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Books and Rating

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Author Topic: Books and Rating  (Read 390 times)
guest54
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« on: February 01, 2012, 11:50:07 am »

Spare a moment if you will to tell us in this thread something about a book you might be reading, how you rate it, and why.

-oOo-

I have been getting into the three hundred and forty-four pages of "An Outline of the Idealistic Construction of Experience" (1906), the work of Professor Sir James Baillie of Aberdeen (1872 to 1940), a Scotchman of the most elevated sort. It merits eight out of ten for concernment, ten for seriousness, and eight for originality. Well worth reading - here is a link - and highly recommended. My own copy is a physical one I found in a second-hand "shop" a decade ago.

A taste of Professor Baillie:

"Even a confessed and acknowledged ignorance about the unity of experience as a whole, soon leads to doubt of our knowledge in any form whatever; and doubt is a preparatory stage for silent or open distrust. We can see this in the present attitude in regard to science assumed by many of its exponents. 'Reality' as a whole, they say, they know nothing about, and cannot even name. What then is the view taken of science? It consists of mere 'descriptive formulŠ,' a 'conceptual shorthand,' which we contrive and use to get along in dealing with this reality. But it seems evident that a description of what is admitted to be incognisable, or at least unknown, is absolutely cut off from having any import except for the mind describing. If the reality exercises a check on the character of the description, it seems illogical to say it is not known, for the coherence of knowledge just consists in being so controlled; and that control must come from the object described, because the object is so constituted and not otherwise. If it does not come from the reality, one description is as good as another, and the very progress of knowledge becomes purposeless. When this objection is put aside by pointing to the fact that we can prophesy and anticipate by means of our descriptions what reality will do, the extremity of the dualism seems given up altogether. For to speak of calculating an unknown is to use terms without a meaning. A 'shorthand' is surely indecipherable if we are not in touch with the meaning of the language we have taken down in symbol. If it be said that the descriptions are truer, because for us they are simply 'better' descriptions, better fulfil our needs, then this leaves altogether unanswered, positively or negatively, the question whether these needs may not just be a fuller appreciation of reality. In short, this restriction imposed on science is due to a prior restriction placed upon knowledge as a whole, a sceptical attitude regarding philosophical knowledge. It is typical of every such attempt. It either compels us to accept two heterogeneous kinds of knowledge, a descriptive and a non-descriptive, which have no continuity of purpose with each other, and yet profess to deal with the same reality; or else to make knowledge purely of presentational 'phenomena' hold, and to leave 'reality' out of account altogether."

That puts the hordes of Northern American "mathematical physicists" in their squalid place does it not?
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t-p
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2012, 01:01:48 pm »

This is very good quote Mr Sydney Grew.

People in Academia are full of themselves. It is another side of our human ego.
Theory change and our concepts change.
The ultimate truth is that there are no better or best.
Maybe I can say that science or music are just ladder that ambitious people climb.

If we wait long enough one concept falls and another comes.

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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2012, 02:17:09 pm »

This is very good quote Mr Sydney Grew.

People in Academia are full of themselves. It is another side of our human ego.
Theory change and our concepts change.
The ultimate truth is that there are no better or best.
Maybe I can say that science or music are just ladder that ambitious people climb.

Rather in the same way that you can only get access to JStor articles if you are a full-time academic at a qualifying institution.

The idea that you might - great scott! - be a practitioner, enthusiast, or other interested party and not locked up in an ivory tower is so preposterous to these people that they can't fathom it.  What would happen to knowledge and ideas, for heavens sake, if just anyone could get hold of them?
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guest54
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2012, 12:17:54 am »

. . .

People in Academia are full of themselves. It is another side of our human ego.
Theory change and our concepts change.
The ultimate truth is that there are no better or best.
Maybe I can say that science or music are just ladder that ambitious people climb.

If we wait long enough one concept falls and another comes.

Wise words Madame P!

Do you have any favourite books you would like to recommend or talk about?

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guest54
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2012, 12:27:54 am »

. . . Rather in the same way that you can only get access to JStor articles if you are a full-time academic at a qualifying institution.

The idea that you might - great scott! - be a practitioner, enthusiast, or other interested party and not locked up in an ivory tower is so preposterous to these people that they can't fathom it.  What would happen to knowledge and ideas, for heavens sake, if just anyone could get hold of them?

My thoughts exactly. That JStor is in fact rather a sinister institution. And something similar seems to be happening in the case of the Google Books - 1) digitize - very badly - all the world's literature; 2) make it accessible only to people in the money-system; 3) discard the originals; 4) lose the lot within twenty years. And has not the British Library newspaper department done the same? Books are too valuable to be entrusted to the libraries of the present day.
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guest54
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« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2012, 03:38:26 pm »

I have just sent off for (among other things)

    a) Mr. Lebrecht's "Why Mahler?"

    b) Herr Henze's "Bohemian Fifths"

and

    c) Mr. Mitchell's "Letters from a Life volume 1" (about Britten's early life).

Which book do members think is likely in the reading to afford the intensest pleasure?
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2012, 10:00:33 am »


Which book do members think is likely in the reading to afford the intensest pleasure?


I somehow doubt it will be (a).
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