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About John Perry
I taught philosophy regularly for for about fifty years, at UCLA, Stanford, and UC Riverside. Now I teach teach an occasional seminar at Stanford and focus on writing. I have three grown children, and ten grown grandchildren. I live in California, in the Bay Area, with Frenchie, my wife of fifty-eight years. Sites for more about Philosophy Talk, Structured Procrastination, and my work in philosophy:
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Titles By John Perry
This is not a book for Bill Gates or Steven Spielberg. Clearly they have no trouble getting stuff done. For the great majority of us, though, what a comfort it is to discover we’re not wastrels and slackers, but doers . . . in our own way. It may sound counterintuitive, but according to philosopher John Perry, you can accomplish a lot by putting things off. He calls it “structured procrastination.”
Celebrating a nearly universal character flaw, The Art of Procrastination is a wise, charming, compulsively readable book—really, a tongue-in-cheek argument of ideas. Perry offers ingenious strategies, like the defensive to-do list (“1. Learn Chinese”) and task triage. He discusses the double-edged relationship between the computer and procrastination—on the one hand, it allows the procrastinator to fire off work at the last possible minute; on the other, it’s a dangerous time suck. Most importantly, he explores what may be procrastination’s greatest gift: the chance to accomplish surprising, wonderful things by not sticking to a rigid schedule.
“John Perry is the wittiest philosopher since Marx (Groucho), and he brings to this book a delightful combination of wisdom and humor.” —Thomas Cathcart, author of The Trolley Problem
“Reading this straight-talking, badly needed book has changed my life.” —Bruce McCall, writer and illustrator for The New Yorker
John Perry--author of the acclaimed Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality (Hackett Publishing Co., 1978)--revisits Gretchen Weirob in this lively and absorbing dialogue on good, evil, and the existence of God. In the early part of the work, Gretchen and her friends consider whether evil provides a problem for those who believe in the perfection of God. As the discussion continues they consider the nature of human evil—whether, for example, fully rational actions can be intentionally evil. Recurring themes are the distinction between natural evil and evil done by free agents, and the problems the Holocaust and other cases of genocide pose for conceptions of the universe as a basically good place, or humans as basically good beings. Once again, Perry’s ability to get at the heart of matters combines with his exemplary skill at writing the dialogue form. An ideal volume for introducing students to the subtleties and intricacies of philosophical discussion.
Cartesian dualism, property dualism, materialism, the problem of other minds . . . Gretchen Weirob and her friends tackle these topics and more in a dialogue that exemplifies the subtleties and intricacies of philosophical reflection. Once again, Perry’s ability to use straightforward language to discuss complex issues combines with his mastery of the dialogue form.
A Bibliography lists relevant further readings keyed to topics discussed in the dialogue. A helpful Glossary provides a handy reference to terms used in the dialogue and an array of clarifying examples.
John Perry discusses how these kinds of words work, and why they express important philosophical thoughts. He shows that indexicals pose a challenge to traditional assumptions about language and thought. Over the years a number of these papers, now included in this book, have sparked lively debates and have been influential in philosophy, linguistics and other areas of cognitive science.
With seven new papers, including the previously unpublished ``What Are Indexicals?,'' the present volume expands on an earlier version of this book published in the early nineties. Also included are the well-known papers ``Frege on Demonstratives,'' ``Cognitive Significance and New Theories of Reference,'' ``Evading the Slingshot,'' ``The Prince and the Phone booth'' (coauthored with Mark Crimmins), ``Fodor on Psychological Explanations'' (coauthored with David Israel), and related papers on situation semantics, direct reference, and the structure of belief. This book also includes afterwords written by the author that discuss responses to his work by Gareth Evans, Robert Stalnaker, Barbara Partee, Howard Wettstein and others.
Frege's views in this area, and argues that his doctrine of indirect reference directed philosophy of language on a long detour from which only now can we emerge. Perry advocates a move away from indirect reference and presents an alternative framework which does not require the abandoning of
circumstances in the references of sentences.
In Nuclear Weapons and the Environment, John Perry highlights the environmental damage caused by nuclear device testing. The failure of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons is a grave risk to not only human life but to the environment. Pointing to the unstable political situation between a variety of state and non-state actors, the remediation of nuclear test sites, and the risks involved in the production of nuclear weapons, Perry makes a clear case for the dire importance of non-proliferation.
Com uma linguagem simples e direta, John Perry nos mostra, por meio de exemplos práticos, como repensar a importância de nossos afazeres e conseguir realizar todos eles (e muito mais!), mesmo quando adiamos aquelas tarefas mais chatas.
Prepare-se para descobrir estratégias efetivas e cientificamente testadas contra a procrastinação, mas lembre-se de que, acima de tudo, é necessário aceitar sua tendência a deixar as tarefas para amanhã. Crie coragem, faça o que tem de ser feito, mas não deixe, é claro, de aproveitar o tempo que você perde.