I also read a new release, Luc Ferry's A Brief History of Thought: A Philosophical Guide to Living, which sounded wildly attractive to a philosophically-inclined guy like myself. Ferry holds a PhD in philosophy and is concerned with the fact that philosophy has become an irrelevant subject of academia instead of a way of understanding and responding to the world, but I don't know that his book will do much to change that. It starts out badly, with Ferry introducing philosophy as a way of obtaining salvation without God. Although Ferry professes no religious worldview, his stance seems rooted in a religious worldview, biased in favor of itself. Not all religions are concerned with death, and certainly not all of them seek to unite people with their loved ones after death the way Ferry generalizes that they do. I'm stunned that someone with a doctorate in philosophy would reduce it to something so trivial. He uses Stoicism to demonstrate how expansive and cohesive philosophical worldviews used to be, and while not not a practicioner of Stoicism he nontheless admires it. Later chapters address why in the west, religion prevailed over philosophy only to lose ground to it again in the Enlightenment. Again, Ferry's conclusion is simple: philosophy and reason didn't offer an escape from death, and Christianity did. The chapter on the rebirth of philosophy and humanism in the Enlightenment is a bit better, but I began losing interest with post modernism and by the time I'd reached his last chapter on "Post-Deconstructionism", even I was bored with the subject. Philosophy became less about life and practice, and more about ideas and abstract understanding with seemingly little relevance to modern life. Socrates Cafe, on philosophical inquiry, and Plato's Podcasts are far superior advocates for philosophy in general, and A Guide to the Good Life: the Ancient Art of Stoic Joy on one particular philosophy's value to everyday living.
Pending Reviews: If Walls Could Talk, Lucy Worsley. I also re-read a couple of Grisham novels recently, though I'm not sure if I'll review them or not. They were A Time to Kill and Runaway Jury.
Currently Reading: The Age of Voltaire, Will Durant.
Potentials: Recently I've gotten interested in understanding finance and law, so I'm starting The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson and A People's History of the Supreme Court by one Peter Irons. I've heard that Ferguson is an advocate of imperialism, so he may prove amusing.
What the conquistadors failed to understand is that money is a matter of belief, even faith; belief in the person paying us, belief in the person issuing the money he uses or the institution that honours his cheques or transfers. Money is not metal. It is trust inscribed.
p. 39, The Ascent of Money. Niall Ferguson.