Sunday, August 9, 2009

Reading Rat August 9, 2009

Updates to my recommended reading ... first postings on these authors:

A point of particular interest, in which the authors were far ahead of their time, is their recognition of the extent to which modern societies have “disenfranchised the family in the key area of education.” Of all the criticisms that can be leveled against the educational theories of John Dewey and his epigones, this is by far the most telling. --Wilfred M. McClay, Mediating Institutions, First Things, April 2009, review of To Empower People: From State to Civil Society (Twentieth Anniversary Edition), by Richard John Neuhaus and Peter Berger
See recommended reading by John Dewey

The design argument that Paley then proceeds to give replaces the watch with terrestrial flora and fauna and their intricate parts. Paley—evidently a keen amateur naturalist—gives many examples, from the diverse mechanisms of seed dispersion to the tongue of the woodpecker, but his example of the eye is the one typically quoted. How could such a “complicated mechanism” have arisen, Paley asks, if not by the action of a designer? --Alex Byrne, God: Philosophers weigh in, Boston Review, January/February 2009 (via Arts & Letters Daily)
See recommended reading by William Paley

He has mellowed the harsh sounds of the English trumpet to the soft accents of the flute. --Voltaire, On Mr. Pope and Some Other Famous Poets, Letters on the English, Letter XXII
See recommended reading by Alexander Pope

Writing at the time of Louis XIV’s absolutism in an era of austerely reflective Catholicism, Racine proposes an all-or-nothing morality, in which there is no grey area of compromise and good and evil cannot be altered or evaded. --Rupert Christiansen, Will Helen Mirren conquer Racine as Phedre? The Telegraph, Published: 3:25PM BST 08 Jun 2009 (via The Huffington Post)
See recommended reading by Racine

Updates to my recommended reading ... added to posts on these authors:

Mackubin Thomas Owens on Abraham Lincoln

Kevin M. Saylor on William Wordsworth

The Economist on Alfred North Whitehead

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