dp/0226320618/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386990532&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Road+to+Serfdom%22+by+FA+Hayek. Whatever you do, don't read the Reader's Digest abridged version of this book. Abridged versions of this key text in political and economic philosophy can be completely misleading.

The other option for next month is Russell's pick, "The Ethics of Ambiguity" by Simone de Bouvoir. See the January 10 Meetup.

The February poll results are in, and the winners are: Orson's pick, "On Popper" by Mark Notturno, and Richard's pick, "Encountering Naturalism: A Worldview and Its Uses" by Thomas Clark. Sally and Caroline have agreed to host these two events. Let me know if you'd be willing to host  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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  • Charley H.

    Too bad not everyone could make it, but that was a very interesting book and a most enjoyable evening.

    January 18, 2014

  • Sally A L.

    nice calm discussion

    January 17, 2014

  • Karl K.

    Terry did a great job summarizing (with graphics) both Orson's position, and Hayek's position

    January 17, 2014

  • Orson

    SORRY. As I feared, i'm suffering too much nerve pain and numbness to make it.

    December 27, 2013

    • Russell B.

      Orson, I hope you get better!

      December 27, 2013

    • Sally A L.

      Yes, I'm sorry to hear you are unwell - get better!

      January 16, 2014

  • Orson

    Cameron (I believe) cautions "Whatever you do, don't read the Reader's Digest abridged version of this book. Abridged versions of this key text in political and economic philosophy can be completely misleading."

    This suspicion is quite often, painfully, true. But it does not appear to apply in this case. I've read the Hayek biography by the political philosopher (at UC, Santa Barbara), Alan Ebenstein (2001); consulted the index to "The Road to Serfdom, The Definitive Edition" (2007); and red the Forward, Preface, and Introduction to the "Reader's Digest Condensation of The Road to Serfdom." And scouring all these sources, I cannot find a single author objection to the Reader's Digest Condensation of The Road to Serfdom.

    1 · December 25, 2013

    • Cameron K.

      Orson, we will be meeting January 17. I hope you can join us.

      1 · December 27, 2013

    • Russell B.

      Orson, the meeting is January 17th, not tonight!

      December 27, 2013

  • Tim W

    Sorry to miss this discussion of an important work but I'll be out of town.

    December 26, 2013

  • Orson

    [CONTINUED FROM ABOVE]
    The condensation was done by the literary socialist activist and scholar, Max Eastman, later turned dissenter.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma...­
    And the Condensation also turned the British businessman Anthony Fischer into a prodigious founder of free-market oriented think tanks, like a forerunner of George Soros (sans the wealth).

    While I know the precaution against reading it was well intended, I think the Reader's Digest version is "safe" as a primer or outline of Hayek's arguments.
    http://www.iea.org.uk/sites/def...­

    December 25, 2013

    • Cameron K.

      Contemporary conservative groups love to distribute the Reader's Digest version of Serfdom because it serves their interest. However, it misrepresents Hayek by leaving out key points in the text.

      1 · December 26, 2013

  • Orson

    SORRY to say, but my health problems may prohibit my participation at Karls. Since the holiday interest in attending appears to be low already, I have not removed myself earlier. (Perhaps on Thursday.)

    December 25, 2013

    • Cameron K.

      Orson, we are meeting January 17, not this Friday. Hope you are able to join us.

      1 · December 26, 2013

  • Orson

    Cameron - I am nominating "The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization" - to Chapter 17 (Plato and The High Renaissance) - by Arthur Herman. About 300 pages. (Given this new book's salience to a group about philosophy with TWO meetings each month - surely the remaining modern chapters in 270 pages can be covered another time - right?)

    December 18, 2013

    • Russell B.

      Yes! looks very interesting. I think you want to say "to Chapter 17" in poll and not just "Chapter 17", Cameron.

      December 18, 2013

    • Cameron K.

      Thanks, Russell. I've made the correction.

      December 18, 2013

  • Karl K.

    I would like to offer Douglas Hofstadter's "I am a Strange Loop" as a good next read for our philosophy of mind emphasis. In Nicholas Humphrey's History of the Mind we were introduced to the notion that recursive neural activity can give rise to subjective feeling and consiousness. Hoftstadter makes a case for precisely this in a very accessible book, arguing for the logic of emergence and downward causation in the the dynamic neural activity of the brain.

    1 · December 15, 2013

    • Cameron K.

      Great choice! I've just update our poll. Please update your vote.

      December 15, 2013

  • Dru W.

    Of course, if it becomes over-subscribed it's irrelevant, but this meeting / discussion I find interesting enough to maybe drive down from the Boulder area to attend. As everyone knows, it's been scientifically proven that people from the People's Republic freak-out once beyond the bubble of Boulder, so a decision not to be taken likely -- AND with no ObamaCare therapist yet standing by. The greater question, though is the culture of this group and the potential for offending it. I haven't yet read "The Road to Serfdom" and it's likely I won't with so many competitors preceding it on the ever expanding got-to-read list. But I would love to hear what's in it -- especially as advanced by it worshipers which I presume Russel or Orson to be. I often engage with Austrians (I'm an admirer of Menger), Libertarians and Tea Partians on the question of optimizing with political process the efficient appropriate distribution of quality of life and Hayek is always hanging around.

    December 14, 2013

    • Cameron K.

      Dru, if you're interested and you're willing to read the book in its entirety, you should sign up. As with the other books we've read on political philosophy, we'll all have to do our best to stay on topic and talk about the book, not current events or our own personal political philosophy.

      December 14, 2013

    • Dru W.

      Bummer. No time to read it right now, but maybe with luck I'll others who have in other groups where similar subject matter is discussed. Thanks.

      December 14, 2013

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