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Dr. Emily S. Ryall "emryall" (Bristol)

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Sport (Art of Living)
Sport (Art of Living)
by Colin McGinn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

1.0 out of 5 stars An arrogant book that demonstrates no knowledge of the entire field of the Philosophy of Sport, 1 Nov 2013
This review is from: Sport (Art of Living) (Paperback)
Colin McGinn has now been criticised in two completely separate fields of philosophy for showing absolutely no knowledge of the wealth of thought or discussion that has occurred in the areas.

He has recently been slammed for his book 'Basic Structures of Reality: Essays in Meta-Physics' by Kerry McKensie for "an impressively inept contribution to philosophy of physics" and the same has to be said for his foray into the Philosophy of Sport. One of the most eminent philosophers of sport, Scott Kretchmar reviewed this book for the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport and said,

"the text misses its mark. It does not accomplish what the series is designed to do. It neither opens up 'philosophy's riches' nor does it reveal philosophy as a 'great untapped resource'...Anyone who was even 'remotely familiar' with the literature in the philosophy of sport would have written a different book than the one authored by McGinn".

Essentially, McGinn makes few, if any, philosophical comments about sport. And he certainly doesn't make any interesting or original arguments. Most of them are either plain over-generalisation (stemming from his own autobiographical evidence which makes up most of the book) or completely banal.

If you really want to learn about interesting issues in the philosophy of sport, then McGinn's book is definitely not the place to find it.

The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia
The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia
by Bernard Suits
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best examples of readable analytical philosophy, 4 April 2011
This book is a superb example of analytical philosophy and is a worthy read for anyone interested in philosophy and / or the meaning of life. As Hurka says in his introduction, it is a much neglected gem, probably due to Suits' reticence in self-publicity and in its publication by the University of Toronto. Had this been published by a more popular (and pushy) publisher it would have more likely had the recognition it deserves.

Essentially this book was a reply to Wittenstein's notion of the interdeterminism of the concept of a 'game' which he argued couldn't be analytically defined with necessary and sufficient conditions but rather depended on the notion of 'family resemblance'. Suits demonstrates why he disagrees and forms a persuasive analytic definition. However, Suits doesn't do this by a boring piece of conceptual analysis but rather through an engrossing tale of an Ant and a Grasshopper (and a variety of other characters). Moreover, Suits doesn't just come up with a definition of a game, he goes on to suggest that the good life is one which necessary involves game-playing, and suggests that utopia would simply be a life spent playing games. Perhaps. And this is the clever bit - after using this book as a key text with some of my students, I'm now left wondering whether the whole book isn't Suits playing a game himself - with us. Only he knows.

But brilliant. Definitely a worthwhile read for bedtime or for in-depth study in a classroom or reading group.

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence and Action
Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence and Action
by Susan Jeffers
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too American and glib - nothing novel in it at all!, 14 July 2009
My partner was recommended this book and after he flicked through it non-plussed, I took a look. And to be honest, wasn't impressed at all. If you have an ounce of common sense and social intelligence, there will be little of interest to you. It basically tells us what we already know, 'to reach something of value, sometimes you just have to take a deep breath, dive in and swim to it.' That's it.

The other irritating aspect is that it's obviously written for the average American audience as it's quite patronising and queasy in places.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 2, 2013 5:48 PM GMT

The Fabric of the Cosmos (Penguin Celebrations)
The Fabric of the Cosmos (Penguin Celebrations)
by Brian Greene
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If I had a bible, this would be it!, 6 Jan 2009
This book is the most incredible book I've ever read. Okay, so it took me two years to get through it but that was because after every page, I'd have to put the book down to really try to get to grips with the ideas it was presenting. But the writing is clear, and the examples accessible (if you like the Simpsons that is!), and it is probably the best lay-man's explanation of the concepts of space and time that you're ever going to get. It is also structured really well - almost an historical account of the development of ideas - so that you feel your understanding of the concepts growing as they did throughout history itself.

It's just a great book, even though I'm still left with the feeling that I need to reread it several times to truly understand the fabric of the cosmos.

There is No Such Thing as a Social Science: In Defence of Peter Winch (Directions in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis)
There is No Such Thing as a Social Science: In Defence of Peter Winch (Directions in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis)
by Phil Hutchinson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £55.77

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great clarification of Winch and Wittgenstein's views..., 2 Dec 2008
If anyone wants a reminder as to the purpose of philosophical thinking and what it can and cannot do, then look no further than this clear exegesis of Peter Winch's seminal work 'The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophy'. In essence, the point that Winch was trying to make, that has so often been misinterpreted (though thankfully clarified by Hutchinson, Read and Sharrock), is that the desire to utilise and replicate the methods and achievements of the 'natural' sciences to the 'social' and 'human' sciences is profoundly mistaken. The concept of a 'social science' is a misnomer that merely displays itself as 'bad' philosophy and is the very scientism that Wittgenstein and Winch aimed to steer us away from.

I would definitely recommend this book (alongside the most recent version of Winch's Idea of a Social Science...) to anyone tempted by the mirages offered by what we call the social sciences.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 6, 2010 2:47 PM GMT

Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos
Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos
by M.M. Waldrop
Edition: Paperback

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unexpected gem, 7 Jun 2007
Don't ask me why I picked up this book - it just happened to be in the library next to some Philosophy of Science books that I was looking at. I had no idea what complexitity theory was but after reading it I am enthralled by its appeal to shed some light on the workings of our world. If it were a tv show it would be a documentary as it is pretty much an account of the inception and development of the Santa Fe institute in the US. And it is this documentary style of writing that makes something that could be incredibly dry absolutely riviting. It is an insight into the lives and minds of those scientists, economists and computer programmers who were at the forefront of a scientific revolution in the 1970s to the early 1990s. This revolution occured exactly because a couple of like-minded and driven guys saw that academics working in completely separate fields were studying different phenonena but understanding their underlying mechanisms in the same way and using similar metaphors to explain their findings. This is one of the few times where separate disciplines were contained in the same department and therefore they had (have) a much better chance in coming up with the elusive unifying theory that overcomes the limitations of simple reductionism and yet is more stable than pure chaos - hence the sub title 'edge of chaos'.

It is one of those books that is readable yet highly enlightening and historically interesting. I just regret the fact I've now finished it...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 1, 2008 11:50 PM GMT

Teaching Philosophy: Theoretical Reflections and Practical Suggestions
Teaching Philosophy: Theoretical Reflections and Practical Suggestions
by Kasachkoff Kasachkoff
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.76

2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth buying for degree level, 31 Dec 2004
This is an American book for American college students, and is not appropriate for British University students. I originally bought it hoping that it would include some material that I could use in seminars but it spreads itself too thinly and provides few practical ideas that can be used as class material.
There are significantly better ways that one could spend one's money!

The "Simpsons" and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer (Popular Culture and Philosophy) (Popular Culture & Philosophy)
The "Simpsons" and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer (Popular Culture and Philosophy) (Popular Culture & Philosophy)
by William Irwin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you want a good excuse for watching the Simpsons..., 31 Dec 2004
Will this book make you watch The Simpsons in a different light? Perhaps. Most probably, if you read this book you will be aware of the postmodern and ironic position that The Simpsons takes so you will not be too surprised at the intellectual interpretations authors have made of its meaning and message. In general, however, the conclusion that the book makes is that it takes no ideological or political stance at all and is simply a cartoon that is able to laugh at itself - the meaning one can find is one that one wants to find. Overall, it is a good read, though quite dry at times. I wouldn't agree that it is all philosophical since many of the authors are involved in media studies, sociology and contemporary studies, and their essays reflect this. Nevertheless there are some interesting philosophical interpretations, including ascribing Aristotelian virtue theory to Homer and Nietzsche to Bart. If you like philosophy and want to have an excuse to watch the Simpsons in front of your family then this is a good one.

Reading Rorty: Critical Responses to Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature and Beyond
Reading Rorty: Critical Responses to Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature and Beyond
by Alan R. Malachowski
Edition: Paperback
Price: £29.22

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Diverse collection with some interesting papers, 19 Dec 2003
This is a useful book if you are looking for varied interpretations of Rorty's writings and his philosophy. Malachowski provides a clear introduction to the essays contained within but you do really need to be familiar with Rorty's work to be able to understand the views of those writing. I personally found the essays by Martin Hollis and Charles Taylor the best written and most thought-provoking though the papers by Bernard Williams, Yolton, Jane Heal and Malachowski were also very interesting. I didn't sympathise with all the views included but this is a credit to the book's diversity of perspectives and I believe it is worth spending time on reading this collection if you are interested on how Rorty's words can be taken.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 2, 2011 12:24 PM BST

by Leo Tolstoy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational and affective philosophical writings, 14 Oct 2003
This review is from: Confession (Paperback)
There are some books that have a resonance with your inner sense and this, for me, was one of them. It asked all the questions about the meaning of life that I've ever been tempted to ask, and gave me relief that someone else has thought the same dark, depressing, thoughts that I have. And strangely enough, just the realisation that Tolstoy has been where I have been, gave me inspiration. I requested this book because I'm interested in Wittgenstein and many of his early writings were influenced by Tolstoy and I wanted to see what it was about Tolstoy that had such a profound effect on Wittgenstein. And now I feel I understand and have experienced this effect. It truly is one of the most incredible books I have ever read - but then I am a philosopher with a questioning mind - you may not be!

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