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Mr. A. P. Lloyd "efctony" (London)

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Hegel: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Hegel: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Peter Singer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All you need to know about Hegel, 14 Feb. 2012
I needed to research Hegel for a tutorial. Bought this. Read it in a student afternoon (that two hours between lunch and a quick snack before dinner): knew all about Hegel. In particular I knew not to bother going further. (Except for Popper's chapter in "The Open Society...", that's laugh-out-loud funny.)

Well written, accessible, clear and comprehensive (though, to be realistic, you could comprehensively summarise Hegel on one sheet of paper with one rude word)

No Title Available

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What do you do with the used blades?, 7 Nov. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Razor blades come in a little plastic box with a small slit at the top of one side allowing you to slide new blades out.

The boxes for blades that I have previously bought have a second slit on the bottom of the opposite side. This allows you to slide used blades *in*, keeping them nice and safely contained in a little plastic box.

There is no such slit on the packaging for these blades. The blades shave fine, but their disposal once they've done this shaving is a problem.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 24, 2012 7:41 AM BST

EU Flag Cufflinks
EU Flag Cufflinks
Offered by 1StopShops
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wear them all the time, 25 July 2011
This review is from: EU Flag Cufflinks (Apparel)
Obviously, the patriotic and political aspects are foremost in the decision to buy these. ("Who are you voting for in the election?", "Well I'm wearing a yellow tie and EU cufflinks, so take a guess"). I've had a pair for years.

But they are also a nice blue colour, they work well with a blue gingham shirt and a yellow tie or a pink shirt and a blue tie.

The only downside is that after about a year one of the flags fell off. Superglue fixed it though and now I'm back to being a smart patriot!

What is the Name of This Book?: The Riddle of Dracula and Other Logical Puzzles (Penguin Press Science)
What is the Name of This Book?: The Riddle of Dracula and Other Logical Puzzles (Penguin Press Science)
by Raymond M. Smullyan
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little book of fun logic. Reissue immediately!, 18 April 2011
Surely in the days of print on demand Penguin could exploit their back catalogue a little more.

A collection of very enjoyable logic puzzles that, despite being fun, are rigorous and take you to some interesting little parts of logic.

Scientific Irrationalism: Origins of a Postmodern Cult
Scientific Irrationalism: Origins of a Postmodern Cult
by David Stove
Edition: Paperback
Price: £36.50

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The World Revolves around how Stove Speaks, 29 July 2010
Stove's thesis fails at the beginning.

Opening the book Stove asserts that there is a lot of "knowledge". We can agree with him, there are a huge number of propositions stamped with the title "knowledge". It is blindingly obvious that we speak all the time of things being "known", that we draw distinctions between things that are "known" and things that are merely believed, or conjectured, or guessed at.

Philosophers' have claimed that knowledge is belief of that which is true and is justified. That's just a matter of reading the literature and we can, again, agree with Stove.

Now Hume, with Popper, Lakatos and Feyerabend following him, argued that no proposition about the world is ever justified. The result is that philosophical-knowledge is impossible and, if we are still to talk of "knowledge" we must be talking of something different. What Popper, Lakatos and Feyerabend tried to do was to elucidate this knowledge, a non-justificationary knowledge.

Popper, Lakatos and Feyerabend agreed with the opening premise of the book. They disagreed with Stove about the nature of what we *call* knowledge. This is not, at all, addressed by Stove beyond a grumpy insistence that he is "right" about language. But the language argument is irrelevant: how we term things affects neither their existence nor their nature. Call the everyday-use-of-knowledge "Pegasus" and it does not change what it is. Call the philosophical conception of knowledge "pretty-bunny-fluffy-niceness" and it doesn't call it into existence.

The book is entertainingly written and illuminates the philosophical blindspots of many "justificationist" philosophers. But beyond that, there is not much of worth.

(I have left out Kuhn as, in many passages, Kuhn seems to get round the seeming impossibility of justified, true, belief by relativising truth rather than dispensing with justification).

The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism
The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism
by Michael J Behe
Edition: Hardcover

18 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't even finish it, 7 Dec. 2009
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This was recommended to me in a response to a comment I made on a review of Dawkins' "Greatest Show on Earth". Apparently Dawkins had ignored the great arguments of Intelligent Design and this book would show just how much Dawkins and I had been missing.

My previous knowledge of Behe's arguments came from "Darwin's Black Box" were Behe puts forward "Irreducible Complexity". Mainstream biology popped up and pointed out that the idea was bunk and now Behe brings in another idea, that evolution has boundaries beyond which it cannot go.

Setting to, Behe describes one of those boundaries: the "arms race" (to use a Dawkins term) between humans and malaria. Behe demonstrates clearly that evolution can only do so much, can only do what looks like tinkering at the edges. In doing so Behe gives one of the most persuasive arguments I have read for evolution. Why can Behe make such a persuasive argument for this limit to evolution? Because evolution has stopped at a certain point. Behe can see the limit only because the balance between humans and malaria evolved. Were a designer to have got involved all evidence of the limit would have been eradicated, much like plastering a wall eradicates the evidence that there is a limit to how smooth the bricks were. If features betray a visible limit it establishes that those features evolved.

Can we come up with any other limits to evolution? Oh yes, yes indeed. The tetrapod skeleton: that's constant throughout the land vertebrates. That pushes the boundary of what evolved to the oceans. Can we go further? I ran off to a biologist to see if we could. And yes we can: there is no component of a mutli-celled organisms cells that is not also present in single cell organisms. As Behe says the cell contents are a limit on evolution. If the designer had gotten busy after mutli-celled animals arose we would not see this: we do, so he didn't.

At this point I began to wonder what great secret Behe could tell me. The designer may have had a hand in the origin of life but, from the protozoa onward, it's evolution all the way!

What can Behe be going on about? He accepts Common Descent. He accepts Natural Selection. His only dispute with Darwinism is Random Mutation. I gritted my teeth and plowed through a little more of the book. Some dodgy statistical reasoning followed (Behe's good at establishing the denominator, woeful at establishing the numerator) at which point I realised: he hasn't got a mechanism! The genome is causal in the development of the organism, all changes in phenotype involve changes in the genome. Behe accepts that the genome changes, he also accepts that he doesn't know how and cannot predict in what way. Now how a die falls is determined by physical laws and the initial starting conditions. We cannot calculate how it will fall: so we call it "random". Behe cannot predict the changes in the genome and so they are random.

At this point I had got to the stage where the main biologist in the ID movement had affirmed the evolution of all higher plants and animals and had (explicitly or implicitly) accepted Random Mutation, Common Descent and Natural Selection. I closed the book.
Comment Comments (12) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 21, 2013 5:26 PM GMT

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Hardcover

31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All of biology is here, 6 Sept. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
That's an exaggeration, but it certainly feels as if Dawkins has taken you through everything: I now know stuff about embryology!

I doubt it will convince the history-deniers (good term Richard). Just like the holocaust-deniers the history-deniers are motivated by things other than a search for truth. The history-deniers will never be satisfied. No matter how much evidence is in this book they will demand more detail. Not much extra could be added to this book without changing it into something else. I suspect that adding more biology would change it from a book for everyman to one for first-year biology undergraduates. To move from outlining evidence to rebutting some of the cod-philosophical objections raised by creationists would turn it into a philosophical work.

As it is what we have is a fantastic overview of the field. It is an overview along the lines of "A Brief History of Time", but as clear, comprehensible and as well written as "A Brief History of Nearly Everything".
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 8, 2009 7:28 PM BST

Popper Selections
Popper Selections
by Karl R. Popper
Edition: Paperback
Price: £23.76

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, come on!, 25 April 2008
This review is from: Popper Selections (Paperback)
I noticed that the only review of this was rated at three stars and thought "Oh, come on! How can this be anything less than five?".

Unless you're onto the "hard stuff" of Logic of Scientific Discovery, Conjectures and Refutations, Objective Knowledge and The Open Society and Its Enemies this is your best bet for the most important philosopher of the 20th century. It was the second Popper-related book I read. The first, Bryan Magee's "Popper", is an excellent summary. This book goes a little further in actually being Popper's writings. He had a fantastic style and a very clear train of thought. Reading it is a liberating experience: here is a great philosopher grappling with real problems, formulating real solutions and communicating in a way that you can understand.

A life changing (or at least intellectual-life changing) book.

The God Delusion
The God Delusion
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Paperback

9 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Logical Errors and a Google Search, 26 Feb. 2008
This review is from: The God Delusion (Paperback)
Religion is evil - Dawkins simply ignores the evidence that does not fit his contention. He shows that some religious people not only do evil but do so because of religion. He fails to show, however, that religion is a subset of evil motives or that evil motives are a subset of religion. In other words he fails to show "if its religion then its bad" or "if its bad then its religion" yet ends up with religion is evil.

'Is' implies 'ought' - no it doesn't Dr Dawkins. Your entire argument purporting to show the evolution of ethics has absolutely no ethical import. You have just expounded a factual theory surrounding human behaviour. No ethics. Its a pity because you seem to berate theists for the fallacious argument implicit in "if God doesn't exist where do morals come from' only to commit the same fallacy!

McGrath's reply (The Dawkin's Delusion) is very well researched. Dawkin's book isn't. Whereas McGrath cites repsected and respectable philosophical works Dawkins often quotes a "Google Search" as research!

It's a very poor book. Christopher Hitchens' is much better.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 25, 2008 10:29 PM BST

Out of Error: Further Essays on Critical Rationalism
Out of Error: Further Essays on Critical Rationalism
by David Miller
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £95.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Takes no prisoners, 11 Feb. 2008
Many authors, whilst quite ready to broadly accept Popper's Critical Rationlism, cling to some residual (or not so residual) concept of empirical confirmation.

David Miller holds no such view. Following on from "Critical Rationalism: a restatment and defence" this collection of essays follows the Critical Rationlist argument where it leads. David Miller simply refuses to make any efforts to accommodate the psychological need we have for 'good reasons'.

All in all an excellent 'purist' view.

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