Readings Q2-'17

It is unfortunate that the "BBS" website I used to post my readings primarily on: 北大中文论坛, seems to be shut down. So I lost some postings. Here is the readings for Q2-'17:


5. 《Cosmopolitan Political Thought: Method, Practice, Discipline》by Farah Godrej, 2011. Back in 2011 the globalization of political theory was clearly behind the efforts of World History. Book has some interesting analysis on Gandhi whose thoughts are of interest to me.


6. 《Piano Notes: The World of the Pianist》, by Charles Rosen, 2002. Author of 《The Classical Style》. He is also a performing pianist, but probably not Tier 1 pianists of his days.


7. 《The Dictator's Handbook: WhyBad Behavior Is Almost Always Good Politics》, by Bruce Bueno De Mesquita and Alastair Smith, 2011. Analyze the phenomenon of power solely from the perspectives of how the leader can get and keep power. Thoroughly Machiavellian, but can explain quite a lot of phenomenon by just using the concept of the minimal number of supporters that a leader needs to "buy off" to stay in power. Explanation also for why FIFA and International Olympics Committees are corrupt, to why dictators' terminal disease often leads to regime changes.


8. 《Does Capitalism Have a Future?》, by Wallestein, Collins, Mann, Derlyguian, Calhoun. What ends up being the most interesting is Derluguian's analysis of the collapse of Soviet Union.


9. 《Causation: A Very Short Introduction》, by Stephen Mumford and Rani Lil Anjum, 2013. I read about half several years ago, and finished it finally this year. Ultimately the authors find "Dispositionalism" or "Power theory of causation" relatively more convincing. Despite having a view, this is a good introductory work. 


I probably read some more incomplete books, like Charles Rosen's 《The Classical Style》,Paul Tillich's《Love, Power and Justice》,卡西勒《社会科学的逻辑》,肖复兴《音乐欣赏十五讲(第二版)》etc., but I no longer have full records of. Oh well.


In the midst of the quarter, I find myself reading about music as time-wasting (I still believe that, though I find going against current interest also does not make my reading life especially fun.) What I think is truly worth reading and thinking about are two topics:

A. Causation. The lack of a clear theory on this makes most modern academic endeavors stand on shaky grounds

B. What can we hope for? Before, I tend to focus more on the personal / religious dimension in my readings. Now I feel that truly compelling vision of this almost by nature needs to be social and political.