What are you reading?

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Andrew
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Andrew » 25 May 2019, 22:44

I finished The Tunnel about a month ago and then re-read the first 100 pages to see if they made any more sense. They did, but the first 100 are by far the hardest. After that, the blend of memoir and never-ending griping becomes easier to follow.

Now I'm halfway through my re-read of Gravity's Rainbow. I think it's been about 10 years since I read it. I don't know if it's having read it before or the passage of time or all the difficult books I've read in the meantime (or all 3), but this reading is so much more fun. It's a big, bouncy, hallucinatory, paranoid adventure novel, and reading it too seriously misses out on how enjoyable the adventure is.
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JasonL
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by JasonL » 26 May 2019, 14:18

GR is tough to plow through if you keep trying to chase references themes and the mountain of devices he throws in there.

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Andrew
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Andrew » 30 Jun 2019, 22:22

After making it through The Tunnel and then finding Gravity's Rainbow much easier on the reread, I decided to take another crack at The Recognitions. I'm about 60% through, and this has to be the hardest book I've ever read. I don't know which is tougher: scenes that are 4-10 characters all talking over each other with no quotation marks or finished sentences, or the interior monologues that are nothing but dense allusions to religious history.
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JasonL
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by JasonL » 15 Aug 2019, 11:16

The wife and I have taken to an embryonic stage ritual of listening to one chapter of an audible book together on the sonos, maybe with a glass of wine, before bed. It is good for a no screen time buffer before sleep, it's an excuse to have a glass of wine, and we've found it enjoyable to sit on couch or go to patio and do huddle around the radio for story time vibes.

I started us up with Wyrd Sisters from Pratchett as her intro to Pratchett (because we are watching Good Omens).

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JD
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by JD » 15 Aug 2019, 11:38

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach. It's an interesting read, about all the things that happen to cadavers, whether it's mortuary services or organ donation or scientific testing. Sometimes I actually wish it were a little more dry and scientific instead of the author inserting herself into the story all the time, though.
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Warren
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Warren » 15 Aug 2019, 13:10

JasonL wrote:
15 Aug 2019, 11:16
The wife and I have taken to an embryonic stage ritual of listening to one chapter of an audible book together on the sonos, maybe with a glass of wine, before bed. It is good for a no screen time buffer before sleep, it's an excuse to have a glass of wine, and we've found it enjoyable to sit on couch or go to patio and do huddle around the radio for story time vibes.

I started us up with Wyrd Sisters from Pratchett as her intro to Pratchett (because we are watching Good Omens).
That sounds wonderful.
Only thing is experience has taught me that if I drink right before falling asleep, the quality of sleep I get is not great. That's probably due to exasperating my apnea though.
It's dumb out there kids, keep your heads down. - JasonL

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Tuco
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Tuco » 16 Aug 2019, 08:39

JD wrote:
15 Aug 2019, 11:38
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach. It's an interesting read, about all the things that happen to cadavers, whether it's mortuary services or organ donation or scientific testing. Sometimes I actually wish it were a little more dry and scientific instead of the author inserting herself into the story all the time, though.
Exactly. Her subject matter is always interesting, but her style is really flippant and annoying.

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D.A. Ridgely
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 16 Aug 2019, 21:54

I started George F. Will's The Conservative Sensibility, but I'm frankly bogged down by his reliance on natural rights arguments to make his case. That said, Will's writing is always pellucid if a bit precious for my tastes.

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Number 6
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Number 6 » 16 Aug 2019, 22:07

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
16 Aug 2019, 21:54
I started George F. Will's The Conservative Sensibility, but I'm frankly bogged down by his reliance on natural rights arguments to make his case. That said, Will's writing is always pellucid if a bit precious for my tastes.
Strange that anyone as educated as Will takes the notion of natural rights seriously.
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Warren
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Warren » 17 Aug 2019, 10:10

Number 6 wrote:
16 Aug 2019, 22:07
D.A. Ridgely wrote:
16 Aug 2019, 21:54
I started George F. Will's The Conservative Sensibility, but I'm frankly bogged down by his reliance on natural rights arguments to make his case. That said, Will's writing is always pellucid if a bit precious for my tastes.
Strange that anyone as educated as Will takes the notion of natural rights seriously.
As opposed to what?
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Number 6
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Number 6 » 17 Aug 2019, 13:06

As opposed too recognizing that there is no basis for believing in such things.
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Warren
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Warren » 17 Aug 2019, 13:32

Number 6 wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 13:06
As opposed too recognizing that there is no basis for believing in such things.
So there are no "rights" or basis for authority or anything, and reality is just like a construct man. Got it.
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dhex
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by dhex » 17 Aug 2019, 14:16

Obviously? I know you're being flippant but it's clear that natural rights are as socially constructed as you can get. See also founding of America v. Concurrent entrenched Slavery.
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Warren
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Warren » 17 Aug 2019, 14:23

dhex wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 14:16
Obviously? I know you're being flippant but it's clear that natural rights are as socially constructed as you can get. See also founding of America v. Concurrent entrenched Slavery.
Be that as it may. If you're going to build a civilization and have one of it's features be rule of law, assuming that's something you want to do, then whatever you build that on will necessarily be as socially constructed as natural rights. So poo hooing natural rights as something no intelligent person could take seriously is the same as saying civilization and rule of law are themselves irrational and ridiculous concepts.
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Hugh Akston
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Hugh Akston » 17 Aug 2019, 15:18

Warren wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 14:23
dhex wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 14:16
Obviously? I know you're being flippant but it's clear that natural rights are as socially constructed as you can get. See also founding of America v. Concurrent entrenched Slavery.
Be that as it may. If you're going to build a civilization and have one of it's features be rule of law, assuming that's something you want to do, then whatever you build that on will necessarily be as socially constructed as natural rights. So poo hooing natural rights as something no intelligent person could take seriously is the same as saying civilization and rule of law are themselves irrational and ridiculous concepts.
While it's true that the philosophical foundations of any civilization are going to be socially constructed, and that natural rights are one such example of a construction, it does not necessarily follow that natural rights are therefore a good foundation for civilization. There are arguments for respecting the autonomy and liberty of the individual that don't lean on the Noble Lies of outmoded ontologies. Claiming that God decreed it thus is going to render your argument unpersuasive at best to people who have abandoned God as the prime mover in philosophical matters.
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Warren
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Warren » 17 Aug 2019, 15:26

Hugh Akston wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 15:18
Warren wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 14:23
dhex wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 14:16
Obviously? I know you're being flippant but it's clear that natural rights are as socially constructed as you can get. See also founding of America v. Concurrent entrenched Slavery.
Be that as it may. If you're going to build a civilization and have one of it's features be rule of law, assuming that's something you want to do, then whatever you build that on will necessarily be as socially constructed as natural rights. So poo hooing natural rights as something no intelligent person could take seriously is the same as saying civilization and rule of law are themselves irrational and ridiculous concepts.
While it's true that the philosophical foundations of any civilization are going to be socially constructed, and that natural rights are one such example of a construction, it does not necessarily follow that natural rights are therefore a good foundation for civilization. There are arguments for respecting the autonomy and liberty of the individual that don't lean on the Noble Lies of outmoded ontologies. Claiming that God decreed it thus is going to render your argument unpersuasive at best to people who have abandoned God as the prime mover in philosophical matters.
Um okay. I'm not sure if you're equating "God decreed" with "natural rights" or not, but there's no contradiction in asserting the latter while denying the former.
There are arguments for respecting the autonomy and liberty of the individual that don't lean on the Noble Lies of outmoded ontologies.
I take this to mean that you find the concept of natural rights to be part of the "Noble Lies of outmoded ontologies". That's a very curious allegation. Where are the Nobel Lies in a theory of natural rights? Why are they outmoded?
And most of all, please articulate arguments for respecting the autonomy of liberty and the individual that are less offensive to your sensitivities.
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Hugh Akston
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Hugh Akston » 17 Aug 2019, 16:31

If we're admitting that Natural Rights are a social construct, then referring to them as Natural, much less spinning a creation myth about where they come from and how they continue to exist despite being regularly violated is already a Noble Lie.

The ontology of Natural Rights requires a foundation of either God, or—since rights are not observable in any other natural political system—that human beings are unique in the foundations and construction of their societies. Neither of those ontologies are, to put it mildly, popular currents of thought. Nor is putting a fig leaf on God and calling it Nature.

The other alternative is to simply assert Natural Rights as axiomatic, which is even less persuasive.
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D.A. Ridgely
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 17 Aug 2019, 16:34

The problem with natural rights is that rights are nowhere to be found in nature. There is noting objectively, empirically discernible about human beings on a par with, say, the fact that they are a carbon-based life form with a certain average lifespan, that they are language users and tool makers and so forth that we would count as a right. You can assert you have a right to life, to freedom, whatever, but if I deny that assertion, what can you point to about yourself that justifies that assertion?

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Re: What are you reading?

Post by nicole » 17 Aug 2019, 16:54

Hugh Akston wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 16:31
If we're admitting that Natural Rights are a social construct, then referring to them as Natural, much less spinning a creation myth about where they come from and how they continue to exist despite being regularly violated is already a Noble Lie.

The ontology of Natural Rights requires a foundation of either God, or—since rights are not observable in any other natural political system—that human beings are unique in the foundations and construction of their societies. Neither of those ontologies are, to put it mildly, popular currents of thought. Nor is putting a fig leaf on God and calling it Nature.

The other alternative is to simply assert Natural Rights as axiomatic, which is even less persuasive.
Uh p sure god is still popular
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Kolohe » 17 Aug 2019, 17:30

Number 6 wrote:
16 Aug 2019, 22:07
D.A. Ridgely wrote:
16 Aug 2019, 21:54
I started George F. Will's The Conservative Sensibility, but I'm frankly bogged down by his reliance on natural rights arguments to make his case. That said, Will's writing is always pellucid if a bit precious for my tastes.
Strange that anyone as educated as Will takes the notion of natural rights seriously.
I mean, he's still a conservative, in America, so this belief is standard OEM equipment for that sort of person - if someone unique to America.

Eta - for that matter, natural rights as a foundational mythos is a heck of lot better than other mythos conservatives can, and are, latching onto.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Aresen » 17 Aug 2019, 17:33

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 16:34
The problem with natural rights is that rights are nowhere to be found in nature. There is noting objectively, empirically discernible about human beings on a par with, say, the fact that they are a carbon-based life form with a certain average lifespan, that they are language users and tool makers and so forth that we would count as a right. You can assert you have a right to life, to freedom, whatever, but if I deny that assertion, what can you point to about yourself that justifies that assertion?
I have to agree with DAR's analysis: There appears to be nothing 'inherent' about rights. However, I tend to go with the Noble Lie for no other reason that the alternative is some form of utilitarian argument, which leads to the implication that 'rights' can be dispensed with whenever there is 'need to do so' (which really means 'whenever individual rights are inconvenient for those in power.)
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Warren » 17 Aug 2019, 17:36

Hugh Akston wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 16:31
The other alternative is to simply assert Natural Rights as axiomatic, which is even less persuasive.
Fine, it's less persuasive.

I'm not married to natural rights. I think of it like democracy. There are problems with it. You can even convince me it's fundamentally flawed. But if you ain't got anything better, and you don't, whadda we talking about?

As for Will, he has said absolutely abhorrent things on the regular over the decades. This makes me angry for the things he says that I agree with. I'm happy to see him fade from the public discourse.
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Hugh Akston
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Hugh Akston » 17 Aug 2019, 18:17

Warren wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 17:36
But if you ain't got anything better, and you don't, whadda we talking about?
We're talking about fundamental flaws in the myths underlying the social institutions that fail in their ostensible functions. It's either naive or intellectually dishonest to reject critiques of those myths and institutions because the critic doesn't have a fully-formed alternative ready to go out of the box, because that's not how anything works.
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JasonL
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by JasonL » 17 Aug 2019, 18:29

The Galaxy Brain for a lot of stuff starts at Blah Blah Construct is Platonic-like True, passes through blah blah Construct is not true it’s Socially Constructed, thence to My Other Thing is True Tho- wait, and into the final panel at Yeah Maybe We Should Just Pretend Certain things are True.

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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Warren » 17 Aug 2019, 18:37

Hugh Akston wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 18:17
Warren wrote:
17 Aug 2019, 17:36
But if you ain't got anything better, and you don't, whadda we talking about?
We're talking about fundamental flaws in the myths underlying the social institutions that fail in their ostensible functions. It's either naive or intellectually dishonest to reject critiques of those myths and institutions because the critic doesn't have a fully-formed alternative ready to go out of the box, because that's not how anything works.
I want a right to free speech. I want the right to say things you don't like. Natural rights gets me there.
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