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Books I Have Finished 2018

This is a list of all the books I finished this year, along with summary and reflections. I often start books without finishing them (and where I just picked up where I left off from some previous year's reading I have left a * before the book to indicate this). I am hoping to break this habit, as well as keep a bit better a record of what I am done. I am hoping that the appeal to my vanity of knowing that I can publish this list for all the world to wonder at - I have one skill, that of quick reading! - will make me actually properly read, and the exercise of having to publicise a summary and review open to academics will keep me honest. The list is in order of my finishing them, most summaries wrote immediately upon completing the book.

Some overall reflections: My 2018 new year's resolution was to try and let philosophy shape my personal behaviour more. As such, my reading was somewhat skewed towards the ethical and aesthetic, as I tried to develop a decent sensibility. I d…

The Difficulty of Remaining Coherent

There are many positions that people seem to think go naturally together that I think are natural enemies (or, alternately, people think are naturally opposed to each other that I think actually go together). By this I mean: while they can perhaps be coherently jointly maintained, it is difficult to do so, and the more natural interpretation of these positions is that holding one commits you to denying the other. (Or in the alternate case, that while they may seem opposed, in fact if you hold one it is hard to coherently avoid holding the other.) Examples will make it clearer what I have in mind. I write this just because I frequently have to have individual versions of this discussion, and it would be useful for me to have somewhere I can point to which sets down my thoughts alongside brief explanations/clarifications. I have colour coded it such that pairs of things I think are natural enemies (but which are mistakenly taken for friends) are red, and pairs of things I think are natu…

Cliché and Metaphysics

"The well-known historico-sociological construct of a "ghetto mentality"... has been repeatedly dragged in to explain behaviour which was not at all confined to the Jewish people and which therefore cannot be explained by specifically Jewish factors. The suggestion proliferated until someone who evidently found the whole discussion too dull had the brilliant idea of evoking Freudian theories and attributing to the whole Jewish people a "death wish" -- unconscious, of course." - Arendt, Postscript to 1964 edition of Eichmann in Jerusalem 
Today I am going to use the blog to put out some very incomplete thoughts. I hope this sort of thinking out loud will be of interest to yinz. I recently read (for the fist time all the way through) Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt. Being an educated fellow in the West (and having seen this film) I was broadly aware of the thesis already. The horrifying thing about Eichmann is not that he committed great evil out of…