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1 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Horse feathers meet feather horses, June 26, 2003
This review is from: Skeptical Philosophy for Everyone (Hardcover)
I thought I might be able to learn something from a book which takes a vast overview of philosophical problems, illustrated by concrete examples, but I did not get very far into this book. Is it so typical that philosophers are so high up in their ivory tower that their hypothetical situations lack any substance?
This book has no idea how often it is wrong about fundamental things like law; like how real people who have problems is not at all the same as how people have legal problems. Americans should realize: they live in a country where even their legal problems have legal problems, and people who want to count ballots better watch out that the Supreme Court does not get in their way. Strange cases might involve something more unusual than "two persons arrested for stealing money." (p. 22). If one of them is younger, it might be assumed that the other "is a hardened criminal, arrested and convicted many times for various offenses. His stealing is a part of a pattern of behavior." (p. 20). Judges might expect to consider that a young person hasn't had time to get caught as often, in imposing their sentences, but this book expects [wrongly, I'm sure] the jurors to be informed of everything the defendants ever did, and then argue about giving more punishment to whomever is worse. "In the cases of the two thieves, we can imagine a debate among the jurors, some of whom might argue that, independent of the histories of the accused persons, equal crimes should be treated equally, and some of whom argue that background factors should be taken into consideration in dispensing justice." (p. 22). If an attorney is effectively representing the thieves, all the extraneous information about a pattern of behavior will be excluded as prejudicial beyond the weight of its probative value, but this book, like most philosophy, would totally boggle everyone's mind if it tried to realistically describe how attorneys can complicate things. Sentencing guidelines now take much of this out of the hands of judges, so any defendant who is not treated according to a standardized chart could become an obstacle to the judge advancing in federal courts, where confirmation hearings harp on odd behavior. Pickering is not listed in the index, but the Democrats in the U.S. Senate are unlikely to confirm him for an Appeals court because of the case of Daniel Swan, who seemed to Pickering to be too young and drunk to serve six years for burning a cross in the yard of the interracial couple in his neighborhood. Causing trouble in his neighborhood was something that even his neighbors didn't seem too concerned about, if you can guess which state he lived in. Whole vast crowds of people have been burning crosses in movies that I have seen, set back in the days before television, when people got out and did things together, and everybody had some sense of what kind of consequences, like arson or bombing, was sure to follow. Daniel Swan might have been released from prison in less than two years, sentenced for a lesser crime than whatever Timothy McVeigh was convicted of for an actual revolutionary bombing, but McVeigh was old enough to know better, as anyone who ever went to Waco, Texas to try to help David Koresh must be by now.
I'm far too extreme to read a whole book that considers anything which is perfectly clear an extreme. "The extreme right-to-life position advances the following considerations in support of its position: First, it argues that from the moment of conception, a human fetus is a human being, and that all human beings are persons. Second, as mentioned above, it states that such persons are innocent of any crime." (p. 23). The second step is necessary because we already know that people who have been born are part of a society that constantly kills, sometimes counting the dead, but considering the production of meat an agricultural item that is easier to replenish than 90 percent of the large fish in the ocean, now that we have almost saved the whales. If there is anything people haven't killed, I am not sure if I have heard of it, though I know that in section 125 of THE GAY SCIENCE, Nietzsche wrote, " `Where is God?' he cried; `I'll tell you! We have killed him -- you and I! We are all his murderers. . . . Do we still smell nothing of the divine decomposition? -- Gods, too, decompose! God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him!" For real Christians, it is communion that makes this kind of thing a ritual participation in who we are, body and blood, and if killing millions is what we do, it seems likely to continue regardless of anything this book might say about protecting the innocent.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 29, 2009 1:11:57 AM PDT
Rex Bennett says:
You see more interested in having some sort of political tirade than actually reviewing a book on philosophy. Your comments are so far afield from the sunject of the book, that I can only assume that you were attempting to review a different book and got confused. Whatever you were doing, it has nothing whatever to do with classical philosophy and its problems, which is what these authors wrote about. Please don't write reviews if you don't know what you're writing about. Unlike you, I actually read the book, and it addresses the evolution of philosophy and philosophical thought from its earliest days. It has nothing at all to do with the topic you ranted on about. Next time, try actually reading the book before attempting to make a comment.
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