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Calusari
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 9:16 am 
 

antidecent wrote:
I respect and admire both philosophers. However, I when I first read about Hume's idea of Emotivism (reason as the slave of passion) I felt really enlightened; because when you think about it we can never escape from our emotions - and ultimately it controls our reasoning (but this does not follow that we should entirely disregard empirical facts). In contrast, Kant's philosophy forces us to curb and even exclude personal desires from influencing any decision-making acts. As admirable and virtuous his ideas are ( for example, to treat other people as goals instead of means) I think Kant's ethics is too strict, even self-destructive at certain levels, to be used as a maxim. I think we should apply Plato's (or Socrates') Golden Means to find the balance between reason and passion because both of them are obviously important. As a matter of fact, I think it is also necessary to have some Utilitarian-even epicurean-aspects in our way of thinking. Moderation is the key.
:metal: :) :metal:


Yup, that basically sums it up.

Ancient_Sorrow wrote:
I quite like virtue ethics in their simplest form - It's not just what you do, It's how your are. It seems quite an open ended system, in which you work with role-models and the like.

Despite getting lectures in a building called the David Hume tower, I haven't actually read any of Hume's stuff - where's a good place to begin?


I do quite like virtue ethics as well, especially the version promulgated by John McDowell (one of my favourite living philosophers), which is all about what he calls (drawing on Aristotle) practical wisdom and the non-codifiability of ethics. That is, he - and other virtue ethicists - often say that you can't reduce ethics or morality into a static, definite system of rules that apply to every single situation; rather, moral virtue is a skill or a disposition that you learn or acquire (training through experience is often cited as important by these thinkers) - it's a particular way of looking at things that lets you pick out the salient aspects of a specific situation and act accordingly, and eventually you become so adept that you can handle decisions you've never encountered in a particular way before. One thing I dislike about this approach is that it often claims people who've attained a virtuous level of practical wisdom can see the important elements of an ethical circumstance so clearly, and know what to do so definitely, that they can't experience moral turmoil or torment, and cannot feel genuine doubt about the right course of action. To me, that falls into the same trap as Kant does - it abstracts too greatly from psychological and emotional aspects of human experience. Still, I really think virtue ethics supplies something that can be missing in ethics otherwise, by, as Ancient Sorrow says, looking at virtue as a way of being rather than a set of rules.

Re good Hume texts to get into, I'd recommend A Treatise of Human Nature, which contains most of his major ideas in some form, including the whole 'reasons the slave of passions' view. If you want to read further, you might want to check out his two Enquiries, in which he expands on (with a few changes) various parts of the Treatise; the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding focuses more on topics like the nature of the mind, science and philosophy, while the Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals deals with his views on ethics and moral decision-making.

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megalowho
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 4:50 pm 
 

Cool to see some ethics enthusiasts in this thread.

I don't know what ethics text I'm going to read next. There are a few classics I haven't gotten around to, like Aristotle. And I made it about halfway through C.L. Stevenson's Ethics and Language a few months back, but ended up getting sidetracked - this book is a classic statement of emotivism from the early 20th century, but unfortunately the only copy I could find was in less-than-pristine condition. And along similar lines, I was planning to start Allan Gibbard's Wise Choices, Apt Feelings as soon as I'd finished Stevenson, but like I said, sidetracked.

I suppose my next few projects in ethics will be (1) Kant's second critique and Metaphysics of Morals, (2) Henry Sidgwick's Methods of Ethics, and (3) Derek Parfit's Reasons and Persons and On What Matters. I say that, but it'll probably be at least a year before I get all these done.

Sidgwick's supposed to be a severely underrated classical utilitarian, whose Methods, in Peter Singer's opinion, is the best book on ethics ever written. (John Rawls also called Sidgwick the most profound of the original utilitarians.) Singer also endorsed Parfit's On What Matters, which came out quite recently, as the most important work in ethics since Methods.

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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 8:15 pm 
 

I've never read any books specifically on ethics. I've read about a lot of philosophers' stances on ethics, and experienced a lot of personal ethical dilemmas/situations.

It doesn't seem that complicated to me, that I'd feel the need to study it hardcore. Throw virtue, deontological and consequential stuff into a mixing pot, add wisdom, add personal preference, stir? Maybe I'm ignorant. I like that Hume says ethics are derived from psychological/biological origins, basically. That's what I've been told anyway. Seems like a logical precursor to evolutionary biology and whatnot. I believe the universe transcends ethics but they're important/perhaps necessary for human social existence. My own morality is derived from my monistic ontology. Take care of the self first, then try to be compassionate and understanding toward the rest of the "self."
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antidecent
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 11:15 pm 
 

Ancient_Sorrow wrote:
Despite getting lectures in a building called the David Hume tower, I haven't actually read any of Hume's stuff - where's a good place to begin?

If you're interested in Hume's works then I suggest you start with "Treatise of Human Nature" because this is basically his most famous work (I think). Then if you're interested in ethics you should continue with "An Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals".
"Four Dissertations" is also good if you want to read his essays.

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antidecent
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 11:31 pm 
 

Nahsil wrote:
It doesn't seem that complicated to me, that I'd feel the need to study it hardcore. Throw virtue, deontological and consequential stuff into a mixing pot, add wisdom, add personal preference, stir? Maybe I'm ignorant. I like that Hume says ethics are derived from psychological/biological origins, basically. That's what I've been told anyway. Seems like a logical precursor to evolutionary biology and whatnot. I believe the universe transcends ethics but they're important/perhaps necessary for human social existence. My own morality is derived from my monistic ontology. Take care of the self first, then try to be compassionate and understanding toward the rest of the "self."


I agree that we don't need to study it so hard, because extremism is never good. You're right, we created ethics; it's beyond the natural realm.I think ethic is something that makes us us. it's a big aspect of the essence of our existence.

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MazeofTorment
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 12:29 am 
 

Just gave a very thorough reading of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and did a report on it for my philosophy class. I busted ass and got the only A+ in the class apparently, which is awesome, but as far as my thoughts on Kant go, I think I like him a lot more than I did before. It was by far my most in depth exploration of his thought and while I still side with Nietzsche's criticism of him (particularly of the Noumenal realm, God, his Christian spin on things, etc), I do find his synthesizing of Continental Rationalism and British Empiricism to be pretty damn intriguing. I understand what made him so influential now and really enjoyed the reading of it. He loses me when he brings back the Platonic two world view and with his ethics, but his Epistemological project is pretty sweet.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 3:27 am 
 

Congrats/nicely done. I've heard Critique is a behemoth.
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megalowho
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 4:56 am 
 

Funny coincidence. I'm making Kant's first Critique into my summer project. I have about 1,000 pages of commentary to go with it as well. Without reading anything else, I expect it'll take two or three months. If I finish it and finish it well, I'll definitely consider it one of my most significant accomplishments. Congrats indeed!

Re. ethics: In one sense, you guys are generally quite right that it's unnecessary to study it very deeply. Studying ethics can - and I think should - result in major tangible changes, but those are fairly few in number, and one needn't be a scholar in this respect. A proper reading of Singer, for instance, makes it impossible to consume animal products and indulge in material luxury without feeling some sense of guilt. I get the impression that, for the most part, a cursory glance at the field of applied ethics merely reveals and/or clarifies a handful of somewhat unobvious ways in which one can conduct one's life in a more morally respectable manner, whether on an everyday basis or with respect to important but infrequent, e.g. medical, dilemmas; and this doesn't require extensive research. An exception might be for professional applied ethicists, e.g. those who advise on decisions in health care, law, and business.

But otherwise, there's the task of understanding (not to say solving) the more theoretical issues, and it's easy to see that this task involves a great deal more. If this were as easy as saying "Of course there are moral truths, e.g. that one should be kind, just, and virtuous," or "No, there aren't moral truths, but there are of course other reasons to be kind, just, and virtuous," then there wouldn't have been anything to add to the writings of the ancients!

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Calusari
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 7:54 am 
 

MazeofTorment wrote:
Just gave a very thorough reading of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and did a report on it for my philosophy class. I busted ass and got the only A+ in the class apparently, which is awesome, but as far as my thoughts on Kant go, I think I like him a lot more than I did before. It was by far my most in depth exploration of his thought and while I still side with Nietzsche's criticism of him (particularly of the Noumenal realm, God, his Christian spin on things, etc), I do find his synthesizing of Continental Rationalism and British Empiricism to be pretty damn intriguing. I understand what made him so influential now and really enjoyed the reading of it. He loses me when he brings back the Platonic two world view and with his ethics, but his Epistemological project is pretty sweet.


Well done! Funnily enough, that scenario is quite similar to my introduction to Kant, years ago now. I took a very, very intense subject that focused purely on the Critique of Pure Reason, taking it section by section over 3 months; I had only read a few superficial summaries of Kant's works prior to this, but the experience of that in-depth reading really changed and shaped the way I approach philosophy. I busted my behind for that subject as well, and was, fortunately, rewarded for my efforts; it was quite early in my first degree, and it was one of my first experiences of really having to work very hard to come to terms with the complexity of what I was facing. Like you, it was the encounter with his epistemology as set out in the first Critique that made me realise why he is viewed with such awe, and made me want to do my utmost to understand as much as I could; even if you find yourself disagreeing with him in the end, you feel like you've been enriched through that process of engaging with his thought. I don't know if you'll come to have the same view, but I've found that Kant's ideas are almost like a virus that, once in your mind, changes its structure subtly, so that every philosopher you read after him is - at least in a small way - compared to, and interpreted through, Kant's framework.

megalowho wrote:
Re. ethics: In one sense, you guys are generally quite right that it's unnecessary to study it very deeply. Studying ethics can - and I think should - result in major tangible changes, but those are fairly few in number, and one needn't be a scholar in this respect. ...But otherwise, there's the task of understanding (not to say solving) the more theoretical issues, and it's easy to see that this task involves a great deal more. If this were as easy as saying "Of course there are moral truths, e.g. that one should be kind, just, and virtuous," or "No, there aren't moral truths, but there are of course other reasons to be kind, just, and virtuous," then there wouldn't have been anything to add to the writings of the ancients!


I agree. There is a sense in which - contrary to writers like Kant, actually, while on that topic - the study of ethics is of course not necessary to qualify one to navigate ethical situations and decisions. In my view, theories that refuse to adequately address the question of what human ethical experience is like 'from the inside', as it were, are radically flawed. However, theoretical questions about the nature of our moral concepts and the way we relate them to the rest of our world are, for me at least, endlessly illuminating and important; even if they don't have much of an effect on the 'real' world - the world outside of academia, for instance (as an inhabitant of that 'unreal' world, I'm not using the description pejoratively) - the issues they address are nonetheless profound and capable of affecting everyone at some stage.

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MazeofTorment
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 7:03 pm 
 

Thanks for the congrats guys, much appreciated. Calusari, yeah, there's a class coming up next semester just like that that focuses on the Critique for the entire semester. Along with the fact that megalowho is also spending an entire summer on it and doing 1,000 pages of commentary ( :o ) just goes to show what a behemoth it really is. A very difficult, dense read, but one that's very rewarding. I'm not sure what I'll read next philosophy wise but I'm thinking Aristotle. Much like Kant before, I've certainly read him, but not on a very deep level. I'd like to change that.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 7:07 pm 
 

I want to get into 20th century people like some of the post-modern and post-structuralist guys. French philosophy and existentialism in general is pretty cool.
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antidecent
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 11:45 pm 
 

like Jean Paul Sarte? his ideas are pretty cool.

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DeathRiderDoom
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 4:28 am 
 

Currently reading Joseph Heller's Catch 22. Most amazing book i've read, period.
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RedMisanthrope
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 9:41 am 
 

Done with finals, so I'm going to wrap up reading "The Hobbit" today. A fun adventure book, through and through. Next up is "The Lord of Light" by Roger Zelazny. I've heard heaps of praise for this sci-fi/fantasy book. It's a Buddhist/Hindu spin on the story of the fall of Lucifer. Can't wait to start it.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 10:04 am 
 

DeathRiderDoom wrote:
Currently reading Joseph Heller's Catch 22. Most amazing book i've read, period.

I read that last year. I wouldn't call it the most amazing book I've read, but it was certainly good. The characterization especially was hysterical, apple-cheeked Orr being the best in my opinion. The colonel was pretty hilarious too, what with his obsessing over black eyes and feathers in his cap that no one else even noticed haha.
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CorpseFister
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 2:01 pm 
 

Catch-22 is fantastic. I don't think I've laughed out loud while reading a book more than that. I love the bit with Scheisskopf and his parade obsession. Major Major Major Major also cracked me up pretty good.

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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 2:07 pm 
 

I'm almost done with Name of the Rose finally. It's a good book, with some really provocative ideas about faith and the human experience in the 1300s or so - especially viewed in hindsight from our generation, this is a fascinating book. It is pretty dry at times though, and I wish he'd cut out some of the long sections of priests talking or of the various stories that people tell the main character. But even that isn't TOO bad for the most part.

Next up...
Neil Gaiman - American Gods (heard so much about this one, about time I'm finally going to read it)
AJ Jacobs - The Guinea Pig Diaries

And some more after that.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 3:40 pm 
 

I read the first hundred or two pages of Name of the Rose. Well-written, thought-provoking, for sure. He does go on tangents, but they're usually interesting and I almost feel like he's "allowed" tangents because of his vast array of knowledge and skill as a thinker and writer.

I'm more interested in picking up Foucault's Pendulum than finishing NotR though.

American Gods didn't do much for me, but some people like it. I preferred Neverwhere, of the two Gaiman books I've read. Still need to read Stardust and Anansi Boys.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 4:31 pm 
 

Umberto Eco can be a chore to get through sometimes, yeah. I read Foucault's Pendulum, and took a break in the middle to read some lighter fare, then returned and finished it off. I intended to do the same with The Name of the Rose, but...forgot to go back to it. Now I'm in the irritating position of not remembering enough to pick it up where I left off, but remembering too much to start all over again. I'll just have to wait until I forget it more completely.
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Morrigan
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 4:37 pm 
 

Fuck American Gods. Most overrated novel since Ender's Game. :nono:
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 4:47 pm 
 

it was definitely a letdown for me. I finished it and was like "that's it?"

Ender's Game rocks, though. Maybe not as good as Speaker for the Dead, overall, but cmon!
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Turner
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:43 am 
 

DeathRiderDoom wrote:
Currently reading Joseph Heller's Catch 22. Most amazing book i've read, period.


I know I'm going to be fairly alone in this view, but I thought it was one of the more mindless things I've ever read.
It's just a giant collection of non-sequiturs and those same cheap, easy shots at military organisation "no war for oil"-types take. there were a few times that I thought "heh, clever" but by about halfway into it I was almost in a rage. I have no idea why it's so popular. It's basically retarded humour on the level of Terry Pratchett.

Currently reading The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K Dick for leisure, and Die Prärie am Jacinto by Charles Sealsfield for uni.

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andersbang
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 4:56 am 
 

Yeah, I tried my hand at Catch-22 a couple years back, but put it down after like 50-75 pages. The characters just seemed like caricatures. Urgh.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 2:34 pm 
 

I enjoyed Man in the High Castle, but I'm not sure I totally understood it.
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Turner
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 2:49 pm 
 

I don't think I've reached any climactic/hard-to-understand parts just yet - it's still building, I think.
Sci-fi based in "contemporary" settings usually involves some kind of holy-shit twist, so hopefully it's a good one.

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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 3:22 pm 
 

You should let me/us know what you think once you've finished.

Very small one:

Spoiler: show
It's just a really subtle book, I think. The theme wasn't made really apparent to me. Could be that I was too young or distracted when I read it, though.
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CorpseFister
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 3:54 pm 
 

It’s been quite a few years since I read Man in the High Castle but I don’t remember it leaving a really huge impression on me, unlike say Ubik or A Scanner Darkly.

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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 4:55 pm 
 

Turner wrote:
It's basically retarded humour on the level of Terry Pratchett.

andersbang wrote:
Yeah, I tried my hand at Catch-22 a couple years back, but put it down after like 50-75 pages. The characters just seemed like caricatures. Urgh.

Yeah, it had so many pages. It almost seemed like it was supposed to be novel, ugh!
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Aeonblade
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 2:45 am 
 

Neither of them said anything about it being too long.

Anyway, finished the new Dark Tower the other day. Fans of the series will enjoy it, especially people who liked Wizard and Glass. I'm glad it was as short as it is as I don't find teenage Roland especially interesting; but this one was pretty fast paced, unlike some of the books in the series.

A friend has been telling me to read the Night's Dawn Trilogy. I have the first book, but never gotten around to it. might pick it up now. Anyone else read it?

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andersbang
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 10:44 am 
 

failsafeman wrote:
Turner wrote:
It's basically retarded humour on the level of Terry Pratchett.

andersbang wrote:
Yeah, I tried my hand at Catch-22 a couple years back, but put it down after like 50-75 pages. The characters just seemed like caricatures. Urgh.

Yeah, it had so many pages. It almost seemed like it was supposed to be novel, ugh!


Wow, is that satire? So cool man. Because we all know all novels are just super.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 12:18 pm 
 

Aeonblade wrote:
Neither of them said anything about it being too long.

No shit, that's not what I was implying. "The characters just seemed like caricatures" was so resoundingly stupid (they ARE caricatures, genius, they're supposed to be) that I had to mock him. Also saying something is humor on the level of Terry Pratchett is pretty high praise.
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Under_Starmere
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 10:15 pm 
 

The Name of the Rose is great. Loved that book. I really enjoyed the tangents it explored, which always seemed to enrich the experience with this kind of encyclopedic scope of discourse, yet always kept within the context of the story. It felt a lot like Dante's work in that way, all these sorts of marginal points that made the book much more about the world itself rather than simply about the characters and their little human drama.

American Gods and Neverwhere both kinda sucked... I can't ever get behind the way Neil Gaiman goes about things. He's got some cool ideas sometimes, but his presentation usually has this annoying 'young adult fiction' sort of feeling to it that kills things for me.

As for Dick, the only book of his I tried picking up was A Maze of Death, but I almost immediately put it down. Much like Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness. Couldn't tell if I just wasn't in the proper headspace for it or if it just wasn't that good, but something wasn't working. I'd like to try to explore his stuff, though. Also need to read more William Gibson. Neuromancer is still the only book of his I've read, but it was thoroughly fucking cool.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 11:29 pm 
 

I like American Gods so far. Only about 70 pages in but it's cool. Just a light hearted, pulpy sort of gritty fantasy so far, which is up my alley. I like it in the same way I like Big Trouble in Little China.
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CorpseFister
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Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:07 pm
Posts: 1922
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 5:02 am 
 

Under_Starmere wrote:
Also need to read more William Gibson. Neuromancer is still the only book of his I've read, but it was thoroughly fucking cool.


Just finished that a few days ago. I enjoyed it quite a bit, the world Gibson created and concepts were really interesting. There were a few things I wasn't crazy about and it didn't blow me away as much as I thought it would based on it's reputation, but I am curious to read more of his stuff.

If you feel like giving PKD another shot Do Andriods Dreams of Electric Sheep? is a pretty good introduction to his strengths and style.

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Ilwhyan
Metel fraek

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 6483
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 5:13 am 
 

I've been reading Paul Kennedy's The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. Definitely recommended to all interested in observing the changes in power balances of great powers. The book encompasses everything from the very rise of the European world in the 16th century to the beginnings of American decline. Basic knowledge of history is required to fully enjoy the book - for example when reviewing the American civil war, Kennedy doesn't go into the reasons or events of the war itself. That information would've turned the book from a relatively long, 500-paged one into a veritable giant of a book. Being familiar with the background of each historical event is not crucial to understanding the book at all, but unless you do, it's unlikely this book is much of interest to you in the first place. It's a fairly insightful piece of work, and Kennedy's style is pleasantly lucid, accurate and factual.
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Calusari
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Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:36 am
Posts: 708
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 7:07 am 
 

CorpseFister wrote:
Under_Starmere wrote:
Also need to read more William Gibson. Neuromancer is still the only book of his I've read, but it was thoroughly fucking cool.


Just finished that a few days ago. I enjoyed it quite a bit, the world Gibson created and concepts were really interesting. There were a few things I wasn't crazy about and it didn't blow me away as much as I thought it would based on it's reputation, but I am curious to read more of his stuff.

If you feel like giving PKD another shot Do Andriods Dreams of Electric Sheep? is a pretty good introduction to his strengths and style.


I'm a big fan of Gibson's work; I must say my opinion about a lot of his work was summed up rather well by a recent review of his newly-released collection of essays (which I'll definitely check out), as the reviewer noted that, even if contemporary technology (especially the internet) does not really resemble what Gibson imagined, few other writers have captured the 'texture' of (post)modern urban life as well as he has. The novel that introduced me to his work was actually Idoru, the second in his so-called 'Bridge Trilogy', and I'm still rather fond of it. Set in a (what else?) dystopian, ultra-tech future, the trilogy explores the intertwined lives and surreal adventures of a group of hackers, musicians, junkies, cybernetically modified mercenaries and other lost souls whose paths intersect at the Bridge, a massive neon outlaw colony clinging to the now abandoned Oakland Bay Bridge in SF. Though I'd recommend any of the trilogy's episodes, which don't have to be read in order, Idoru is, in my view, the most interesting - it features more of his breathtaking descriptions of virtual life, and expands his characteristic meditations on the perils and nature of AI/virtual life-forms to consider a scenario in which virtual personas begin to take part in mainstream society. Its catalyst is a rock-star's desire to marry Japan's most popular Idoru (virtual persona, here also a musician), with the subsequent action split between a hacker (one of the trilogy's main figures) hired by the aforementioned star's band to investigate, and the attempts of one of the star's most obsessed fans to insert herself into his crazy world and stop the wedding; from there, we head off into a typically Gibsonite crazy, bleak cyperpunk maze of moral ambiguity and glorious neon desolation.

And, re PKD (one of my all-time favourite authors) - has anyone else read or heard of Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said? I've rarely seen it referred to in accounts of his work. It's less futuristic and more grimly surreal than some of his other work, closer to A Scanner Darkly than anything else. I've never met anyone else who'd come across it, which saddens me somewhat, as it really deserves a wider audience; aside from, say, J.R. Isidore in Do Androids... and the guys in Scanner, I've rarely felt so emotionally invested in Dick's characters.

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Turner
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Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2002 2:04 am
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Location: Germany
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 10:04 am 
 

failsafeman wrote:
Also saying something is humor on the level of Terry Pratchett is pretty high praise


no, it's really not. Pratchett (and Adams, while i'm here) writes nothing but pathetic, cheap humour that uses one simple formula repeated ad nauseum for FORTY novels. I get it, it's an allusion to the real world and the people are all amazingly stupid. It's not clever. It's just dime-a-dozen nerd fodder for first-year science students. next up, "harry pothead and the philosophers stoned" LOLOL

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Calusari
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Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:36 am
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 10:10 am 
 

Words fail me. They really do. Maybe it's something about the translation? The Adams I've come across in German was pretty average, rather worse than the English. I don't want to say something juvenile like "I cannot understand how anyone can't love these books", because I appreciate the vast diversity of possible views - especially about humour - but still... I'm amazed.

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failsafeman
Digital Dictator

Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:45 am
Posts: 9634
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 10:18 am 
 

Turner wrote:
failsafeman wrote:
Also saying something is humor on the level of Terry Pratchett is pretty high praise

no, it's really not. Pratchett (and Adams, while i'm here) writes nothing but pathetic, cheap humour that uses one simple formula repeated ad nauseum for FORTY novels. I get it, it's an allusion to the real world and the people are all amazingly stupid.

Congratulations, you understand how the genre of satire works. Would you like a gold star? Next you're going to complain about mystery novels all involving detectives who solve crimes. :lol:

Calusari wrote:
Words fail me. They really do. Maybe it's something about the translation? The Adams I've come across in German was pretty average, rather worse than the English. I don't want to say something juvenile like "I cannot understand how anyone can't love these books", because I appreciate the vast diversity of possible views - especially about humour - but still... I'm amazed.

Nope, he's one of your countrymen, actually.
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Calusari
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Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:36 am
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 11:09 am 
 

Yeah, that's what I meant - the only way I could understand his view here is if he'd read really awful translations of the books.

Of course, it's not mandatory to like Adams and Pratchett... but honestly, Turner, I'd always considered Pratchett's humour to be engaging and sophisticated, and hardly based upon people being 'amazingly stupid'. On the contrary, it often derives from the brilliant observation and description of human foibles, and a wonderful insight into character - for me, it's that mixture of utterly familiar traits and occasionally child-like wonder at the sheer weirdness of the imagination that draws me to his works. It takes all sorts, of course, so each to his own, but... hmmm. It's interesting how differently people can evaluate one and the same characteristic.

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