Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

Philosophers squashed, discussed and read

When I can’t figure out where an author “is coming from”, I look at the list of references. Sometimes, this leads to philosophy. The best way to learn philosophy is a slow path of discussion in a seminars. For people with less time, I’ve discovered the web version of Glyn Hughes’ Squashed Philosophers books.

Is this a reasonable way to read philosophy? Hughes comments:

Philosophers are generally appallingly bad writers and you’re after ideas, not precise words.

Hughes suggests that you might be able to pass an exam by reading Squashed Philosophers, although for Squashed Divines and Squashed Writers, you would really need to access the original texts.

In addition, the original texts of many philosophers are translations, and there are often multiple translations from which to choose.

Clausewitz’s On War — which I’ve never really considered as a philosophical work — was written in 1830 in German. The 1873 translation into English by J. J. Graham is available on Project Gutenberg and on clausewitz.com . Christopher Bassford compares the various versions, highlighting that translators have their own philosophical foundations. Hughes re-edited the 1908 F. N. Maude version, saying that it was less than 1/10th the length of Graham’s version.

Business readers may also be interested in the Squashed Philosopher‘s version of Machiavelli’s The Prince, published 1520 — in Italian, if not Latin! Hughes used the 1908 W. K. Marriott translation (also available on Project Gutenberg and at the Constitution Society), with reference to commentary by Edward Dacre in 1640.

Another less painful way of reading philosophy is the illustrated (comic book version), as the Introducing … series by Icon Books. When my sons were all under 16 years of age, I brought home a copy of Introducing Heidegger, which they all read. This led to some really interesting dinnertime conversations.

As my eyes get worse, I’m reading less, and have taken to listening to audio. Back in 2001, I learned a lot about Heidegger by listening to recordings of Hubert Dreyfus’ Phil 185 class at Berkeley. Six years ago, it was revolutionary to have digital audio on the Internet. I see that the infrastructure at Berkeley has now caught up, and MP3 audio for the Fall 2007 classes is downloadable from webcast.berkeley.edu. I don’t claim to have ever read Being and Time, but I’m generally in line with Dreyfus’ reading of Heidegger.

While discussion is best, I also see that an recording of someone reading Machiavelli’s The Prince is available on the Librivox collection of the Internet Archive. There doesn’t seem to be version of On War for Librivox, which suggested that the Squashed version may be the best alternative.

I used to listen to Dreyfus’ classes while grocery shopping … but I’ve given that task to Diana in recent years. I’m not only behind in my reading, but also my listening!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • RSS qoto.org/@daviding (Mastodon)

    • daviding: Instead of using a t July 4, 2020
      Instead of using a text editor or Notepad on my computer for everyday work, I now use #Zettlr as a persistent scratchpad, a new page each day. The feature of creating #Markdown often helps in copy-and-paste to other applications. I haven't exercised #Zotero citations, yet, but probably will, shortly. > Roam let’s you manage knowledge, […]
    • daviding: The #GlobeAndMail ed June 29, 2020
      The #GlobeAndMail editorial declares that the brain drain of 15,000 Canadians to the United States between years 2000-2010 could be reversed, with corporations near-shoring northwards. > Canada already exerts a powerful pull on people from the rest of the world. A global Gallup survey, conducted from 2015 through 2017, shows Canada is one of the most […]
    • daviding: Consumer grade audio June 20, 2020
      Consumer grade audio and video recording devices are practically near professional broadcast quality. Post-production workflows have adjusted to becoming asynchronous for the daily late night television shows. https://www.theverge.com/21288117/late-night-seth-meyers-tech-gadgets-show-home-ipad-microphone
    • daviding: Authentically apprec June 10, 2020
      Authentically appreciating "causal texture" from the Emery and Trist (1965) article leads us through the meanings of contextualism and contextural, texture, causal, and transactional environment c.f. contextual environment. http://coevolving.com/blogs/index.php/archive/causal-texture-contextural-contextualism/ #systemsthinking
    • daviding: Racial bias in AI mo June 9, 2020
      Racial bias in AI models now sees IBM ethically prioritizing social responsibility ahead of technological capability. We can, but should we? Are responses on Twitter indicative of Silicon Valley morality? https://twitter.com/TechCrunch/status/1270159828980248584
  • RSS on IngBrief

    • Wholism, reductionism (Francois, 2004)
      Proponents of #SystemsThinking often espouse holism to counter over-emphasis on reductionism. Reading some definitions from an encyclopedia positions one in the context of the other (François 2004).
    • It matters (word use)
      Saying “it doesn’t matter” or “it matters” is a common expression in everyday English. For scholarly work, I want to “keep using that word“, while ensuring it means what I want it to mean. The Oxford English Dictionary (third edition, March 2001) has three entries for “matter”. The first two entries for a noun. The […]
    • Systemic Change, Systematic Change, Systems Change (Reynolds, 2011)
      It's been challenging to find sources that specifically define two-word phrases -- i.e. "systemic change", "systematic change", "systems change" -- as opposed to loosely inferring reductively from one-word definitions in recombination. MartinReynolds @OpenUniversity clarifies uses of the phrases, with a critical eye into motives for choosing a specific label, as well as associated risks and […]
    • Environmental c.f. ecological (Francois, 2004; Allen, Giampietro Little 2003)
      The term "environmental" can be mixed up with "ecological", when the meanings are different. We can look at the encyclopedia definitions (François 2004), and then compare the two in terms of applied science (i.e. engineering with (#TimothyFHAllen @MarioGiampietro and #AmandaMLittle, 2003).
    • Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language: Analysing, Mapping and Classifying the Critical Response | Dawes and Ostwald | 2017
      While many outside of the field of architecture like the #ChristopherAlexander #PatternLanguage approach, it's not so well accepted by his peers. A summary of criticisms by #MichaelJDawes and #MichaelJOstwald @UNSWBuiltEnv is helpful in appreciating when the use of pattern language might be appropriate or not appropriate.
    • Field (system definitions, 2004, plus social)
      Systems thinking should include not only thinking about the system, but also its environment. Using the term "field" as the system of interest plus its influences leaves a lot of the world uncovered. From the multiple definitions in the International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics , there is variety of ways of understanding "field".
  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on daviding.com

    • 2020/06 Moments June 2020
      Most of month in Covid-19 shutdown Phase 1, so every photograph is an exterior shot. Bicycling around downtown Toronto, often exercising after sunset.
    • 2020/05 Moments May 2020
      Life at home is much the same with the pandemic sheltering-in-place directives, touring city streets on bicycle, avoiding the parks on weekends.
    • 2020/04 Moments April 2020
      Living in social isolation in our house with 5 family members, finishing off teaching courses and taking courses.
    • 2020/03 Moments March 2020
      The month started with a hectic coincidence of events as both a teacher and student at two universities, abruptly shifting to low gear with government directives for social distancing.
    • 2020/02 Moments February 2020
      Winter has discouraged enjoying the outside, so more occasions for friend and family inside.
    • 2020/01 Moments January 2020
      Back to school, teaching and learning at 2 universities.
  • RSS on Media Queue

  • Meta

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
    Theme modified from DevDmBootstrap4 by Danny Machal