Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, January 2005
- A collection of papers from the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s by one of the
most learned and sensible literary theorists then writing. Very good if you're
interested in the history of literary theory and literary criticism.
of Language: Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution
- See my review: The Object-Oriented
Turn in Generative Grammar.
- K. J. Bishop, The
- Disturbing, brilliant, marvellously-authoritative novel of corruption, of
redemption, of art, of metamorphosis: in short of transformation.
Nothing is explained, but I came away feeling that everything
was explicable, that it had some hidden, cohesive meaning. I almost
suspect there is a concealed alchemical allegory, only the alchemists were
never this good.
- John Kay, Culture
and Prosperity: The Truth About Markets --- Why Some Nations Are Rich but Most
- (The original UK title is just The Truth About Markets, which
is better.) Not sure if I do recommend this one. It's intended as a
popular survey of modern economics, with a bit of an emphasis on micro and on
policy. For the most part, the content is quite good, but at times
Kay's style really got on my nerves. There seemed to be a lot of
places where he could and should have gone into topics more deeply, but
contented himself with just dipping into them and then going on to the next
section. (Perhaps this is due to writing a weekly newspaper column for several
years.) Also, there are some errors. (E.g., in discussing science funding in
America vs. Europe, he makes it seem like most basic research in the US is
supported by the private sector, and doesn't mention the NSF or the
NIH at all.) That said,
I really don't know of a better popular treatment of the strengths and
limitations of neo-classical economics and its non-crazy competitors.
the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the
- Remarkably, this actually lives up to its subtitle. I knew that many of
the great scholars in the humanities of the mid-twentieth century were mad,
and/or living down fascist pasts (e.g.), but I had no
idea how mad, or that so many of them were mad in the same
way, having acquired their madness from a common source.
- John Dewey, The
Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and
- See Was John Dewey a Member of
the Reality-Based Community?. After reading this, I can say that the
answer to my question is "yes", and that this is probably Dewey's best-written
book. (The in-print edition has an introduction by Stephen Toulmin, but I read
an old copy and haven't seen this.)
- Update, February 2010: the full text, at least of the first
Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur
Posted at January 31, 2005 23:59 | permanent link