Plato’s reading suggestions, episode 90

Here it is, our regular Friday diet of suggested readings for the weekend:

Nobody ever wrote a best selling novel about Raphael, and yet…

Don’t believe in God? Try UFOs instead.

Monopoly was actually invented to demonstrate the evils of capitalism.

Take a cold shower, it’s a really good idea (but ignore what the author says about Stoicism, he’s got it wrong, as usual).

What cultural taste for chili peppers tells us about the evolution of social norms.

Umberto Eco and the 14 defining characteristics of fascism. See how many you can spot in the current Republican leader.

Want to be happy? Buy whatever makes you save time.

The problem of meaningless academic language.

Parenthood not recommended.


Please notice that the duration of the comments window is three days (including publication day), and that comments are moderated for relevance (to the post one is allegedly commenting on), redundancy (not good), and tone (constructive is what we aim for). This applies to both the suggested readings and the regular posts. Thanks!


Categories: Plato's Suggestions

85 replies

  1. Hi synred

    “I once wrote for a paper in high school, that if there was nothing, including now rules or laws, then there’s no reason something could come to be. I did not know about QM at the time.

    Silly I know.”

    Not sure how serious you are being, but this is the part I don’t understand. If there are no rules or laws then there can be no mathematics to describe that situation.

    So we start with a blank line. I follow so far.

    Then you have a non blank line with some mathematics.

    How was the non blank line derived from the blank line?


  2. I can derive the set of natural numbers from a blsnk line. Is it something like that?


  3. Deleuze is actually capable of writing in perfectly readable prose. His secondary literature scholarship on Nietzsche & Spinoza are written just fine actually and are recommended. It’s his own primary work that reads like complete gibberish.

    Thank you for your answer! As I specified, «not always»: I followed university courses with excellent professors formed into the continental tradition, in particular from phenomenology, marxism and german Idealism. However, most part of the lessons were spent in interpreting thoughts owing to a bad prose, rather than discussing theoretically those ideas, like analytic philosophy teaching.

    Nevertheless in Italy (where I raised and studied), Spain and France, a bit — but far less — in Germany, there is still this identification between obscure writing and meaningful philosophy, opposed to some mysterious “menance” to a true human understanding of man and his history, caused by empirical sciences; at least in italian academia, it is connected with scientific illiteracy widespread in our country, even among what are called “intellectual elites” — but fortunately the tendency is slowly changing. To sum up, the reason why I have chosen to continue my postgrad studies in UK.


  4. Per Robin, Parmenides, and Trump’s Twitterstream, one definitely never talks to the same Trump twice?

    Liked by 2 people

    • “You could step into the same river twice if walked down stream” –Helen Heraclitus

      From the Metaphysics lecture by Severn Darden (Second City)


    • I see a lot of dispute about Krauss title, but nothing about his thesis that that universes can arise just form the existence of quantum fields, even if there are no excitations. I’ve never understood even this (experimentalist). When I learned of virtual particles they were mere calculational devices in a perturbation expansion.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. “Socratic:’ “That said, I’m still not sure in my own mind that Trump is a fascist.

    Is Steve Bannon, though? Yes, I am convinced of that.”’

    So is Bannon, evidently: cf. Joshua Green, “Inside the Secret”, Vanity Fair, July 15, 2017.

    That Green article follows the trail of fascism from the traditionalism of Guenon to its recent flowering in various current nationalistic movements: Brexit, Le Pen, Palin & the Tea Party. Between these and Bannon/Trump, there’s a curious inconsistency between the push for weakening the central government and the simultaneous shift to a more authoritarian system.

    Liked by 1 person

    • W.R.T, Krauss book.

      Well I plunked down the money and bought the Kindle version of ‘A Universe from Nothing’. I agree the title is hype, but it does predate the book:

      >The direct genesis of this book hearkens back to October of 2009, when I delivered a lecture in Los Angeles with the same title.

      Krauss, Lawrence. A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing . Atria Books. Kindle Edition.

      This would indicates that the title was not changed solely to hype the book like the infamous ‘God Particle’

      He also seems to me to explain what he means by ‘nothing’ in both the original preface and the paperback. Indeed, it is not nothing, but then nothing is.

      I’ve only got through the prefaces so far, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to follow the thesis of the book well enough to form a ‘judgement’ about that.



  6. Thanks, wtc48. That was an interesting read, especially since at first I confused the author “Green” with the psychologist Joshua “Greene.” 🙂

    Reading the excerpt in Vanity Fair along with, say, Wikipedia’s entry on “traditional conservatism” and Orwell’s “Notes on Nationalism” from 1945 can be bewildering.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The premise of any particular authoritarian system depends greatly on its context, as in the forces both feeding into the central civil structure and those pulling against it.

    For instance, Putin has what has to be history’s most ideal situation to be an authoritarian. An enormous, powerful outside power that is definitely menacing the nation, yet likely far too distracted by its own multitude of issues to actually act on this intimidation. Along with a homogeneous population with a long history of outside threats, as well as the resources and territory to not only survive, but thrive in isolation.

    Meanwhile Trump is in the exact opposite position. A buffoonish character and reputation, who lucked into the leadership through the evident corruption and self absorption of the actual ruling profession and class. One which is consequently doing everything in its power to undermine him, likely to the further detriment of the institutional structure. Not to mention a country with very diverse allegiances, mostly tied together by an economic momentum that is now mostly coalescing to the financial, technological and media elite.

    It’s likely Trump’s most lasting institutional achievement, other than the corrosion of the institution that is as much a reaction to him, will be the Republican success at pushing through more judgeships, at all levels, than any other president in recent history. This likely has little to do with Trump though, other than his signing of the papers.


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