Monthly Archives December 2010

Lynda.com doesn’t satisfy me

 Lynda.com is a subscription site that offers training videos that teach you how to use a whole range of software. It looks very professional, but I’m not yet convinced enough to fork over even the cheapest $25/month subscription. Here’s why. I recommend the following guides: Brett Kelly’s “Evernote Essentials”, Dan Gold’s $5 guides to Getting […]

The art of persuasion

Ever since Aristotle’s “Rhetoric”, people have been interested in the power of persuasion. Today, I came across an unusual but possibly very effective way that neatly sidesteps arguments: to place a bet. Economic Optimism? Yes, I’ll take that bet. As the leader of the Cornucopians, the optimists who believed there would always be abundant supplies […]

Intellectuals 4 – what are they?

What is an intellectual? Johnson makes a clear distinction between writers, artists, men of letters on the one hand and intellectuals on the other. Of course, a person could be both, and Edmund Wilson is a good example: someone who started out as purely a writer, then became an intellectual, then gave that up and returned […]

Intellectuals 3 – Brecht and Sartre

Intellectuals 3 – Brecht and Sartre (Part 1 here, and part 2 here.) I’ve just finished chapter 9 Sartre (I’m not blogging about Hemingway chapter 6 or Bertrand Russell chapter 8). Would you believe it? Sartre and Brecht were complete bastards, especially to their women, just like Rousseau, Shelley, Tolstoy, Ibsen and Karl Marx! (Why did […]

Intellectuals 2 – Tolstoy

This post is about Paul Johnson’s book “Intellectuals” and follows an earlier post on the first few chapters of that book. In the chapter on Tolstoy, we read that the “great man” was, like all the others  in this book so far, undoubtedly a great writer, but also an egotistical monster, a liar, an ungrateful scoundrel. […]

Intellectuals? Bah, humbug!

In his book Intellectuals, Paul Johnson takes a close look at some key figures of modern times whose thoughts and writings have had a huge effect on people’s thinking for a long time, right down to today. Johnson examines the personal lives of these famous men (Lillian Hellman is the only female intellectual in this book), and […]

Scientism

Scientism is the idea that natural science is the most authoritative worldview or aspect of human education, and that it is superior to all other interpretations of life.[1] The term is used by social scientists such as Friedrich Hayek,[2] or philosophers of science such as Karl Popper, to describe what they see as the underlying […]

Key ideas – a list in progress

Camouflaged ! Originally uploaded by Kamala L See the picture? Can you help her pick out the handful of items that she really needs to keep? What are the key ideas in the field you are teaching? If you are teaching American history or culture or literature, what are the key ideas that you think […]