Had a traumatic two weeks IT-wise. Recently acquired a new P4/XP machine and loaded Norton Anti-Virus and Internet Security stuff. The combination played havoc with various web-sites I use and has taken until now to recover.
Anyway in that time I finished Dawkins’ Blind Watchmaker and moved on to Rorty’s Philosophy as a Mirror on the World.
Dawkins continued with his “Darwinian evolution is the only mechanism to explain emergent adaptive complexity” theme. I already agreed with him – probably will not now bother to read Selfish Gene – may seek out Devil’s Chaplain. Only drawback with the later chapters is the effort he expends disproving alternative evolutionary theories, which becomes a drag when you’re already convinced. Keep discovering an enigmatic mix of views on Stephen Jay Gould – will probably have to read more of his stuff for myself, to understand if and where he get’s it right, despite often seeming wrong to me.
Started Rorty – he was on a mission when he wrote this, and spends a good deal of his introductory chapter discrediting views I wouldn’t have found naturally believable anyway, and makes extensive use of philosophical jargon – phenomenal, intentional etc. I’m hoping these early chapters are deliberately controversial so I’ll be sticking with him for a while yet – despite scribbling bollox in the margins several times already ! He’s a big supporter of Wittgenstein, Heidegger and Dewey. His main target is to undermine the need for any kind of dualist mind-matter views of the world. If all he’s saying is that all folk-mind-stuff is ultimately physics (beyond folk-physics) then he’ll get no argument from me, but it all looks like pedantry around lingusitic definitions of matter and physics and mental (and phenomenal and intentional) so far. Here’s hoping.