Recommended Reads

Try these fascinating books by significant thinkers:-

  • Nor Shall My Sword by F R Leavis [Chatto and Windus 1972]
  • I'm rattled by the arrogance of the Science brigade, those who make a religion out of Science and simply set aside the doubts and uncertainties at its heart in order to reduce everything about us to an object of scientific study. They seem to leave no room in the search for knowledge for other spheres of enquiry, which are often better pursued without being in thrall to quantitative methods. Leavis was seeking in this series of lectures to prick the bubble of "the ethos he identifies with....Newton and Locke," - what Wittgenstein called Scientism.
  • the haunted inkwell by Mark Patrick Hedermann [the Columba Press 2001]
  • We are all, rightly, concerned about the future of our planet, our species, life in general. Hedermann (a monk in Glenstal Abbey) reminds us that artists and their educating influence will be vital components in our strategy for survival. Science alone will not be enough to ensure our solutions have humanity at their heart.
  • Reinventing the Future by Thomas A Bass [Addison-Wesley Publishing Company 1994]
  • Thomas Bass interviews "the best scientists in their fields" (911 of them) seeking a"road map into the 21st century". You can only find out if he got his road map by reading this fascinating set of outpourings from some of the brightest and deepest minds on our planet. Bass himself sets the tone, perhaps, in his introduction where he refers to Science as "the only form of worship known to work." Perhaps he should have read the two items above.
  • all [a life] that [in death] remains by Sue Black [Transworld Publishers 2018]
  • Sue Black is a Professor of anatomy and forensic anthropology. Not surprisingly, then, this book is about death as Professor Black has experienced it and about what her career has taught her about it and us. Her often profound insights alone, quite apart from her reminiscences of her long career, are worth the read. Philosophy students will be fascinated by Professor Black's chapter on what makes us human. Of particular interest in this regard is her identification of the cells that might constitute the basis of our corporeal biological constancy. Neurons, the otic capsule, the enamel in our teeth and the lenses in our eyes.

A Brief Thought

“Now that for the first time better communication has become one of humanity's main priorities, no life can be considered to be fully lived if it has not benefited from all the encounters of which it is capable. Today, hope is sustained above all by the prospect of meeting new people.” Theodore Zeldin: An Intimate History of Humanity