What's in your Library?

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Reply Wed 30 Jul, 2008 11:30 am
Can a dead person get well?
Reply Wed 30 Jul, 2008 01:19 pm
I only have one book, and it's myself.
Reply Wed 30 Jul, 2008 02:56 pm
My reading in Philosophy has just begun, so I don't have much of a Philosophical bookshelf to speak of. My bookshelf is packed with literature & chess books, but to give an idea of what I read, my purchases over the last 2 weeks have been:

Hermann Hesse: Klingsor's Last Summer, Peter Camenzind
J.D Salinger: For Esme With Love and Squalor
John Steinbeck: Tortilla Flat
William Styron: Sophie's Choice
Thomas Mann: The Holy Sinner, Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man
Royal Highness, Death in Venice and 7 other stories, Essays

Descartes: Meditations on First Philosophy
Religion and Philosophy (unknown ed. until it arrives)
The Concise Encyclopedia of Western Philosophy & Philosophers
edited by J.O. Urmson & Jonathan Ree
de Silentio
Reply Wed 30 Jul, 2008 06:32 pm
FatalMuse wrote:
My reading in Philosophy has just begun, so I don't have much of a Philosophical bookshelf to speak of.

If you are looking for good introduction texts to philosophy, I suggest Frederick Copleston's The History of Philosophy series.
Reply Thu 31 Jul, 2008 08:41 am
@de Silentio,
I agree with de Silento on the Copelston texts as a good introductory to philosophy series. I have found volumes 4 and 5 on the rationalists and empiricists invaluable to me. Whats great about the series is that they give you a brief yet very thorough history of the philosopher himself before they get into the material. Knowing the background of the philosopher is very helpful. But you don't have to read the book from page one because each philosopher has its own section, which is a relatively short section considering the density of some of texts they are famous for. And it makes sense, like a cliffs notes version of the original text. Further, it tells you what to look for when you do read the original text. Great series.
Reply Thu 31 Jul, 2008 03:23 pm
Thanks for the suggestion, I have had a look at a local online bookstore and they have the complete series. I also noticed it is currently 11 volumes which would cause considerable distress to my pocket, though I guess I don't need to buy them all at oncee. Would you recommend buying the individual volumes or would the concise compiled edition (below) be a suitable introduction?

Copleston's History of Philosophy, Concise Edition - edited by John Cumming
Reply Thu 31 Jul, 2008 03:34 pm
Yeah, it's a great series. You can indeed buy the individual volumes if you want. The series is not connected in any way accept for the chronology of the philosophers in the different books. You could pick up volume 5 and not notice that that there are any other books in the series. I only have volumes four and five on modern philosophy, but I have found them especially useful. They function as a very good companion reader, where you could read the original text of Descartes meditations on first philosophy and follow along in the Copelston book, which underlines the key features you should look for. But now in hindsight, I could have just read the Copelston books and got the same amount of relevant information.

This is a link to amazon with all the books on it. They are not that badly priced since when I bought them a while back. I originally paid $50 for each book. But this was also at the school bookstore, so go figure.

Amazon.com: history of philosophy copleston
de Silentio
Reply Thu 31 Jul, 2008 07:28 pm
FatalMuse wrote:
Would you recommend buying the individual volumes

They're free at the library. Or the pseudo-library: Barnes and Noble.
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 05:05 pm
@de Silentio,
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 06:47 pm
Hello there,
I have O/S maps ....I can't read you see but I do use maps a lot:shocked:
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 04:51 am
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 10:56 am
I don't think the original topic of the thread was as much "my library is this big" but rather "how does my library reflect who I am." It's kinda like the Capital One credit card commercial question "what's in your wallet?"

This brings up a question that developed from the very beginning until now. Does the size of your library reflect just how familiar you are with philosophy? Does it really matter? Can you have just one book in your library and still be an accomplished philosopher? If you do have a lot of books in your library, how does its organization reflect your primary interests in philosophy? It seems like many people have gotten in the hang of just listing the books they have rather than the deeper aspects of their library.

For example, there are five new books I have that I just got off of Amazon, namely "A Guide for the Perplexed" series. I bought them but I do not have time to read them, so I just filed them in my shelf where I thought at the time they should go. Heck, I paid good money for them, I'm sure as heck going to display them in a prime spot to remind me of that. Thus then main question. Why are those books the way they are? Why did I put them all together as a series instead of putting them in their respective sections (i.e. greek, roman, post modern, etc.). Am I arrogant to arrange the most complex books in the most noticeable spot but ones I may not completely understand? Could my most favorite philosophy book "philosophy for the periodontal ligament" (an analysis of ultimate tooths... hahaha get it? ultimate tooths! BaZING) be hidden in the bottom left corner because it's not as cool as Aristotle Metaphysics?
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 12:12 pm
my thoughts, and I have a right to obtain them where I can, and to express them where I like. I gave a few thoughts on books in some previous postings, and I do claim the philosophical relevance of at least a few of the implied questions. But I know that my mind is small, nothing compared to a "real" philosopher. Perhaps the most obvious conclusion is that I should quit collecting and give away all my books to those who are worth it. Perhaps to those who need only a few books, or who need no books at all? Aah humbug!
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 07:02 pm
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 07:50 am
Hm, quite a mix of emotions again. Vid, you know what you are doing, don't you? Enabling me to talk about books here? Could be dangerous for all of us. What if I couldn't stop talking anymore? What if I started loosing all sense of relevance and proportion? What if I entered the realms of the awfully anecdotical, like telling you about that goldmine I once found, being the uncredible collection of a deceased booklover? Why can some "do" with only a few books? Because the association-field, the content -both actual and potential- of each separate book is metaphorically "infinite", my pathetic project being to collect an infinity of infinities. Take Shakespeare for example: take him to that island, and you'll take the world with you (you know the old question of course: if you could take but one book with you to an uninhabited island...?). Ok, I guess we understand each other, and I will not give an extensive reaction on your posting, especially not about the technicalities of conservation. Personally I have only a few books with brittle paper, but I am more concerned about the general conservation-conditions in a house that is also inhabited by humans. This may not be the best temperature or the best of relative humidity, and there is also too much light here; I can almost hear the molecules snap. No, just a few random theses now, that may be provocative enough to invite a broader audience. Mind I tend to use some (?) rhetorical exageration, but everybody here will be able to see that in the right perspective. On the Forum one must speak loud enough to be heard, and these matters are not unimportant...

-From the conservational point of view the computer is often the enemy of the traditional book. The massive digitisation drains funds and energy from the careful conservation of a medium tested by the centuries, being the paper "codex" or hard-copy book. Hard-copy books are vulnerable and will always have many enemies, but (quality) paper is also relatively resistent and parchment is almost eternal. And this while the various ways of digital coding and formatting are still hardly established, and will almost certainly become a huge problem in the future. The present day pre-occupation with digitisation suffers from a short term perspective, and is in fact largely determined by the personal ambitions and the commercial interests of those involved. Some librarians are career-minded and would do anything to stay in the spotlight. Thousands of books becoming less important than their power-points.

-Books are free to go their own way through the world, eventually to be found in a mildewed cartboard box (*). The digitisation of the book may lead to the control of a few firms and their assets (G..?) over mankinds cultural heritage. In fact G... doesn't give a d... about the "real value" of the books they digitise, or about mankind's cultural heritage. They only want to consolidate their market-position, create a return-on-investment, get break-even and increase their stock value, all this on a worldwide competitive information-market. And digitisation happens to be another way to attract "traffic"; the rest is for the marketing departement, where they learn to use the right words towards librarians and to manipulate their ideology. In fact the whole thing is just another economic power-play and culture is not only a market, it is becoming a hostage. I hope people realise that after digitisation G... will try to destroy all hard-copy books, because in spite of all efforts they will not easily destroy by themselves. Hey, somebody has some rusty old gun for me? ;-)

-The digitisation of the world's books has only a relative worth from the point of view of access and indexing, but it is NOT stimulating reading. On the contrary the computer hollows out reading, being the time-consuming and effortful assimilation of massive amounts of information (War and Peace is in the dutch translation over 1000 p., I overcame it ;-) ). The computer reduces the immense "Gestalt" of the book to a number of excerpts or citations. And once the young have found what they were looking for, they will hardly look any further, and hardly suspect there's a context or even a whole world behind the excerpt. By the way a little poll: who has ever read a complete book on a computer screen? Seems that reading War and Peace like that is just a perceptual problem for old farts like me, but I wonder...

Yes, old fashioned, reactionary, loving the smell of them, still seeing the magic, still feeling the discovery, here he is: the boy who was once dazzled by books and stayed for hours on the attic, reading, browsing, becoming the book, the book becoming himself, his heart, his ever-lasting love. I'm an old fart indeed, and I distrust computers, simple as that, but the book keeps me young at heart and passionate, as a reader as well as a collector. I think we somehow agree folks, and I'm happy to be around. But about books, and today's world... what are your thoughts??

(*) "Habent sua fata libelli". Books have their adventures (destiny?).
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 12:57 pm
Taswell Langmeads Constitution can simply go on www.openlibrary.orgkindle and bring my law library with me. This is an option that I am seriously considering, even though I am very into books... it's just practical.

I like books as much as the next person, but I like the information more. If it means digitalization to preserve the information, then so be it. People will adapt I suppose.
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 04:17 pm
Taswell Langmeads Constitution can simply go on www.openlibrary.orgkindle and bring my law library with me. This is an option that I am seriously considering, even though I am very into books... it's just practical."

It may be practical but it is also vulnerable, from the hardware as well as from the software point of view. Let's drop a book and a "kindle" from the same height, let's say five meters or something (this is Europe). The book is only slighty damaged but your expensive kindle is gone, kaputt, foutu, and so is all the information on it, including your multimedia and your notes and addresses and the pics of your kids, or whatever possible with that kind of thing. Oh, just buying the newest model and downloading the information again. But that book on the First Amendment that I needed isn't there anymore?? Sorry sir, we took that out of the package, while nobody was interested and while it does not reflect he current tendency to equal creationism to evolutionary biology... Yes that's all rhetorical, but the flexibility of digital information may also have its risks, while we are able to change and even destroy it faster than ever. The attitude of your law-librarians being just trying to protect what they serve, the solid ground of the printed word...

"I like books as much as the next person, but I like the information more. If it means digitalization to preserve the information, then so be it. People will adapt I suppose."

Books are more than information, plain and simple. They are faithful and trustworthy friends, companions throughout life. Imagine your house without a single book or a single newspaper, just the huge screen of your MONSTER (Massive On-Line Newly-Styled Technological Electronic Resource). Now the Government goes at war, and the two remaining Information Providers are supporting that, digitized information being the easiest to delete or change by just a few key-strokes. Would you still feel as comfortable as with books? People adapt too easily indeed, and their convictions are too easily manipulated. The books to read here are Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and 1984 by George Orwell. Yes, at least some of my collection I read... Smile

Hello, happy I can still edit. I just wanted to add that a rational investigation could prevent a senseless polarisation in this matter. One could list the advantages as well as the disadvantages of both media (paper and digital), compare the lists and make some general statement. I think the conclusion would be obvious: they are complementary, for the personal use of individuals as well as in a library context. One often hears the term "hybrid" library nowadays, expressing a philosophy that tries to make the best of both worlds, each side adding some value to the other (take the automated catalogue). As an individual (and certainly as a hobbyist) one has more freedom in accentuation than libraries: one can either be a book-nerd or a computer-freak. And of course in all cases the major constraint is the available budget. It's important not to confuse the professional dimension with personal preferences though, and certainly not with prejudices or frustrations. For large personal investments (like your law-library) the investigation must also be extended to analysing your information needs, articulating your general and more specific purposes, etc. Just like in a professional context. Always prepared to help... Smile
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 01:40 pm
Catchabula wrote:
Hi Vid. Just a few remarks that I wanted to deliver here before going to bed. But I didn't see how to quote yet :-( . I'll show your words in a different type.
parenthesis instead of [ ] brackets because otherwise this would be "quoted"
3.Then put the content you want to address in between that header and the end quote (i.e. [/quote]

So take for example a section of your previous post "The most sensible way would be to determine the factual life-span of each medium, and that may not be so simple"

I quote from that specific post by copying it into a word processor (or the post thing here, copy and paste the header from that post, then copy and paste the section I want to address, and then insert at the end of the section the [/quote].

Catchabula wrote:
The most sensible way would be to determine the factual life-span of each medium, and that may not be so simple

I usually write all of my responses on word before I post, so this way works best for me. You may or may not like it, so try and see.

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