Carlo's Reviews > Letters to a Young Contrarian

Letters to a Young Contrarian by Christopher Hitchens
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's review
Jul 09, 2013

it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fiction, politics, philosophy, essays, religion
Recommended to Carlo by: Evan
Recommended for: Literally everyone
Read in June, 2013 , read count: 3

It is curious to see how Hitchens ended up being with Harris, Dawkins and Dennett in one camp, at least in the public imagination. I think it is crucial to flesh out the difference between the other three figures on one hand and Hitchens on the other. While the three champion (though it is arguable how much they adhere to) empiricism, rationality and the spirit of science in general, Hitchens is in a different camp. He makes bold claims which are based on personal experience, opinion, speculations and sometimes even hearsay. These could be easily called unfounded by anyone who truly understands how science works (let alone claim that it is the only solution to all our troubles) and Hitchens doesn't seem to have anything to say let alone care to reply. He knows it very well himself though I'm not sure most of those who lump him with Dawkins or Harris do.

The reason I enjoy reading Hitchens is not that he demonstrates rationally or empirically how the good life must be lived or what values are justifiable. His is a more passionate and somewhat "biased" reply to every man-made despicable woe in life. This feels more vivid and most importantly more honest, to me.

This is my third read of this book and I really won't be exaggerating when I say that I look forward to many future readings. There's just too much to be taken away from this little gem of a book.
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yoshi_s_island Freedom and mental independence have little to do with empirism and scientism, and you got Hitchen's message's value very well.

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