This collection might strike some of those who've read his other major works as redundant. Popper's favorite philosophical piece of writing was Plato'This collection might strike some of those who've read his other major works as redundant. Popper's favorite philosophical piece of writing was Plato's Apology. He truly admired the skepticism of Socrates. Popper, it seems, is also not a huge fan of Hegel and Fichte, which makes a lot of sense. The bottom line is that the man was all for intellectual honesty and clear, concise philosophical prose, which he thought was dreadfully absent from the writings of the Vienna Circle. I really admired the suggestion that the knowledge that one has of the world should truly remind that person of their own infinite ignorance. There are some amusing philosophical anecdotes contained in this volume, and it's a decent introduction to Popper's sensibility at least, but the man wrote some seriously important book length explorations on individual freedom, scientific method, and the role of the intellectual in society. This volume barely scratches the surface....more
A little to scattered and distracted for my blood, but you can see the beginnings of a gifted, impressionistic poet of the South. McCarthy is very preA little to scattered and distracted for my blood, but you can see the beginnings of a gifted, impressionistic poet of the South. McCarthy is very preoccupied with the random cruelty of nature; both in the wild, as well as within the context of an ever-burgeoning human civilization. I'm only critical of the digressive aspect of this novel simply because I've experienced more focused storytelling from McCarthy, even if it isn't being told in a strictly linear mold.
One of the more comedic scenes came toward the end as the old man Ownsby, who has recently been incarcerated for blowing off a federal agent's leg, is being interviewed by a man about his social security benefits, despite the fact that he's clearly going to be dead before he's released from prison. Humor in McCarthy's world is dark and unforgiving, but ultimately hilarious. When asked his age, he replies that he doesn't know. He's subsequently asked when he was born, to which he says that if he knew when he was born then he'd be able to count how old he is. Then again, he probably didn't know what year it was anyway. Anyway, the thing is that you have this old man who's been through hard times, is currently imprisoned with several felonies, and is a year or two away from dying, and you have this completely absurd situation where he's being asked these very irrelevant, bureaucratic questions about his life.
The only reason that the digressions don't seem to work is that many of the characters have no chance to be fleshed out in any striking way. Motives tend to be lightly glossed over in McCarthy's novels, but in this story they're practically nonexistent. The great strengths of this novel comes out in the pastoral imagery and silence of nature juxtaposed with the random cruelty of human violence, a McCarthy staple to be sure. In addition to this, the naïve observance of this violence from the perspective of youth is truly poetic. The Orchard Keeper may be McCarthy's least linear story, but the reader gets a sense of the early development of one of the South's finest writers....more
A pretty unremarkable text on Japan's prewar to postwar development. Allinson's focus is almost narrowly economic, but there are some brief cultural aA pretty unremarkable text on Japan's prewar to postwar development. Allinson's focus is almost narrowly economic, but there are some brief cultural asides, mostly related through literature of the immediate postwar era. ...more