Used price: $4.99
Collectible price: $6.00
Buy one from zShops for: $6.04
For those who are aquainted with Sartre's earlier existential writings, this kind of thinking may seem altogether foreign. The old Sartre would have been loathe to suggest any form of conditioning or that one has been made in some way or other. But, this is part of the reason why many feel he abandoned his existentialism. I, on the other hand, do not feel that he did at all. In fact I suggest his existentialism is richer and his arguments more tenable in his later phase. As Sartre himself suggested in an interview late in his life, "life taught me the force of circumstances." It will be circumstances, both grand and minute, that all go into forming the people we are, both collectively and individually. Circumstances are, in other words, the factical moments out of which our contingent choices are made. Thus, Search sets out to examine a methodology that can account for both the factical and contingent, the necessary and the random, in the making of a people, person, or culture.
By Sartre standards this is a relatively easy read with a big payoff. As I mentioned, it is crucial to understanding the major works that would follow, as well as the occasional and literary works that would follow, e.g. his many writings on politics and even plays such as Condemned of Altona. But I also feel it stands well by itself and I do not feel that the reader necessarily have a background in Being and Nothingness or earlier Sartre to get something out of it. Indeed, it is also an excellent source for those seeking alternatives to the various more popular forms of psychoanalysis as well as cultural studies. Sartre was a maverick, no doubt, and often he failed in his attempts to construct a solid theory. But here, in Search, I believe that Sartre is at his best and most profound.
Used price: $4.50
Used price: $0.79
Collectible price: $3.18
Used price: $0.16
Collectible price: $2.12
About a "boy coming of age in a dark time" alright! :) Buy it, if you can get your hands on it; disregard the terrible paperback cover you may see at some used bookstores. You can tell Hazel graduated from Yale. The guy's a genius.
Used price: $5.19
Buy one from zShops for: $7.35
Used price: $3.25
Collectible price: $105.00
Dense? Sure... but illuminating examples help to describe the deep thought, almost as parables in the Synoptic Gospels. The crag in the rock, the meeting at the cafe, all these verbal illustrations work into the text very well. Personally, I love the sections on the anguish of man when faced with the facticity of his own freedom. The dualism expressed by Sartre is a theme in philosophy which I usually don't enjoy (like any good post-Hegelian, I enjoy synthesizing opposites), he is able to pull it off with ease and magnificence. Though it is not as eloquent as the existentialism expressed by Albert Camus, it is every bit as enlightening and valuable.
Most people object to its density because they are used to the existential wanderings of the modern novel - Camus' The Stranger, or Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment - but this is the philosophical reflection of the situation of man expressed by such work. Sartre states early on that he is not performing an objective analysis of humankind, but rather a biased and understandably nuanced descriptionof ontology from the perspective of the modern man.
Brilliant and exciting, Being and Nothingness is an essential part of anyone philosopher's bookshelf!
Does this mean that Sartre is too retro to be interesting, or that he is really only a "romantic rationalist" as one commentator claims? Perhaps.
And yet...and yet the work continues to exert a strong fascination. Let's suppose that you are a person who struggles to do away with belief (and recognizing that this is different from, for example, not believing in a god. It is more a negation of the will to believe.) Let's suppose that you have no longer any presence with which to ground your life, but find instead that your interpretations are interpretations as far as you can take them. Let's suppose that you find in ethics a compilation of various peoples' prejudices.
Given these originary hypotheses, what sort of ontic or ontological claims might you make? Being and Nothingness explores this question, and more. It is still a philosophy book worth reading in a scientific age.
My greatest criticism of the book is that it is unnecessarily pessimistic, with such statements as "life is a useless passion". This is not warranted by the general philosophy. I find the notion that we are creaters of meaning to be liberating. Sartre gives a brilliant philosophic interpretation of sado-masochism, but makes the mistake of assuming that sado-masochism forms the entire basis for human relationships. The greatest joys in life come from our ability to commuicate with and share experiences with others. Being the gregarious person that he was I am sure that in his personal life this was true of Sartre as well.
List price: $16.95 (that's 30% off!)
Used price: $0.85
Collectible price: $6.35
Buy one from zShops for: $0.99
It is premised upon a recent publication known as the "U.S. National Assessment" on global warming. The backchatter about this document is astounding; it has been well-documented that the climate models which serve as its base actually perform worse than random numbers when applied to the US in the last several decades.
Further, the climate models that were used in this Assessment aren't even representative of most other models. I have read that Assessment, now available from Cambridge Press. It considered many models, but chose two--which, respectively, predict the most extreme departures in temperature and rainfall over the US, compared to the many others considered. Not only are the models that serve as the basis for the Delcourt's book bad, they aren't even representative!
I offer this notion to prospective purchasers of this book: either the Delcourt's knew this, and didn't tell you, which makes them deceptive, or they did not, which makes them incompetent.
I work for a major government climate lab, and I can tell you that this book is a typical global warming joke. Unfortunately, the political climate is so bad that we can't talk about this much in public. Too bad, because the planet is really warming a bit. Would like to see a more honest book here, which admits to warming and to the limits of our science. My little research on this shows the bestselling title under global warming has the weird title "Satanic Gases", but looks much more interesting. Maybe that's why people are buying it and not this silly book by the Delcourt Bobos.
Thus, Paul and Hazel Delcourt, both paleo-ecologists teaching at the University of Tennessee, present the results of a massive three-year national study, The National Climate Assessment, by thousands of scientists to project the potential environmental changes in this country over the next hundred years. The authors then match the results of this massive work with a range of demographic studies that lead them to conclude that wide-ranging economic, political, and social change will result. Therefore, "Living Well In The Age Of Global Warming" provides the reader with a fascinating look at the range of possibilities that exist for one to "live well and prosper' in the radically changed ecological, social, and personal circumstances of a world undergoing radical and unavoidable change.
Indeed, while the serious reader may find fault with the authors' particulars in dealing with the range of alternatives available, one can hardly fault their central point, which is that the world will be radically changed both in terms of its climate and our potential cultural responses to those changes. Thus, whether discussing changing weather patterns (and the associated changes in storm tracks now predicted by many meteorologists) or exploring changes in temperature zones to the degree that millions may be forced to vacate areas like Georgia as they turn positively tropical, this is fascinating reading. They also discuss potential changes in forest cover, livable habitats, and many other related subjects. According to the authors, each of these factors will become increasingly important in determining the overall quality of life possibilities as global warming proceeds.
In essence, the authors have created an entertaining and informative book that openly discusses what the consequences of global warming may portend for each of us in practical and understandable terms, and in so doing they have rendered an important service to us all. While I admit that I did not like the "self-help to financial success" tone the prose sometimes degenerates into, I found myself so fascinated by other aspects of their careful thought that helped me to overcome any minor trepidation I had regarding the book. One can hardly argue with their central thesis; that the comfortable world we know is vanishing before our eyes, and that the shape of the one to come will be largely determined by the effects that global warming has on our society and our environment.
The book deals with a variety of different issue and a whole range of potential individual responses that the intelligent and savvy person can use to negotiate his or her way through the coming hardships. While I do not feel that this book is anything like the comprehensive "bible" activists need to carry on in the difficult days and years to come, it is certainly a provocative and thoughtful excursion into a subject matter few have dared to broach to date. Hopefully it provides us with just the opening salvo of what one prays will become both a national and international debate on what each of us needs to do to live more responsibally on the delicate skin of this, our living planet. I recommend it without hesitation; enjoy!
Used price: $1.95
Collectible price: $7.50
Buy one from zShops for: $9.95
Used price: $4.00