On page 15, he quotes Fibonacci's description of fecund rabbits in a cage. Two pages later- the two pages are a repetitive explanation of how the numbers of rabbits grow - he says
"Reification" is the term used by philosophers to refer to serendipitous actual manifestations of something that was originally conceived as an abstraction or as a figment of mind.But this wasn't conceived as a figment of mind; it's a perfectly realistic question. has this man never met a rabbit? had he no gerbils as a child? Was he so desperate to use the word 'reification'?
Why would this solution to a simple puzzle reveal patterns in the real world? There is, to my knowledge, no definitive answer to this question; nor, probably, can there ever be one.
After some more clumsy explanations of simple mathematics, followed by what I think were equally clumsy arguments about the ineffability of the human mind and its puzzling, I gave up.
A book not totally unlike Gosford Park, or that crossed with Cold Comfort Farm. the writing is all very well, gothic or modern as needed.
I was much struck that the old rules of morality, in it, punish a cross-class extramarital affair with madness, amnesia, an immediate suicide, a possibly suspicious early death, and social ostracism still active two generations later; it's hard to see how this could be worse than allowing the misalliance. I suppose that's what makes it an early modern novel: the nineteenth century would have made it clear why the misalliance was worse, and a late modern novel would have allowed it.
Reaching Up for Manhood,
Two books written by black men who grew up in bad circumstances and escaped. Canada has a faint air of bluster or swagger in his writing, not distracting, but an unusual counterpoint to his discussions of feelings and social engineering. The three doctors use plenty of slang, and have equally grim anecdotes, but mostly come across as really sweet.
Problem with Texas-style access to education, of letting the top 10% of each school into the desirable universities: thoe from the worst schools will be terrifically behind in all sorts of knowledge; the authors of The Pact manage to sound only exasperated about getting through premed and med school surrounded by children and friends of doctors, who understood a lot more of the system.
When reading something so tendentious, it's hard not to look for the Heffalump; and I did catch him out in some at-best-dubious assertions. I could have believed that the Adam brothers improved classical architecture by adding servant's stairs, except that The Perfect House mentions servant's stairs in the Villa Cornaro and shows them on the floorplan. Later he explains the Jardine's forcing the opium trade into imperial China with the argument that "Britain had no drug problem" in 1827 (considered relevant because it put fault for Chinese opium addiction on Chinese weakness); I checked 's Opium . Booth confirmed widespread opium addiction among the poor of the Fens, for instance, who also needed opium as a medicine. Now, maybe Herman didn't know this, or maybe he thought all the use of opium in England was medicinal, but - from Opium -'s
When, in 1828, the earl of Mar died...his insurers refused to honour his life insurance, contending his [opium] habit affected his life expectancy. A few years later, a Professor Christiansen of Edinburgh concluded to a Scottish court that opium-eating shortened life.
Herman is familiar with the lives of other Earls of Mar, but this still might be sloppy scholarship accepting Jardine's rationalization; it isn't written clearly enough to tell if he was asserting that Jardine's rationalization was true. At least he didn't praise Prof. Christiansen immediately after admiring Jardine, the way he admired the Ulster Scots' armed land-grabs in the New World right after praising the innate Scots respect for private property.
A book asserting that Economic Sentiments for that. What Herman finally convinced me of was not that the Scots made the modern world, but that the British Empire used the Scots to make the modern world. Scotland was a whole nation of younger sons, willing to learn a new language, do the dirty engineering, fight some nasty battles, for a chance to earn a place in the center of civilization. Even Herman's brief summary of Scotland in the 20th century was of a poor and low-wage nation, the ignored 'good child' of England as Ireland is the harassed 'bad child'.begot the modern world would be plausible. (comment from my other half: "And Clausewitz!" I don't think there's any reason to consider Clausewitz Scots.) I'll try Rothschild's
Interesting tidbits; Highlanders fighting for Bonnie Prince Charlie routed more-experienced, better-equipped troops more than once, something to consider when reading pulp fiction battles between savages with swords and troops with distance-weapons. They didn't win the war. Later, when Sir Walter Scott was inventing cod-Highland pageantry to amuse drunk king George IV, there was one group of real Highlanders sent, bare survivors of the clearances. They were so scruffy and frightening that they were shuffled away, fed scraps, not allowed to march.