Quick Looks Philosophy
Justice, Gender, and the Family—Susan Moller Okin
216pp. (C) 1989
Moller Okin pushes for strict family equity and equality; and upbraids many men for pathetic family efforts, but Moller Okin pushes the sexism, helplessness, and vulnerability buttons too hard. This work has too many claims that lack statistical support and too much media feminism. Research in Time for Life suggests husbands (on mean) do as much work in families as wives, though many non-family men contribute little to their children’s well-being. Worth skimming.
Freedom and Its Misuses by Gary Beabout
Most ideologies seek to capriciously limit the liberties of others and ignore their own misuses of liberties.
Beabout argues we should not misuse freedoms. Instead, he claims we should use our freedoms to watch sports. Aarrrrgh! Somewhere I read research suggesting that men spend a mean of four times as much time on spectator sports—viewing and thinking about sports—than they believe they do. This is one of those Kierkegaardian books. Worth browsing.
The Metaphysics of Star Trek —Richard Hanley
253pp. (CH) 1997
Artificial life, artificial inteligence, beamability, personal fusing and splitting, alien rights, personhood, machine creativity, futurism, time travel—the unusual suspects. Some things that could be misinterpreted by those unfamiliar with philosophy and a few things that will be questioned by those who are. Contains a poor chapter on logic and emotion.
Connected Knowledge: Science, Philosophy, and Education —Alan Cromer
221pp. (C) 1997
Cromer Blasts constructivism. He argues for building background knowledge before having students “play” at difficult concepts. Science, math, reading, and writing are difficult and require direction, organization, and the understanding of key points. Haphazard and merely feel good efforts lead in the wrong directions.
Connected Knowledge is a success in the physical science department. It often fails in the ethics and social science department. Worth browsing.
Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time by Paul Rogat Loeb
Loeb doesn’t endorse misguided activism, but he doesn’t exactly criticize it, either. One cause of cynicism is misguided activism. Activists with the most shock or entertainment value get the attention. The well-reasoned activist gets ignored. The world needs misguided activism even less than it needs detached cynicism. Not recommended.
Unpopular Essays —Bertrand Russell
Not much smells better at five on a Saturday morning than the yellowed pages of a fifty-year-old book. An entertaining tour of rubbish and non-rubbish. Not as dated as you would expect. The balkans are ever balkinized. Russell’s command of language still stands as more advanced than what I have seen in the USA Today.
—J.T. Fournier, last updated July 24, 2009