A Christian's Library:

Where Christians can talk among themselves, and about those Godless atheists.

Re: A Christian's Library:

Postby Og3 » Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:01 pm

In the realm of books that help to build the intellect, and that are not specifically Christian in nature:

A. Will and Ariel Durant, Lessons of History. We often say that we should learn from the past, but what specifically is it trying to teach us?

B. Raymond Smullyan, What is the Name of This Book and The Lady or The Tiger. These collections of puzzles tend to encourage rationality by sharpening the mind. What exactly does it mean when two statements are contradictory? Can we, for example, believe that both A and B are true, when A specifically states that B is false? Cunning tests of logic are posed as clever and engaging riddles about Knights (who always tell the truth), Knaves (who always lie) and Normals, who may do either as the mood strikes.

C. Richard Feynman, "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman," The Joy of Finding Things Out, and Six Easy Pieces. If you really want to learn a lot of physics in a short time, you can also read his complete set of Freshman Lectures, or better still, listen to them on MP3. But for a simple peek into the mind of a Nobel Laureate and Critical Thinker, SYJMF, TJOFTO, and SEP are the way to go. Most of the essays in "Surely" and "The Joy" were compiled posthumously, and are unrelated, but each is a masterpiece of critical thinking. One might wish to skip those essays describing his sexual exploits in Las Vegas, but aside from those, the stories are fascinating and admirable. "Six" is a set of six lessons in Physics drawn from Feynman's Freshman Lecture Series, and if you were wondering what to get me from Christmas, the Freshman Lectures would be a good guess.

D. Socrates Apologia. Socrates is a man who cannot be beaten in an argument, because, alone of all who argue, he knows that he's speaking bollocks. Socrates defends the assertion that no man is wiser than he, not because he possesses a secret wisdom, but because he realizes that he is not wise. The assertions of his accusers are turned sideways, and in the end ... Okay, he lost the court case, but everyone remembers him, and no one remembers his accusers.

E. Wesley C. Salmon, Logic. For a thin book, this is a very expensive volume. But if you can find it used, or borrow it, it is definitely worthwhile. This is a college textbook designed to teach syllogistic logic; the sort that goes "If A then B, and not B, therefore not A." It's tough going at first, but those who stick it out will be rewarded with a powerful mental tool: The logical syllogism.
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