- Russell Blackford
- Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019) and AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021).
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Lots of books to read
The Harris book is one that will need a fair bit of attention when I can find the time. Harris is raising important issues about secular morality and public policy.
Right now, though, I'm reading AC Grayling's new essay collection To Set Prometheus Free: Essays on Religion, Reason and Humanity. As always, it's beautiful writing by Grayling, full of clear, humane thinking. The only problem for me is that I've read a fair bit of it before, in one form or another ... but I'm enjoying revisiting it.
Grayling is someone to cherish, the Bertrand Russell of our era.
Posted by Russell Blackford at 9:02 pm
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I might skip this Grayling book. All of his other books seem to be the same content just with a different cover. John Gray is heaps cooler.
I recently read AC Grayling's What Is Good?, it amazes me just how knowledgeable and eloquent he is.
Of everyone I saw speak at the GAC, I think I was most blown away by AC Grayling. Such an astonishing intellect. I should get my hands on a copy of this.
Can't wait for the Harris stuff!!
Hello, for all Washington, DC area residents reading this blog, Sam Harris will be discussing The Moral Landscape at GW Lisner Auditorium on Tue Oct 12: http://www.lisner.org/eventdetails.asp?id=611
The thing that really interests me about Grayling is that, although he writes with as much asperity as Dawkins, no one calls him strident or shrill. I'm not quite sure why this is, although the sheer elegance of style is perhaps one reason. If you read Gibbons' Decline and Fall right after you have read some Grayling, you will see a similarity, and it is interesting that he thinks Gibbon got the history 'correct in all outline' (which is often denied). There is a sweetness about his prose style, brightened by quick flashes of insight and wit. And that sense of having 'read a fair bit of it before' is a part of it. Certainly, you may have, but there is also a kind of inevitability about it that makes it sound familiar, as though you have always known it -- something Socratic, I think.
Regarding Eric's comment that 'John Gray is heaps cooler.' Perhaps, but he's almost always wrong, and usually self-contradictory.
And finally, the *only* man in Minnesota who says there is no God has suddenly become an arbiter on mental health...
COME SEE A PHOTO OF MABUS AND AN EXPLANATION OF IT!
Looking forward to Nick Agar's book too. I don't always see eye to eye with him, but he is very far from being a knee-jerk biocon.
re Greywizard's observation: The question of why Dawkins seems to put so many backs up really intrigues me, and I think it's one that atheist 'activists' need to address as clearly and dispassionately as we can if our arguments are going to be effective.
Well, shall I get down to boasting rights and say that last night was my first lecture with Prof Grayling. It's not quite as exciting as when he was my year tutor for the five days before he went off to make a BBC documentary but I will say his lectures are magnificent and most of the students agreed. He blasted his way through: an introduction to foundationalism; a brief history of Logical positivism that pretty much summed up my summer reading complete with its challenges and critics; an anecdote about flying through the Himalayas; Bonjour's Coherentism complete with analysis; tectonic geology; he even had time to finish with an elegant summation of his own Epistemology complete with dig at Wittgenstien. I don't think I've ever had a lecture quite tht complete.
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