Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Have you read Marx?*

Taking a book on a holiday is required.  Something to read while sitting in the sun or in the shade as the case may be.  I always take a book or two or three.  This year I was limited to one so I took one that would last the two weeks.  One I have been meaning to read but hadn't yet. A book sale find from several years ago.

The Age of Enlightenment: Basic writings of the eighteenth century philosophers Locke, Voltaire, Berkeley, Hume, Reid, Condillac and others.  Selected with Introduction and Commentaries by Sir Isaiah Berlin.  First published in 1955.

It is part of a series of 6 books:
The Age of Belief - The Medieval Philosophers
The Age of Adventure - the Renaissance Philosophers
The Age of Reason - 17th century Philosophers
The Age of Enlightenment - 18th century Philosophers
The Age of Ideology - 19th century Philosophers
The Age of Analysis - 20th century Philosophers

If I can wade through this one, I may call it quits, though to be honest one can still learn a great deal from some of these thinkers (as long as there is a commentary in modern English to explain what I just read).  John Locke, who is the first philosopher dealt with is some hard slugging to get through and please don't ask me to explain.  Apparently his writings at the end of the 17th century set the stage for the others.

This book is great if you like big words and obtuse thought or are having problems falling asleep

I wonder if there is a Philosophy for Dummies book?  I don't want to know.

* Yes.  I think it is this old Adirondack Chair I am sitting on.


  1. Puke. Shouldn't you read something enjoyable?

  2. The challenge is enjoyable if nothing else.

  3. I'm pretty sure I will be reading that SOON, for both work & joy... *sigh* thanks for sharing! :)

  4. I can't read most of those guys. I enjoy Hume, Nitezsche, Schopenhauer, but that's about it. Peggy and I lived with a woman who was pursuing a doctorate in sociology, and during her first year at least, I didn't get the idea that she was assigned much of anything except Marx.

  5. Ah yes an insane quest for an understanding of the human condition. Sometime I'll send you an email and tell you what it's really about. All systems are flawed because they look at the external and not the person. I did a study of this in college but the true answers didn't come to me until some 30 years later.

  6. Schmutzie posted this quote on Five Star Friday: Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering -
    because you can't take it in all at once. — Audrey Hepburn

    That is deep enough philosophy for me, Demeur and Snowbrush.

    NCSteph what will you soon be reading?

  7. so far this term, I've been reading Bahktin, Lukacs, Duncan, Galperin & Said in relation to Theory of the Novel - no 'high theory' right now... I'm presenting a paper at a Utopian Studies conference in 2wks on Oliver Goldsmith, using Bloch as a starting point... and my holidays will be filled with 18th-century literary theory & scholarship...

    there are too many theorists that I actually enjoy reading to list here, but for starters: Arnold, Foucault, (some) Derrida, Eagleton, Butler & Benjamin are actually FUN for me! And obviously anything utopian studies-related... Moylan, Levitas, Lyman Tower Sargent, Jameson et al.

    My roommate is a rhetorician & warns me regularly that he loves talking theory and will probably not stop until slapped... I feel like that right now, rambling on about my love(s)... :)

    If you want to know more about any of these guys/gals, just ask! I can offer suggestions for readings in many theoretical fields... but my MA was pretty Marxist-heavy, so I know more about that approach...

    are you regretting your decision to ask now??? haha! don't get me started... I don't want to be slapped... :)

  8. I have heard of Goldsmith but am and will remain blissfully ignorant of the rest of them.
    What I would like to read is a "Communist ideology for dummies". Not sure if it is Marxist-leninist or Stalin-Marxist-Leninist but in simple terms I would like to know what they based their actions (or pretended actions) on. What did they believe or pretend to believe? What did they teach at party "church" services?


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