Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Category: 170s

179: Stay by Jennifer Hecht

DDC_179

179.7: Hecht, Jennifer M. Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2013. 234 pp. ISBN 978-0-300-18608-6.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 170: Ethics
  • 179: Other ethical norms
  • 179.7: Respect and disrespect for human life

Suicide is by no means an easy topic to discuss. Throughout history, art, and literature, real people and fictional characters have chosen to end their own life in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. Jennifer Hecht’s main premise in her book on the history of the topic is that one should stay. Stay and work through the pain, the depression, the anger. Stay with those that love you. Stay because we need you. Hecht traces the history of recorded suicides back to ancient Rome and looks at historical and modern arguments surrounding the act. It uses key historical suicides to clarify the responses and the philosophies concerning suicide.

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178: The Complete Book of Greed by M. Hirsch Goldberg

 

DDC_178178: Goldberg, M. Hirsch. The Complete Book of Greed: The Strange and Amazing History of Human Excess. New York: William Morrow & Co., 1994. 236 pp. ISBN 0-6881-0614-5.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 100: Philosophy and psychology
  • 170: Ethics
  • 178: Ethics of consumption

It seems like greed is an undeniable quality of being human. Many of us can temper greed with other moral niceties, but the talented few let their greed run unabated. Many Americans can probably rattle off a dozen noted millionaires and billionaires before they can name the presidents (although, sometimes, they are the same people). The Rockefellers, Carnegies, and Gateses of the world are known by their wealth, business acumen, and sometimes their philanthropy. M. Hirsch Goldberg’s The Complete Book of Greed is a whimsical look at the history of human monetary greediness and how it has shaped—and been shaped by—history.

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177: True Enough by Farhad Manjoo

DDC_177

177.3: Manjoo, Farhad. True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2008. 230 pp. ISBN 978-0-470-05010-1.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 170: Ethics (Moral philosophy)
  • 177: Ethics of social relations
  • 177.3: Truthfulness, lying, slander, and flattery

Information is all around us. From the Internet to 24-hour news networks to experts to neighbors, every place you look, there is someone with information. But what transforms information into fact, and what exactly are facts? How do we interpret them? How do we separate “Fact” from “fact”? When does truth become Truth? Farhad Manjoo’s True Enough explores the delicate areas between facts and truth to help us see how we deal with  new information and ideas that challenge our beliefs.

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174: Doing Nothing by Tom Lutz

174: Lutz, Tom. Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. 320 pp. ISBN 978-0-86547-650-9.

Dewey Construction:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 170: Ethics (Moral philosophy)
  • 174: Occupational ethics

I can count on one hand the number of people I’ve met in my entire life that wouldn’t want to sit around and do nothing if they could still maintain their standard of living. To be fair, there’s a difference between wanting to do things efficiently and waste the least amount of time, and not wanting to do anything at all. Tom Lutz, in Doing Nothing, focuses on the smart shirkers, not the smart workers—those people who have willingly and without remorse chosen not to contribute, not to work, and not to exert effort in American history. Ironically, it takes a lot of effort to do nothing.

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170: On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche

170.8: Nietzsche, Friedrich. On the Genealogy of Morals. Translated by Walter Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale. New York: Vintage, 1989. 149 pp. ISBN 0-679-72462-1.

Dewey Construction:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 170: Ethics (Moral Philosophy)
  • 170.8: History and description of ethic with respect to kinds of persons

There’s a reason I was never a philosophy major in college. While I did take two courses—Existentialism and Medieval Philosophy—I never got the hang up over proving one system of thought better than another. The history of the world has seen somewhere between 75 and 120 billion persons (roughly), each with their own way of looking at the world. The possibility that there exists a single system of thought that governs all of them is infinitesimal. But—people keep trying to come with one anyway.

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