Posts tagged philosophy

The Things I Care About

What do you really care about? I asked myself that question recently, and I was surprised by the results. Firstly, it seems that I care about quite a lot of things. And secondly, although I care about these things, they’re generally not the things that I spend most of my time talking about, writing about, reading about, and taking action on. So it was a useful exercise. I’d recommend it to anyone, writer or non-writer. Just ask yourself what you really care about, and list what comes to mind, as quickly and roughly as possible, without… Read More

“The Problems of Philosophy” by Bertrand Russell

This book is pitched just at the right level for me. I am interested in philosophy, but don’t have enough knowledge of it to be able to understand some of the more complex works. I tried Wittgenstein recently, for instance, and it didn’t take. But this short introduction to some of the basic problems of philosophy was very enjoyable. It’s almost 100 years old now, so probably the problems of philosophy are a little different today, but still I found the ideas in this book very thought-provoking. Russell’s writing is… Read More

“Letter to D” by André Gorz

D is the André Gorz’s 82-year-old, terminally ill wife, and this short book is a letter written to her about a year before they both committed suicide at the same time, unable to bear the thought of being parted. It’s a beautiful story, augmented by a few lovely photos of the couple (I wanted more, actually). The telling is often very beautiful and poignant, although occasionally it’s surprisingly long-winded for such a short book, particularly in the parts where he’s examining some hurtful lines he wrote about her in his… Read More

“Thoughts” by Giacomo Leopardi

The book was unfinished in Leopardi’s lifetime, and perhaps the finished version would have been brilliant. This sequence of half-formed thoughts and bon mots, however, was just a quick and not particularly satisfying read.

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“Miracles” by C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis sets out to prove by logical argument that miracles are possible. The clear-headed writing style helps to draw you in, he anticipates a lot of the criticisms people will have, and I just like the attempt to argue from a position of rigorous logic something which mostly just comes down to “you believe it or you don’t”. The trouble is that, in the end, it comes down to that anyway. The calm logic proceeds slowly from step to step, and I am with him all the way, until… Read More

Marxism 2007: Day Four (Sunday)

“Cuba after Castro” was a great talk, with one small problem: it wasn’t about Cuba after Castro. The speaker, Mike Gonzalez, focused most of his talk on Cuba under Castro, and spent only the last few minutes talking about Cuba after Castro. It wasn’t the only speech at this conference to disregard its advertised topic, however, and the effect was not fatal. I learned a lot about the way power is wielded in Cuba, and the achievements and failures of Castro. It was probably the most balanced analysis I have… Read More