Monday, July 07, 2008

Books You Should Be Reading Number 45 Of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

Sophie’s World, Jostein Gaarder

The most subversive people are those who ask questions. Giving answers
is not nearly as threatening. Any one question can be more explosive
than a thousand answers.

...

No link for this one, as every site that talks about it (including the bloody Amazon site, for frigs sake) decides to be clever, and gives away the mystery that is a large part of the point of the book...

I like almost everything about this one: the weirdness; the mystery of it all; but most specifically, the way that it renders Philosophy degrees completely obsolete. If we can just get every teenager on Earth to read this (and I’m working on it: I finished it last week, and have already given it to one, and gotten two others to promise to read it when she’s finished) then they can find their way to the works of specific thinkers that catch their interest, and we can finally force a large number of the more pallid denizens of Auckland University to shave and dress properly.

It’s for their own good...

9 comments:

damian said...

oh, yeah, that's a great book. read it many years ago when i was about 14.. (realised much later on that i didn't care for philosophy as a subject to study and i should've just left it at what that book taught me.)

HORansome said...

Oh for the love of a higher power; 'Sophie's World' is to Philosophy what the Three Rs were to education.

Apathy Jack said...

The essential foundations on which everything else can be built?

I agree.

HORansome said...

Really? Because good teachers agree the 3 Rs are a trite simplification that avoids the real work of educating the young.

Apathy Jack said...

Well, sure, in the same way that digging some holes and pouring concrete into them is a pretty crappy way to make a house - concrete-filled holes don't keep the draft out - but if you don't start with a couple of concrete-filled holes, the house you do build will fall down before you've finished hammering in the nails.

HORansome said...

See, trite simplification again (and also wrong, given that you can lay foundations for a house in a multitude of different ways). You need to do some philosophy (and stop reading crappy books that pretend to be about philosophy) so you can spot such things.

Apathy Jack said...

I'm not sure that saying (or, more accurately; strongly implying) that teaching children to use words and numbers before you try to teach them other things - such as philosophy, or any other complex abstract concepts - is a simplification; it's just a simple idea to begin with. I don't fancy teaching a child about Derrida before they can read words.

And I'd rather not do any more philosophy for two reasons:

1) I may not have shaved in weeks, or changed my clothes or showered in days, but it's nice to know I could do those things if I so chose; philosophy students seem to be graded on how filthy they can get their overalls.

2) I have my copy of Sophie's World and three volumes of Action Philosophers. What need have I of further philosophy?

Eric Olthwaite said...

This could be settled fairly easily methinks. All Horansome would need to do is show us a better foundation for education than learning how to read, write, and count.

Or maybe all Horansome is saying is that the non "Three R" aspects of school life are just as important, things like social skills, to which I would concur.

HORansome said...

You know, Jack, if you were actually talking about philosophers then your points might have merit, but I'm not sure what you're talking about, hygiene-wise.

As to Eric; aye, something like the former. I'm advocating teaching critical thinking skills, something most philosophers are very good at and most primary and secondary school teachers are not.