This book was really illuminating for me. I read it because I am interested in eventually getting to Derrida--after having read some Derrida and prese...moreThis book was really illuminating for me. I read it because I am interested in eventually getting to Derrida--after having read some Derrida and presently reading Derrida. Barthes integrates Saussure's linguistics (semiology and the notion of the sign) with Marxist ideas about history and ideology to examine the notion of myth. Barthes's analysis of myth is very similar to Derrida's work in that he proposes the problem of the machine vs. the event by drawing a similar dialectical between the bourgeois and the worker (or mythical language and political language).
Barthes basically says that a myth is a form of language that takes a symbol (or a given) and, with the form that inaugurates the myth (the intention of the myth), distorts the symbol so as to make it seem natural (so as to make it seem eternal as opposed to historical). In this way, Barthes thinks that the bourgeois, by establishing its ideology through myth, is able to exist as modern thought itself.
There are very interesting parallels (albeit with a somewhat differently nuanced vocabulary) between Barthes's work here and Derrida's. (less)
Catherine Belsey writes lucidly, in this introduction to poststructuralism. She elucidates the works of Saussure, Derrida, Foucault, and Lacan, among...moreCatherine Belsey writes lucidly, in this introduction to poststructuralism. She elucidates the works of Saussure, Derrida, Foucault, and Lacan, among others. She spells out very clearly what she means by the poststructuralist tradition when she writes, “The history of poststructuralism is the story of the way Saussure’s ideas were taken up by later generations, especially in France, and particularly after the Second World War, when the history of National Socialism, and of French collaboration with it—seemed to demand an explanation that existing theories of culture were unable to provide.” (10)
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is trying to get a foothold in the poststructuralist tradition, trying to come to a place where reading Derrida or Foucalt is possible. The questions that are raised in this book are, even if they aren't useful for reading specific works of the authors she mentions, are interesting and valuable in and of themselves. She covers topics from the meaning of language to the structures of power that inhibit and inhabit social relations to the truth and differance.
I will probably revisit this book a year or so from now because I've found that these books are great at connecting very general themes one may miss in the complexity of it all.(less)
In this book Charles Hartshorne develops his idea of God. Most of his writings took place in the era of positivism, so most of his thought is oriented...moreIn this book Charles Hartshorne develops his idea of God. Most of his writings took place in the era of positivism, so most of his thought is oriented toward answering their criticisms (such as that the idea of God has not intellectual or meaningful import). His idea of God gets its intelligibility from the intuition that God is not the greatest conceivable being as has been classically conceived (Hartshorne criticizes this notion as being similarly erroneous to the notion of a largest number) but is "unsurpassable." Harsthorne says that this notion of "unsurpassable" is the meaning of "worthy of worship," where there can only be one being worthy of worship.
In this work, at least, Hartshorne's development of the concept of God doesn't use Whitehead's metaphysics as much as I thought it would. His central idea is that God is unsurpassable, and so he doesn't really need Whitehead's stuff to apply this not only to God having an unsurpassable awareness (and therefore knowledge) but also unsurpassable in love, etc. I think it's a great resource if one is developing the idea of God strictly from a logical perspective--showing that the concept is intelligible without as much as a metaphysical scheme.(less)
This book was really an exercise of translating American neopragmatic philosophical concepts into phenomenological concepts. The language relies heavi...moreThis book was really an exercise of translating American neopragmatic philosophical concepts into phenomenological concepts. The language relies heavily--by heavily I mean entirely--on neopragmatic conceptions of the world, language, and experience. On this point I found it somewhat useful, if only as a translation into the 'real' conceptions of reality that phenomenology offers. I would recommend this book as a Wikipedia-like resource: use it while reading introductions to phenomenology (that are by philosophers who are actually within that tradition) to get a general grasp on unfamiliar concepts. Sokolowski is good at giving examples, but his language is nearly oversimplified to the point of being unhelpful. I found a prominent way the author explains a concept is by making a declaration about such concept (usually in a tautological way so as to give a definition--a definition that can be understood by a pragmatist or anglophones in general) and then he explores different aspects of everyday experience to which the concept belongs. I think that I have wasted my time focusing on this book in particular--in terms of reading it all the way through. Sometimes entire pages are dedicated to saying the same thing over in the same way. I didn't appreciate that particular use of page-space. If one uses it as a reference as opposed to a primary source, I think that would be the most useful way to read this book. In that sense I'd recommend buying this thing as an ebook so as to utilize the "search" feature and be able to jump around the text and read about relevant concepts in stead of a search and rescue mission that would inevitably waste quite a bit of time if one bought the paper version. The book can be read in sections. The sections do not really need to be read in order.(less)