Book Notes 8/10/2014

I received Roger Scruton’s ‘Modern Philosophy: An Introduction and Survey’ the about a week ago, and it’s a great book so far. A bit dense and not really too interested in the ‘introduction’ aspect – he jumps into topics more or less assuming the reader has a decent knowledge of things like symbolic logic, which he whips out with no warning. But in terms of content, it’s great – he goes by topic (Perception, Epistemology, the Soul, Freedom, Causality, Naming and Necessity, Time, etc) with a masterful knowledge and handling of the primary sources and an overall very readable style. The ‘modern’ refers more to the period between Descartes and Wittgenstein (there are tangential discussions of more modern thinkers like Rorty, Sartre, as well as analytic philosophy), so don’t expect too much ‘cutting edge’ philosophy.

I also received ‘A Companion to the Philosophy of Mine’, which has been a fantastic guide to modern philosophy of mind. So far the standout articles have been on functionalism, subjectivism and intentionality, and I highly recommend it as a reference.

The last of the three books I ordered last week was Jaroslav Pelikan’s ‘Christianity and Classical Culture’, which is an examination of the meeting of Christian and Hellenistic cultures, specifically focusing on the Cappodicians and their use/reformulation of classical philosophical ideas in the articulation of a dogmatic as well as a natural theology. Very good, very dense, and very dry – but the discussions of apophatic theology alone is worth the money.

I also started reading Phillip Roth’s ‘Letting Go’. I hardly ever read fiction, and I can firmly say that this is the first American post-war novel I’ve started reading, and it’s pretty good so far.

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