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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Metaphysics: A Very Short Introduction by Stephen Mumford

Metaphysics: A Very Short Introduction by Stephen Mumford published by Oxford University Press, 2012.

Are you a Materialist?

Are you a follower of Hume? Do you believe that the empirical observation is the only right way to do the science?

If the answer to the above questions is YES then this book is not for you. Do not read it. If you do then you will not like to give good comments on it. You may come up with such comments that the Metaphyscist would smile at your stupidity if even you are a science expert.

I bought this book because I have read a book on Hermeneutics in the same series. It is a cheaper than that book. Secondly, I thought that Metaphysics deals with soul, spirit, God, esoteric science, will power etc. I wanted to have an expert view on it. I searched for Stephen Mumford. I found that he is in service teacher (presently on resarch leave). I bought it.

I read it and found that I did not have the right understanding of this topic. I got some glimpse of the actual meaning of the subject. I believe that I have done an actual metaphysics.

I definitely exercised a big level of perseverance, continuity and consistency in reading this book. However, I can not say that I have understood everything. I want to accept that many a times I pretended to have understood but in reality I did not gather much. However, wherever I was able to sustain good understanding and continuity, it had definitely refined my ability to exercise my thoughts.

The chapter making is very fascinating.

The first chapter is "What is an Introduction?" I am unable to decide to which side or to whom this question is directed.

In the chapter there is no clear cut definition of Metaphysics. One may imagine after reading the chapter that the writer is making you comfortable with the topic and it is his way of encouraging you to seek a glimpse of the subject. One may believe that he will give something substantial in the next chapter.

I also approached the next chapter with some expectation. But the title of the chapter was "What is a Table?" Well, as far I am concerned, I have never asked this question to myself or to someone. I take it granted that everyone knows that what is a table. But, when I ended the reading, which I was able to do without knowing anything about Metaphysics, I stopped paused to think and evaluate to know my gain in knowledge. After some efforts I learned that I have learned about the particular and properties concepts. But I failed to understand the idea of red colour snooker balls. I am definitely going to read this small book once again.

The story did not end here. The next question or the chapter is, "What is a Circle". Well, that is one question which one may come across in the classroom of mathematics teacher once in his life time. However, I did not learn any thing about pie or any calculation about the circle, but whatever I was made to think and perceive about circle was definitely something new. The writer took hold of the movement of my thought process and then juggled it. Then came the topics on change, cause, time, person, and possible. These were things which I knew earlier but after reading them, I came to know that I could know them in a better way. However, in the case of some chapters, I was not able to sustain my attention and comprehension. I pretended to understand them but I was not clear on what I had read. There was no technical jargon, no Latin or Grecian words but even then I failed to make a coherent sense out of them. It became more apparent in the chapter Nothing Something. I accept that I have never thought in that manner.

The last chapter begins with the topic What is Metaphysics? Can you get a sense out of it?

The chapter What is Metaphysics could have been the first chapter. However, it is the last chapter. Secondly, in this chapter, again you do not get any definition of Metaphysics. The only phrase which I can remember is that it is a acrobatics of Thoughts. The writer has given the scope and range of the subject of Metaphysics. But, I am not able to identify any statement which can be used to say that this is Metaphysics. However, there is an uncanny feeling that I may not have found the definition of Metaphysics but I have worked and thought like a Metaphysicist. 

I am ready to read this book once again.

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Hermeneutics: A Very Short Introduction by Jens Zimmermann

Hermeneutics: A Very Short Introduction by Jens Zimmermann, OUP, 2015 (Second Impression First Edition). Hampshire, UK.

ebook ISBN 978– 0– 19– 150854– 7

How deeply, strongly, ardently, loudly and extremely, I wish that the definition of History that it is a study of Past, should be demolished, destroyed, annihilated, extinguished and removed from the world of human consciousness. It is debarring humanity from exercising the art of interpretation whereas, in History, there is the first ground to exercise it. No doubt, in the field of law and science, it is also exercised.

How did I find this book?

After every post, I display some advertisements. I do not have any fixed plan or policy that I adopt in order to execute the activity. However, I definitely follow some steps.

After ending the reading of the book and then writing down my observations which actually is a continuous process that runs along with the reading of the book, I get influenced by this activity. The influence here means that some phrases, ideas or understanding dominates my perception and consciousnesses. That aspect is definitely present in forms of Words. Those words become the search words on Kindel store.

The search on Kindle store display some titles. Now, I try to pick those titles. One of the major criteria is the price. If it is too costly like crossing ₹500/- I do not consider it at all. If the prices are less than that I go through the basic introduction on it as displayed on the Kindle website. I do not give much time to it. I make quick decision to collect the code and then display it in the blog in the Advertisement section.

This is not the right approach. It involves the issue of ethics. I should not display a title which I have not read. Keeping aside this ethical issue, I generally myself explore the contents of the books as far as it is given in the 'Inside Look' feature. Apart from the price factor, another criterion which works is the name of the author, topic and publisher. There are always many questions which remain unanswered. I have been dealing with topics like Conscious and Subconscious, Logic, Perception, Mind, Religious Studies, History etc. Among all these concepts and ideas, the very act of driving meaning in brain or Mind is in itself an issue. In other words, it is called interpretation.

One generally hears that one should be logical in his reasoning. One should be rational. One should be analytical. One should be intelligent. What are all these expectations? These are the issues which I am trying to settle. Among all these, the issue of interpretation is one of the issues.

While collecting, reviewing, evaluating, browsing, exploring different titles and contents, I came across the books of Oxford University Press. I remember that I got attracted towards it when I located a title on Post Modernism. The "Inside Look" did not attract me much. However, it definitely showed me that there are books by OUP in e-book form. By now, if one checks the different display in the advertisement section, it can be easily found, that I have displayed more books by Penguin Publication.

When I had written a review on Logic by W. W. Atkinson, it was then, I located this book Hermeneutics. The prize was good. The publisher is with a reputation of credibility. It is another thing, that for we Indians, the very perception and intellectual activity in the field of western literature, science and philosophy are initiated, framed, nurtured and guided by Oxford University since the days of Charles Wood Dispatch and first three Universities of India. The rest of the story may bring another set of names and authors. But the story begins from there. However, if one goes deeper into this issue, then, it was Raja Rammohan Roy who pioneered the publication of contents based on Western science, literature and Philosophy along with David Hare, the Watch Maker. He did it not only in case of Western Thought and Culture but also in case of Sanskrit and Bengali language. William Jones had also directed the attention to the world of thoughts and philosophy available in Sanskrit and Apasbrham Languages (other languages of India).

Coming back to the act of selection, the requirements of understanding further the act of interpretation, which I am of the view, is the first act to be performed by the Brain and Mind, in which order you may prefer to say, a publisher with credibility and the right pricing, made me select this title.   

Short, then very short and an hourly history:

We want a long car. We want a big house. We want a long holiday. We want a large share. We want a big bank balance. But we want a brief explanation. The factors of Long and Big are not entertained there. Who has decided it? Survey – What Survey? Some Legal Judgement- What for? No, but it is the norm. Be Brief. Be precise. You get Blogging. Then, it was soon followed by Micro Blogging.   The Selfies came in place of travelogues. The game of cricket began with Test Matches. Now it is 20-20. But, the contracts have to be elaborate. There is an incongruity in it. Anyhow, you want a short explanation and presentation. But what is this Very Short? Why is this Hourly History? Even the author of the title, Hermeneutics – A Very Short Introduction, Jens Zimmermann, had tackled this issue in his first contact with his reader in the Preface.

However, the writer has not shown any irritation with this term Short and then Very Short. He has tried to arrange a plan to justify the meaning of the title by giving his game plan to tell the meaning of Hermeneutics. Even then, he has taken up more than 160 pages. That is really good work in the act of doing it in Very Short format. Surprising, even the OUP is going for it. The Commerce is the ruling norm. That is the only conclusion for this Very Short format.  Surprising, even the OUP is going for it. The Commerce is the ruling norm. That is the only Conclusion.

Hermeneutics as it is for me in brief:

It is an art of interpretation.

By using the words of the writer, it is, "hermeneutics is the art of understanding and of making oneself understood". (The actual reference is not being reproduced here.)

For me, Hermeneutics is important more than all the acts like being logical, being a thinking person, being an intelligent person. You do Hermeneutics, the rest will follow on its own. The rest of the things, like, sense organs, perceptions, memory are all merely instinctive activities. They happen even if you are not scientific or educated. However, if Hermeneutics is understood, the rest can be tackled. 

I read about Hermeneutic in the book by B. Sheik Ali. I will not comment on it. Then I came across E. H. Carr and his work What is History. Therein, he has ultimately concluded that History is what the Historian tells. In answer to a question that what actually is the nature of history, he tells, that it is a continuous dialogue between present and past. He tells that that this dialogue is the interpretation. The Past cannot be revived. But it lays below and then throws out you the answers to your questions in your present. It is there for you to interpret. This is also done by a Judge in his court. He is never a witness to the crime. But he is there to give the judgement. He does it on the basis of interpretation. Similarly, Collingwood has taken up the aspect of the interpretation. But, he has gone to the theory of recreating the thought. In every case, it is the interpretation which matters in our existence. No doubt, I was definitely justified in buying this title.

Jens' Treatment of the Subject:

The writer is highly qualified. He has two PhD. I have none. 

He is in-service teacher and scholar. It is well reflected in his work and treatment of the topic. Even the Appendix is a chapter in itself on the lines of a Very Short factor. It is not as an elaborate Bibliographical Essays as you find in the case of Cambridge Press works or other publication. The writer is a teacher, therefore, he has dealt with the subject in a way that it may help the scholars who may be pursuing some course. You can read this book in three to four hours and get a very effective understanding that can help you to write a good description of Hermeneutics.

This book has seven chapters and one Appendix. I consider Appendix as a chapter here and therefore, there are eight chapters. These eight chapters are spread over 140 pages. The total pages are 160. One can read it one sitting of three to four hours. The language is lucid. There are not too many archaic words or the writer has not tried to impress the reader with that kind of approach. If one can use the internet while reading, there is no need to take help of any other person for any elaboration.

I divide the eight chapters into three sections. The first section is about defining the term. It is done in the first three chapters. The writer gives a definition. He provides its history.

The second section deals with the application of the concept Hermeneutics. He gives a demonstration of this aspect in the fields of Humanities, Theology, Law and Science.

I propose to make the third section of a single chapter and even that is an Appendix. It substantiates well and as per the requirement of the academic needs.

Importance to Language.

I read about memory development. There are many authors, motivation books and experts. It all boils down to two things. They are visual sensations and auditory sensations. One can find it on its own that many experts lay emphases more on visual sensations for developing memory. However, this writer is very emphatic and he does it by giving assertions that it is the sound of the words which are more important for your brain and mind. He has given more importance to the Language as an important factor. It is up to you to learn it that when this psychic act comes into play, of which, you are actually made of, that it is done in words. If you want to say that I think, it is the words which come into play. You communicate with the use of words. Have anyone of you conversed merely by posting selfies, icons and similes? You use some caption or some comment on it. Even then, on your own side, these are the words which make you conscious that you are there. Hence, the language, the stream of words, this stream of audio and visual combinations, make your real perception. A lens of a Camera does not do photography on its own.

Use of the Pronoun 'SHE'.

In order to refer to an interpreter in a sentence, the writer has used the pronoun she whereas I expect that it has to be an HE.

Similarly, in order to refer to the researchers in the field of science, the writer has used the pronoun she whereas it is expected that the perfect word can be He. A scientist is qualified as she in a compound sentence.

I have listened to brotherhood more often or rather every time, but he is particular to lay emphasis on sisterhood. In Hindi, I am accustomed to the term Bhaichara. But, I do not think and remember that I have ever come across the term Bhenchara. That is another thing, that I have never come across a term Bheno Ka Bhaichara. Well, it is not an issue but I was just wondering if the boys were using 'HOOD' and then why did the girls also go for the HOOD.

I have no problem with it. It is acceptable. I have a reason for that. In the section on Hermeneutics and Science, he has attempted to give an explanation. He has selected an example of the working of a scientist in order to explain the idea of understanding. He referred to an experiment with a rat. He uses the pronoun SHE while referring to that rat. Attention the Feminist Movement. Check it. It is given on the page 121.rat. Attention the Feminist Movement. Check it. It is given on page 121.

However, I really want to understand the term VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION.

Edited on July 9, 2017

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