Archive for the ‘Politics Philosophy’ Category

Society, Politics & Philosophy Books

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Philosophy relates to a doctrine of ethics that is accepted within a society as a system of beliefs: it involves logical analysis about the subsistence and knowledge that surrounds those principles. The way I see it, philosophy is a word by way of an excuse to palm off somebody’s beliefs onto another person – but then, I’m cynical [and also studied philosophy at university!]. Philosophy is, however, closely related to society and sociology which is the way society rubs along together and, of course, politics is closely allied with society, politics and philosophy as well as with psychology, which is the study of how individual people rub along within society – or not, as the case may be!

Academic Philosophy
Bertrand Russell made a very true observation when he stated that: 

Morally, a philosopher who uses his professional competence for anything except a disinterested search for truth is guilty of a kind of treachery’.

An academic paper you won’t find within our academic philosophy section of the Society, Politics and Philosophy category was written by Steven Yates and entitled ‘Academic Philosophy Today: Thanks, But No Thanks’. Steven Yates has a PhD in Philosophy and published a vitriolic treatise outlining his disgust at what he saw academic philosophy degenerating into. As it happens, I agree with him. One book of his you will find there is ‘Civil Wrongs: What Went Wrong with Affirmative Action’. Basically, Steven Yates writes exactly what other people are thinking – and he does it quite acerbically!

When we think of civil rights one of the first things to spring to mind is racial discrimination – followed by racial integration and even racial equality. People, however, being people, don’t always think in accordance with the ‘Party line’: people see increasing levels of crime, high rates of murder in certain neighbourhoods and employers whose hands have been tied to a certain extent – they can no longer discriminate within the job market. Steven Yates writes about community autonomy, about certain standards within society that have, in effect, created an ‘underdog’ – which was never the intention of the Government.

Steven Yates, in line with the concepts of Ludwig von Mises, recognises how politically worthy is the underdog, where the victim, as the result of Government intervention [interference?] emerges victorious over education and other more attractive attributes. Steven Yates’ book is about modern life and how injustice reins supreme – including the mandatory discrimination, filtered down from central government, of the white middle-class male. Employers are now being marginalised into hiring black workers rather than having the total freedom to choose the best one for the job rather than face the possibility of a potential law-suit. Steven Yates defends liberty and the right to choose – and has little respect for today’s concepts of academic philosophy.

Academic Sociology
Academic sociology seems to have splintered into various factions, each keen to make their own positions felt – and acknowledged as the one true direction in which academic sociology should go. One of these factions has been run by the feminist lobbyists such as Caroline Bartlett Crane and Jane Addams. Is this a valid goal for academic sociology? Not all women are rabid feminists, with many women watching the antics of the feminist lobby with nothing short of derision in some quarters! Sociology should be about social justice and social reform per se, rather than focusing solely on a single aspect of the social argument.

When sociology was first developed as a discipline, there was rapid growth in industrialisation. As a result, urbanisation was developing and, to keep pace with demand immigration was encouraged – and, as historical events unfolded, essential. None of this needed to isolate the feminist cause as the sole thrust of sociology: it was just one view amongst many. Academic sociology was considered a progressive subject to study the rapidly evolving status of society within the 20th century and, more latterly, the 21st century.

I am certainly not referring to the feminist cause here just to sound off irrelevantly: you will find one of Linda Rynbrandt’s books amongst our pages of Academic sociology, featuring Caroline Bartlett Crane. The book is entitled ‘Caroline Bartlett Crane and Progressive Reform’, published by Routledge. To illustrate what I mean about the feminist cause being linked with academic sociology, this book has been sub-titled ‘Social Housekeeping as Sociology’.

Psychology Textbooks
Psychology is about individuals and how their behaviour impacts on the people around them. It involves how they think and how they act and the reasons why they think and act in the ways they do. You will find a range of interesting and diverse psychology textbooks within our category of Society, Politics and Philosophy such as the book on relationships and body language written by Leil Lowndes: ‘How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships’. A completely different kind of psychology textbook, written by Richard Gross is ‘Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour’. This book covers everything from substance abuse to health psychology and has been described as the ‘trailblazer in the psychology textbook revolution’.

True Accounts
This section on true accounts simply wouldn’t be complete without discussing the book about the life of Harry Patch who recently passed away at the grand old age of 111. Harry truly epitomised the ethos of his generation as explained in the book he wrote before he died: ‘The Last Fighting Tommy: The Life of Harry Patch, the Only Surviving Veteran of the Trenches’. The Times describes the book as a ‘deeply moving tribute to the courage and suffering of all who took part, and to the fallen’. A generation later and another World War: ‘The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition’ was written explaining what life was like in a small Dutch town for a young Jewish girl and her family, hiding away in fear of their lives.

More recent times brings more recent tales of true accounts: everybody has a story they could tell – and many have told the true accounts of how their lives have unfolded. You will find many more sections amongst our Society, Politics and Philosophy category – from sections on Warfare and Defence, to Women’s Studies, Social Sciences and Audio Books. They are all there for you to delve into – so, happy browsing!

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