Unfinished Books: 2011

Here’s a list of the books I purchased from Amazon during 2011 and have not finished reading yet.

  • Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity by Rebecca Goldstein, 9-Feb, read 172 pages out 0f 263. I was having difficulty following her. Should restart at the beginning.
  • Beware Invisible Cows: My Search for the Soul of the Universe by Andy Martin, 17-Feb, read 78 pages out of 303. This was fun but I’ll need to refresh myself on it before I continue.
  • God, Chance & Necessity by Keith Ward, 11-Apr, read 84 pages out of 204. Not sure I was following him, but was intrigued.
  • Uncommon Gratitude: Alleluia for All That Is by Joan Chittister and Rowan Williams, 12-Apr, no placemark, might have read a few selections. Was curious about Rowan Williams.
  • Science and Religion: A New Introduction by Alister E. McGrath, 1-May, read 80 pages out of 204. Fairly straightforward but not clear what he’s leading to.
  • Post-Secular Philosophy: between philosophy and theology edited by Phillip Brand, 3-May, no placemark, extremely difficult going. It was maddening trying to read this.
  • Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book by Walker Percy, 17-May, read 150 pages out of 262. This was fun but I think I became saturated. Must take it up again.
  • 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang, 27-Jun, read 17 pages out of 263. This is excellent. I could learn a lot if I would continue.
  • New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy by Robert J. Spitzer, 18-Jul, skipped around and read several chapters of the 291 pages. Tries to combine modern physics and Thomas Aquinas. Tried hard to follow proofs.
  • The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World by Iain McGilchrist, 9-Aug, read 44 pages out of 461. I’m on this now. Fascinating treatment of the right and left sides of the brain and how predominant the right half is.
  • I learned about several of these books from reading Psybertron, a blog which I always consult for the latest meta insights on joining the dots.

    Am I having fun yet?

    1. Kate’s avatar

      A good day to read today.

    2. Mardé’s avatar

      Yup, that’s fer sure, but I gotta go to doc’s this morning.

    3. Ian Glendinning’s avatar

      Hi Marde,

      I just finished Iain McGilchrist. The second half of the book is a survey of schools of thought (and art) from the Greeks to post-Modernists which he relates to the first half summary of left & right brain traits.

      His agenda is to restore the Master (right-brain) to its rightful place in moderating the Emissary (left-brain) – given that the left-brain has pretty much established itself over the right in just about every avenue of the modern western world. I agree with his thesis, but despite a “hopeful” final chapter, it makes pretty bleak reading, and it’s a mammoth read. (Massive collection of references to follow-up too.)

    4. Mardé’s avatar

      Hi Ian,

      Thank you very much for your very good comment. I’m still working on the book and just entered Part 2. I find myself re-reading many sentences but think I’m grasping the ideas. I do wish he had given more specific examples of the right>left>right process in action and deviations from this. I have looked up only a few of the many references he provides but I’m sure I would benefit from spending more time on them. I just discovered another book you may be familiar with, Justice for Hedgehogs by Dworkin. It occurred to me that his criticism of skepticism might be supported by McGilchrist’s thesis that the left-brain has established itself over the right.
      Thank you very much again for your comment. I’m now more motivated than ever to keep working away on this book which I first found on your blog.

    5. Ian Glendinning’s avatar

      I like the right>left>right model.

      It says, when things are working as nature (brain evolution) intended – we should experience (inputs) with our whole selves BEFORE passing them to the left side to analyse them as abstractions and logic AND let the right pass “reasonable value-judgements” before we act or communicate (outputs) on the result of those “rational analyses”.

      The right understands why it needs the left (as a tool) to make the process work, but the left can’t see what objective value the right brings to the process, and therefore has a tendency to bypass the right, and plenty of good rational arguments why it should do so.

      (Dworkin’s book – I vaguely recall noticing. Having now checked on-line excerpts and reviews, I can see it might be interesting – thanks. Same idea – skepticism – in the left brain, is useful but can undermine the holistic value of the right if left unchecked. McGilchrist doesn’t reference him.)

    6. Mardé’s avatar

      Thanks for that good description. Yes, the left brain can find rational arguments for just about anything? Yet it doesn’t see the big picture because it’s right-brain blind. I’ll be interested in getting more into Part 2 of McGilchrist. Thanks for checking the references for Dworkin. I was hoping he might be in McGilchrist somewhere.

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