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Great Pseuds of Today,
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This review is from: How to Make a Human Being: A Body of Evidence (Hardcover)
I bought this book because I thought it might be about evolution, biology, history and stuff. In fact it's a self regarding and lazy conflation of quotes from physicists, philosophers, writers and the author himself, roughly arranged in the style of a renaissance commonplace book. There is no overarching argument which I could detect, so readers should perhaps regard it as a dictionary of the most embarrassing quotations.
If less is more, is nothing too much?
Human beings like to make things, but when the universe makes things, what are they? Being in the universe calls the thingness of things into doubt.
And so forth. Some but not most of the quotes or the author's aperçus are too long to fit in a fortune cookie.
Nearly all the great pretentious dead people appear: the Dalai Lama (well, OK he's not dead but not likely to sue for copyright infringement) Virginia Woolf, Aristotle, Plato, Descartes, Freud, Jacques Derrida, Victor Hugo, D H Lawrence, J P Sartre... add a couple more and a few Guardian or NYRoB columnists and you'd have a few sets for happy families.
Of course scientists say stupid things from time to time. We all do, shame on us. It seems to be a bit harsh to quote them out of context, but in context of this tripe.
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Initial post: 13 May 2014 21:59:56 BDT
The trouble is, these 'pretentious dead people' are perfectly all right in context (if you choose to read, say, Plato or Lawrence at length) - and I won't hear a word said against the NYRB - but Potter dices and slices and fills us with awe (supposedly) or with the philosophically obfuscatory equivalent of a ready meal
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