I like books like this; books about children growing to adulthood from different times and places to me.
He certainly had a curious non-standard nucleaI like books like this; books about children growing to adulthood from different times and places to me.
He certainly had a curious non-standard nuclear family upbringing. A depressed, distant and indolent mother and an absent, driven and distant father. Perhaps my only criticism is that he did not examine this more. After the end of the war he picks up speed and talks about the typical concerns of a adolescent, school, music, girls and friends. Perhaps a realistic change of focus but it did mark a change in the book. We never really found out what happened to the rest of his uncles and aunts, or were they really held at a distance by his curious domestic arrangements.
A good read, if a little flabby.
I had the feeling that the ending could be leading to a sequel. ...more
I chose to read this book as I was a bit lost in the quicksands of relativism v absolutism and this book gives the post-modern inI enjoyed this book.
I chose to read this book as I was a bit lost in the quicksands of relativism v absolutism and this book gives the post-modern interpretation of the truth. And this has helped me out of those soggy sands of sinking thought.
No doubt there will be other books by other writers that will criticise these ideas - this is always the way with philosophy - no one book will ever be enough. But it has helped my thinking about the Enlightenment, about rational and irrational, and about the strait jacket of propositional truth.
The post-modern heroes of Caputo are Heidegger and others and their theories of interpretation or hermeneutics, Wittgenstein and his concept of language games, and finally Kuhns' scientific paradigms. These three ideas give us a new post-modern version of truth. And this will no doubt annoy fans of the Enlightenment and their "not of this world" truth. It made a lot of sense to me and I think I need to read some more Heidegger.
I was a little disappointed that the discussion of these final three ideas were dealt with a little too quickly - just one chapter for the three - and we seem to spend a lot of time talking about Truth in religion, comparing and contrasting St Augustine and Derrida's approach.
However, that is a small gripe.
I managed to read the entire book and it made sense. Which for a philosophical novice - I am that rare beast - a general reader - is a good thing.
PS - since writing this review I read some of the low rated reviews on Good Reads and noticed there is a lot of criticism of Caputo's theology and focus and religious thinking. Some of these people could not have read past Chapter 3. And to be honest I can understand why. It does set the ground for questioning truth as revealed by a deity, but it doesn't really come across as that.
But still, best read the entire book if you are going to review it.
This book irritated me and informed me and entertained me.
And I have given it three stars because...
Well let's start with positive things. It is challThis book irritated me and informed me and entertained me.
And I have given it three stars because...
Well let's start with positive things. It is challenging, well written and a good read. He mixes anecdotes with quick thought provoking questions with longer pieces asking "Do you have a philosophy of education", "what is the point of education" etc.
It's good stuff. Asking good questions. Posing interesting situations. Sometimes making you laugh, sometimes making you think.
And he is correct teachers and schools and the world at large would benefit from children who are better at thinking, questioning, and probing established opinions, ideas and facts.
Well. The but comes in two parts.
1. The book is a stitching together of what look to be old blog posts, and tweets. Ok, not all parts are, in one case he reproduces a speech he made at a graduation ceremony.
2. But this is my big beef. I do not like people who tell me that the way to be independent is to be different. Independence of mind cannot be knee-jerk; if they do this, I will do that.
The chapter entitled "Independent Thinking as a Refusal" contains this advice "When it comes to being creative, stand by my motto: do things no one does or do things everyone does but in a way no one does."
It is the luxury of outsiders to say this - like Picasso.
Human creation is about team work, about learning to work with people we don't agree with, about compromise. Films are made by teams. Books require writers, editors, copy proofers, marketers, designers etc. Trying to be different means you are placing yourself on the edge of society.
This marred what otherwise is a good and challenging read. He has inspired me to go off and read Paulo Freire. He has challenged me to come up with my philosophy of education. He has an interesting 25 point guide of what to look for in a school.
Independent thought could lead a thinker to accept that humanity relies on cooperation, team work, and diversity. But just being different and doing things differently does not mean you are independent. ...more
I so wanted to read this book. The subject was good, Beethoven, Danish resistance, exploring the meaning of secular "relics" in modern times,Oh dear.
I so wanted to read this book. The subject was good, Beethoven, Danish resistance, exploring the meaning of secular "relics" in modern times, and the promise of a historical detective story.
And it does contain those elements and I did find myself reading the book in one day. And I was very interested in the ending - which I won't spoil.
But I had to start reading quickly trying to find passages I wanted to read. For two reasons, ok, make it three:
1. His damned inelegant, difficult and convulted style. I mean. Huge rambling sentences, writing in the past perfect tense, the use of hyphenated clauses, the refusal to use simple words... "commenced not started".
At times I had to re-read a sentence to understand something basic. For example in which year was Beethoven born?
"A son by her first husband had died in infancy; so had her second child, Ludwig Maria, who died six days after his birth in 1769, the year before the third child, also named Ludwig, was born."
2. He gave into silly flights of possibles and maybes. With little evidence.
3. I wanted to get to the ending. So I read quickly and selectively.
As another reviewer pointed out the meat of this story could have been contained better in a decent article in a magazine or newspaper. In book form it was padded out (too many words Mozart!), and was slightly repetitive.
On the plus side, he handled lots of people and dates and data and I was never confused about who he was talking about. Even with his interweaving of timelines in alternate chapters. I also learnt a lot more about the mid-Nineteenth Century music scene.
In conclusion. A good story, but poorly written, with too much padding. ...more
It reminded me a great deal of George Orwell's "Animal Farm", though I guess from the introduction that this animal analogy story telling genre is comIt reminded me a great deal of George Orwell's "Animal Farm", though I guess from the introduction that this animal analogy story telling genre is common in African folk tales. Though I doubt the folk tales are as politically scathing as this tale. I would imagine the folk tales are more like Brer Rabbit homilies and comedies.
A quick read and amusing one, usually with a wry smile at how appalling coups and dictators tend to be. I think I was missing a lot of the political commentary and lampooning of actual historical characters, not knowing much about African politics from the post-imperial period (1950s, 60s and 70s).
Not a simple read, but then as the author says, most philosophical tracts require re-reading. I will have to return to this book at a later point to uNot a simple read, but then as the author says, most philosophical tracts require re-reading. I will have to return to this book at a later point to understand some of the finer points about "factivity" and "bad-faith".
Overall the book has left me with a deep impression of how the existentialists see life as it is, its lack of purpose and meaning, and yet are able to celebrate life and humanity. The book charts a way to deal with this hopelessness and comes up with a positive way to live and avoids the trap of nihilism.
It has certainly influenced me. My attitude to life has been changed by reading this book.