Nominate books to be a philosophy book of the month

We choose one philosophical book per month to read. Then we discuss it as a group.

Nominate books to be philosophy book of the month.


UPCOMING BOOK

June 2017: The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus


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PhilosophyGeek
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Re: Nominate books to be a philosophy book of the month

Post by PhilosophyGeek » July 15th, 2014, 9:29 pm

I recently came across this short story on Amazon: Not Guilty... By Reason of Determinism

Not only is it hilarious, but a completely new way of introducing key topics, which is likely to engage readers from a much more diverse pool than usual.

I therefore believe it is a prime candidate for discussion.

Platos stepchild
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Re: Nominate books to be a philosophy book of the month

Post by Platos stepchild » August 6th, 2014, 10:49 pm

The book which I'd like to nominate is entitled Deciphering the Cosmic Number: the Strange Friendship of Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung (2009). Although it's author, Arthur I. Miller has a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts institute of technology, the book, itself isn't so much a scientific treatise, as it is an enquiry into a certain esoteric, animal known as the fine-structure-constant (approximately equal to 1/37). Unlike most other "physical constants", however this particular number is dimensionless. This makes it, in a very real sense fundamental to the fabric-of-reality (Being "dimensionless", "the constant" doesn't rely on measurements; rather, it's derived "conceptually, In other words, the universe wouldn't be the same without it).

The fine-structure-constant is also inextricably linked to the halcyon days of quantum mechanics. At the time, it was tacitly assumed that "quantum reality" is a homeomorphism of our "Newtonian world", an assumption which Pauli eventually helped to repudiate. The question which made the fine-structure-constant pertinent was how many coordinates are needed to uniquely locate an electron, in it's atomic orbit. The obvious answer was "3": three Cartesian coordinates should've sufficed, just as they do when specifying the locations of macroscopic objects. And, although a fourth coordinate did keep impinging on the debate, the impossibility of visualizing what that meant precluded it's easy acceptance.

Among other anecdotes, Miller refers back to a running feud between Johannes Kepler, and one Robert Mudd. The question, at that time was basically which numbers should bear the "divine imprimatur". Even at the dawn of the Enlightenment, certain "numbers" still retained a kind of Pythagorion panache: was the number "3" the archetype of God's aesthetics; or, was it "4"? Pauli studied the relevant correspondence between the two men, trying to glean some insights into his own numerical debacle. Although Initially, Pauli sided with Kepler, he nevertheless found himself beguiled by the arguments of the less scientifically-inclined Fludd. As he felt his own sanity slipping away, in despair, Pauli sought out Carl Jung as his therapist. Pauli was simply going mad, trying to understand why quantum space was so bizarre.

A good deal of the book is devoted to the various machinations, which a heretofore, dogmatic empiricist resorted to, in order to make his intuitive leap explaining just how weird quantum reality actually is. I see the book, Deciphering the Cosmic Code as an empiricist manual which nevertheless acknowledges the inexplicable roots of the presumably explicable. Although the "intuitive leaps" which scientists make cannot be reduced to an algorithm, they do draw on a rich history of esoteric literature, and art. Jung opened Pauli's eyes to that "history", thereby enriching a new field of scientific study. For anyone who scoffs at opening the door, of science to such spookery, the book'll no doubt seem provocative. On the other hand, it's not a license to raid the i-ching for inspiration, either. A balanced, and thoughtful reading of Miller's book should afford a newfound appreciation for the role which "gifted hunches" play in making scientific advances possible. That's why I'm recommending it.

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Re: Nominate books to be a philosophy book of the month

Post by Thought_2000 » August 11th, 2014, 8:49 pm

I would like to nominate Essays on Order, Books 1 - 4 by author Chuck Pyburn. A mind bending collection of topics on the thought process of the human condition. The minds on-going struggle between questions and answers is interesting.

If all that post on this board had no more questions but only answers, would this board have any purpose?

Hosshere
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Re: Nominate books to be a philosophy book of the month

Post by Hosshere » August 16th, 2014, 11:31 pm

I say we nominate Thomas Nagel's "Mortal Questions" (Cambridge U. Press, ISBN softcover0 52129460 6). Only 213 pages, but makes you really think. These questions the book raises includes meaning, nature and value of human life.

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Re: Nominate books to be a philosophy book of the month

Post by ShrimpMaster » August 22nd, 2014, 1:39 pm


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Atreyu
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Re: Nominate books to be a philosophy book of the month

Post by Atreyu » August 28th, 2014, 1:21 am

I would like to nominate "Tertium Organum" by P.D. Ouspensky.

I'm convinced this is one of the best and most underrated books on philosophy in the 20th century.

Prove me wrong...

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Re: Nominate books to be a philosophy book of the month

Post by Quotidian » August 28th, 2014, 6:46 am

Well, of the top two, the first is theology, the second gnosticism. I think Hosshere's choice, Thomas Nagel's "Mortal Questions", is better for this forum, being a title that would actually be taught in philosophy classes. (But the book on Pauli and Jung looks fascinating!)
'For there are many here among us who think that life is but a joke' ~ Dylan

Hosshere
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Re: Nominate books to be a philosophy book of the month

Post by Hosshere » August 28th, 2014, 8:46 am

Thought_2000 brings up a good point,the questions matter just as much as the answers. Oftentimes there are no real answers, only different opinions....

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Re: Nominate books to be a philosophy book of the month

Post by ShrimpMaster » September 3rd, 2014, 12:30 pm

I understand this isn't a theist-friendly forum. Why not give the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology a chance and rebuff your anti-theism? If you wish to serve your intellectual prowess it would be a good chance to prime yourself against those terrible theists.

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Baumgartenman
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Re: Nominate books to be a philosophy book of the month

Post by Baumgartenman » September 3rd, 2014, 2:31 pm

I nominate John Dewey's Art as experience 1934. In this book he argues that aesthetic experience is continuous with all forms of experience. Aesthetic expereince is the bedrock upon which all meaningful experiences emanate. A truly great book. Baumgartenman

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Re: Nominate books to be a philosophy book of the month

Post by AHD88 » September 13th, 2014, 5:55 pm

Saul Kripke, Naming and Necessity

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Misty
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Re: Nominate books to be a philosophy book of the month

Post by Misty » October 29th, 2014, 5:36 am

The Sixth Extinction, An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert

Can be viewed on amazon, also reviews to read.
Things are not always as they appear; it's a matter of perception.

The eyes can only see what the mind has, is, or will be prepared to comprehend.

I am Lion, hear me ROAR! Meow.

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Re: Nominate books to be a philosophy book of the month

Post by Manu » November 1st, 2014, 1:26 am

The book of the Year should be
'A Journey into the Microcosmos'
'Evolution at its best'
By T.Adi.Ray
It is beyond anything we have ever known.
A philosophy that will change the world.
A must must read for every human interested in philosophy and truth.
It says - 'The Creation awaits each to take this Journey in time,
Your Time is NOW'.

I believe the same after I read it.
The script has multi levels and each read is giving me new knowledge and new experiences.
I want all to experience what I experience today.
'Phenomenal'

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Re: Nominate books to be a philosophy book of the month

Post by Belinda » January 14th, 2015, 6:23 pm

I nominate "The No-Nonsense Guide to Islam" by Ziauddin Sarwar and Merryl Wyn Davies. 130 pages .

Foreword by Dr.Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, Director, The Muslim Institute, London.

with glossary,

Timeline,

bibliography,

list of addresses and emails contacts,

index.

The last two chapters are especially promising: "Contemporary Issues" and "Beyond the Impasse".

New Internationalist Publications Ltd. Authors' Copyright 2004.
Socialist

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Erasmus Folly
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Re: Nominate books to be a philosophy book of the month

Post by Erasmus Folly » January 29th, 2015, 12:47 am

For the April Book of the Month I would like to nominate:

So You Think You're Human? A Brief History of Humankind by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto.

Synopsis:

You think you're human. But what does that mean? How can humanity be defined? Felipe Fernandez-Armesto takes us on an enlightening journey through the history of humankind to reveal the challenges to our most fundamental belief - that we are, and have always been, human. Chimps and humans are objectively so alike that an anthropologist from Mars might classify them together; advances in artificial intelligence mean that humans no longer have exclusive access to reason, consciousness and imagination; developments in genetics threaten humanity with an uncertain future. The harder we cling to the concept of humanity, the more slippery it becomes. But if it breaks down altogether, what will this mean for human values, human rights, and the defense of human dignity? So You Think You're Human? confronts these problems from a historical perspective, showing how our current understanding of what it means to be human has been shaken by new challenges from science and philosophy. Fernandez-Armesto shows how our concept of humankind has changed over time, tracing its faltering expansion to its present limits and arguing that these limits are neither fixed nor scientifically verifiable. Controversially, he proposes that we have further to go in developing our concept of humankind and that we need to rethink it as a matter of urgency.

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