Marcus's Readings 2019

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Marcus's Readings 2019

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1MarcusBastos
Jan 3, 2019, 9:26pm

Here I will post the reviews of my readings and listening. Books and audiobooks.

2MarcusBastos
Jan 3, 2019, 9:28pm

The Quest for Certainty, by John Dewey:

Experimental Empiricism
Dewey’s thought is presented in this book with clarity and vigor. His concepts about philosophy, its role and meaning; the distinction between ideas (thought) and practice (experience); the epistemology of natural science and social science are exposed and discussed. The book in some way constitutes a history of philosophy, at least of the tradition of philosophy that identify knowledge with the concept of the ultimate things and values (the real). Dewey argues that knowledge is obtained in experience, provides one works with the proper method. Experience is contingent, unpredictable. Dewey insists that it provides knowledge. Abstract and universal ideas and values as such must be abandoned as a source of knowledge. Their utility in human endeavors is an indication of their epistemological value. This is a book worth reading, specially for students of philosophy and pragmatism.

3dchaikin
Jan 3, 2019, 1:05am

I got lost in trying to think through the epistemological value of abstract ideas... but, I really just wanted to wish you a happy 2019.

4MarcusBastos
Jan 11, 2019, 12:08pm

Happy 2019, with lots of readings!

5MarcusBastos
Jan 11, 2019, 12:09pm

Mensalão: Diário de um Julgamento, by Joaquim Falcão:

Crônica de um Julgamento
Os diversos textos reunidos neste livro constituem artigos de jornal e comunicações publicadas em Blog jornalístico, com o fim de explicar para o grande público o que se decidiu nas seguidas sessões do STF destinadas ao julgamento do mensalão. Os textos são de fácil compreensão e permitem ao leitor leigo em direito uma razoável compreensão sobre um julgamento criminal. Um resumo de cada uma das sessões realizadas pelo STF foi incluído no livro, ordenando os textos publicados. Trata-se de obra que, a pretexto de explicar o caso do mensalão, fornece uma visão particular sobre como o STF deve se desincumbir de suas funções e como devem se comportar seus Ministros. Os autores dos textos, salvo algumas poucas exceções, tocam numa nota só: aquela que louva uma jurisdição penal de resultados (eficiente), ainda que para isso se tenha de sacrificar o devido processo legal. Pouca análise crítica das escolhas feitas pelo STF. Assentimento a uma mera observância formal das regras de processo. Mascaramento dos destemperos e desatinos havidos durante o julgamento. Isso não obstante, trata-se de leitura útil para se compreender como funciona o STF e como se comportam aqueles que dele se aproximam com temor reverencial.

6MarcusBastos
Fev 5, 2019, 7:07pm

The Varieties of Religious Experience, by William James:

Understanding Religious Experiences
This book contains lectures given by William James in Scotland in which he examines diverse religious experiences in search of their meaning. The lectures formed a systematic work and are written in a clear way. James’s conception of pragmatism - the emphasis in the experimental method and the idea of meaning that dismiss hard/dogmatic truth - influences the exposition. The lectures deal with many personal expositions of religious experiences - the ways in which they are exposed and their meanings for each and everyone involved. James gives his analysis of these various episodes and tries to elaborate a grand narrative. In search of understanding, one finds tolerance toward the diverse religious attitudes. A book worth reading (listening).

7dchaikin
Fev 6, 2019, 6:11pm

This James sounds terrific - although being philosophy-adverse, William James generally scares me.

8MarcusBastos
Fev 11, 2019, 6:19pm

Well, I’m intended to read more W. James and his fellows pragmatists

9MarcusBastos
Fev 11, 2019, 6:20pm

Brooksmith, by Henry James:

Life and Work of an English Butler
Brooksmith is quite a character! This short story engages the reader in Brooksmith’s life, its ups and down, its charm and mysteries. Henry James vivid style and the narrative in first person (through the perspective of one character) attract the reader. At the end, the reader will not be indifferent.

10MarcusBastos
Fev 24, 2019, 8:36pm

The Great Transformation: The Beginning of our Religious Traditions, by Karen Armstrong:

The Golden Rule
This book is about the genesis of the religious ideas. It examines the different traditions and its historical development. The author seeks to understand these ideas in order to discern insights for our days. She reconstructs the various traditions and gives her interpretation. The task is well done. The case Armstrong makes for compassion as the pivotal value of these traditions in impressive and actually appraises religious ideas. Great reading!

11MarcusBastos
Mar 16, 2019, 3:12pm

The Case for God, by Karen Armstrong:

Which God?
If you believe in the God of creation, the God that intervenes in history, the one and only God, be it Judaic, be it Muslin, be it Christian, Karen Armstrong’s case is weak. If your God lives with you, encompasses all your weaknesses, accepts your moral idiosyncrasies and relates to your history and desires, Karen Armstrong’s case is strong. The book examines the diverse ideas of God through history and gives special attention to the modern and postmodern concepts of a religious life and it opposite, the atheist self. Science and religion are confronted and reconciled, at least the author tries it. Meanwhile, she advances her ideas of a personal God, without dogmas, a God that gives meaning to our life. Her arguments seems compelling. Her book gives the reader a good and well researched overview of the development of the idea of God in the monotheistic religions.

12auntmarge64
Mar 18, 2019, 1:12am

>6 MarcusBastos: Now there's a book I hope to read: The Varieties of Religious Experience

>10 MarcusBastos: I thought Armstrong's The Great Transformation was fascinating. That whole turning towards monotheism, the Axial Age, etc.

13MarcusBastos
Abr 4, 2019, 8:14pm

Sure. Like Armstrong very much. Her style of writing and the clear thinking.

14MarcusBastos
Abr 4, 2019, 8:15pm

Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence, by Karen Armstrong:

Violence, State and Religion
Based on a careful appreciation of the origin and development of religious beliefs, Karen Armstrong makes the argument that religion is not inherently violent. Neither, she points out, the separation of religion and state contributes to an era of peace. Violence, she argues, springs from the desire of tribes and states to accumulate wealth (lands, goods and money). Religious beliefs, history shows, counterbalance these aspirations and provides an alternative meaning to human life, giving direction to human endeavors. In this book, Karen Armstrong gives special attention to the development of religion in the west, mostly to the interactions of christianity and europeans states. The story is fluent and well researched.

15auntmarge64
Abr 4, 2019, 12:37am

>14 MarcusBastos: I think Fields of Blood needs to be read by a LOT of people out there. (And I loved it too.)

16MarcusBastos
Maio 12, 2019, 1:27am

Democracia em risco. 22 ensaios sobre o Brasil hoje:
Reflexões Ligeiras
Trata-se de um “livro de intervenção” e como tal não desaponta. Os textos que reúne procuram compreender/explicar o resultado eleitoral de 2018 nas eleições presidenciais. Seu fio condutor aponta para uma avaliação negativa da opção eleitoral que se sagrou vencedora. Depõe a favor do livro o fato de que os autores não abordam o tema valendo-se de uma mensagem apocalíptica. Dá para notar até alguma dose de otimismo em algumas análises. Os desafios que surgem com a eleição de Jair Bolsonaro são abordados com clareza. Ao final, o leitor percebe que há muitas perguntas sem respostas.

17MarcusBastos
Jun 2, 2019, 12:10am

The Inerrant Word: Biblical, Historical, Theological and Pastoral Perspectives, by John MacArthur:

Foundation of Christian Faith
The doctrine of Scripture’s inerrancy is central to Christian Faith. The articles in this book succeeded in demonstrate that. One of the most important conclusions it derived recognizes the direct link between the integrity of the biblical message and the affirmation of its inerrancy. The book also shows that the main attack directed at this doctrine came from inside and not outside the Church. The debate between liberalism and evangelicalism (fundamentalism) in Christian Faith is directly interwoven with biblical inerrancy and many articles in the book deals with the matter. At the end the reader has a sound understanding of this key concept of christian theology.

18MarcusBastos
Jun 30, 2019, 11:54pm

The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins:

Religion and Science
The case against religion or religious beliefs is not an easy one. Richard Dawkins exposes it comparing religion with science. He also devotes some pages to elaborate on philosophical arguments about the existence of God, pretending to demonstrate their failures. At the end, the promise he makes in the book’s introduction - to guide the reader to an emancipation of religious beliefs - is not fulfilled. Williams James - The Varieties of Religious Experiences - knows better.

19MarcusBastos
Jul 17, 2019, 2:48am

A Elite do Atraso: Da Escravidão a Bolsonaro, by Jessé Souza:

O Saque como Projeto
Nesta versão atualizada de seu livro “A Elite do Atraso: Da Escravidão à Lava Jato”, Jessé Souza apresenta sua interpretação dos fatos políticos do Brasil contemporâneo. Discutindo as ideias de patrimonialismo e de populismo, apresenta as razões pelas quais no Brasil o empobrecimento da maioria da população é uma política pública bem sucedida. A exposição do Autor é didática e bem fundamentada. A crítica que faz às obras de Gilberto Freyre, Sérgio Buarque de Holanda e Raimundo Faoro é instigante, provocando reflexão. Seu argumento toma como central para a compreensão da sociedade brasileira o fato da escravidão. Procura demonstrar ao leitor como a luta das classes por privilégios e distinções logrou construir alianças e preconceitos que condenam a maioria da população brasileira à pobreza e à miséria. Trata-se de obra essencial para compreender os arranjos políticos em curso no Brasil.

20MarcusBastos
Ago 16, 2019, 12:23pm

The Reformation (The History of Civilization Volume 6), by Will Durant:

Faith and Enlightenment
This volume of the series deals with the reformation, its historical antecedents and consequences. The life and work of early XIV century clerics and theologians in Europe are referred. The political development in Spain, France, Germany and England is exposed, in order to give context to Luther and the Reformers. The book gives special attention to Erasmus of Rotterdam and his works. Humanism and Reformation were intertwined. A word - a small one - is given about the catholic counter reformation. The story develops smoothly. One can criticizes Will Durant’s commentaries but must recognizes his clear and entertaining style. History in Durant’s prose is never boring.

21MarcusBastos
Ago 28, 2019, 1:53am

O Que é a Filosofia Antiga?, by Pierre Hadot, portuguese edition:

Filosofia como Modo de Vida
A exposição da filosofia antiga levada a cabo nesta obra é original e bem fundamentada. Pierre Hadot postula ser a filosofia não só uma atividade teórica e conceitualizante, mas também, na Antiguidade, “... a escolha que o filósofo faz de um modo de vida que condiciona e determina as tendências fundamentais de seu discurso filosófico” (p. 383). A exposição das principais escolas filosóficas da antiguidade, a relação que mantêm entre si e a influência exercida sobre o nascente cristianismo são expostos num texto claro, fluente. Para isso contribuiu a cuidadosa tradução levada a efeito por Dion Davi Macedo. A interpretação da filosofia antiga que faz Pierre Hadot é fecunda. Abre avenidas para a reflexão. Demonstra o valor inestimável do esforço feito pelos antigos para compreender o mundo e o homem. Uma leitura muito proveitosa e que convida o leitor a conhecer mais do pensamento do autor.

22MarcusBastos
Set 13, 2019, 7:00pm

A History of Western Philosophy, by Bertrand Russell:

Philosophy and Social Environment
Russell’s account of philosophy is unique and controversial. On can say that he knew it. His exposition, with plenty of appreciation and critics of his own, is sometimes ironic, sometimes sarcastic. He gave to greek philosophy the attention it demands. From that he presented a fair selection of philosophers. He went until John Dewey, his contemporary. In his reflections he tried to situate each philosopher in his social environment and, for that reason, the book contains a good amount of (social) history. This is a great introduction to philosophy and its problems.

23MarcusBastos
Nov 3, 2019, 12:07am

Shooting Stars, by Lebron James:

The Beginnings
In this narrative in first person, Lebron James talks about the formation of his high school basketball team and the challenges it faces in order to climb the ladder all the way to the top. The bonds that exists between the players, the style of play that the team developed and its growth as a team are exposed with details. In the book one can also know Lebron’s point of view about some challenges that he faced (e.g., the controversy about the car he received from his mother). Good reading.

24MarcusBastos
Nov 16, 2019, 12:24pm

The Firm, by John Grisham:

Legal and Ilegal
The story goes from law school to law practice. The book gains friction about halfway and never stops. The main characters are interesting and the story develops in different ways. At the end one marvels if it’s possible to discern between legal and ilegal stuff. John Grisham made a touchdown.

25dchaikin
Nov 20, 2019, 6:37pm

Just catching up with most of your year, Marcos. I used google to translate the Portuguese reviews and sort of gawked at Elite do Atras (>19 MarcusBastos: ). Crazy stuff. Enjoyed your philosophical commentary, your take on Dawkins and these last two posts. Years ago, in another life, I read The Firm when is was new and popular, but that completed my Grisham reading. Enjoy!

26MarcusBastos
Dez 12, 2019, 12:44pm

Thanks dchaikin. My readings in this year were somewhat errant.

27MarcusBastos
Dez 12, 2019, 12:45pm

The Complete Essays of Montaigne, by Donald M Frame and Michel Eyquem de Montaigne:

Collection of Experiences
My first impression in listening this audiobook was that somehow I would not make it. It’s a long book. I didn’t like the style, didn’t appreciate the prose. I do like the multiple quotes of classical writings but that was not enough to engage me. As always, like my experience with audiobooks taught me, I became more attentive to the book as the listening went on. The essays that I like most are the epistemological ones, in which Montaigne exposes his skepticism. Montaigne’s work impressed me because of its openness. In listening to the essays one gets a fair account of Montaigne’s approach to life and knows his ideas about what is a life worth living. This audiobook is about wisdom. Classical wisdom as it was understood in XVI century.

28dchaikin
Dez 12, 2019, 9:50pm

Kudos for pushing through. Montaigne sounds tough.

29MarcusBastos
Dez 22, 2019, 2:22pm

A Little History of Philosophy, by Nigel Warburton:

Western Philosophy in a Glance
This is an introductory book. It gives basic informations about a wide range of philosophers in western tradition. The author presents the philosophers in a chronological order, beginning with greek’s philosophy and ending with Peter Singer. The text is clear and accessible to beginners. The chapters (the philosophers) are linked, suggesting the reader a continuity in their works. One must be conscious, though, that there aren’t such a thing. Good reading to explore philosophy.

30dchaikin
Dez 26, 2019, 11:33am

>29 MarcusBastos: interesting, M.