Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Category: 180s

188: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

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188: Marcus Aurelius. Meditations. Free Kindle Edition, 2014. 132 pp. ISBN 1-4995-3013-7.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 180: Ancient, medieval, and Eastern philosophies
  • 188: Stoic philosophy

Marcus Aurelius was Emperor of the Roman Empire from 161 to 180 CE. Considered the last of the Five Good Emperors, he oversaw his empire with stoicism and equality. In his Meditations, written while on a military campaign in the last decade of his life, he sets forth a series of aphorisms, letters, and principles that he tried to live by. As a stoic, he thought that powerful emotions were the cause of errors in life and so sought to live a life of a more moral and intellectual manner.

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182: The Music of Pythagoras by Kitty Ferguson

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182.2: Ferguson, Kitty. The Music of Pythagoras: How an Ancient Brotherhood Cracked the Code of the Universe and Lit the Path from Antiquity to Outer Space. New York: Walker and Company, 2008. 328 pp. ISBN 0-8027-1631-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 180: Ancient, medieval, and Eastern philosophy
  • 182: Pre-Socratic Greek philosophies
  • 182.2: Pythagorean philosophies

All that is left of him is an equation: a-squared plus b-squared equals c-squared. Every person going through basic geometry hears it. And yet for its ubiquity and almost-infinite proofs, there is very little known of the man who first discovered it in the Western world (there were earlier proofs in Babylon and India). Pythagoras (ca. 570 BCE – ca. 495 BCE) is a man surrounded by mystery. He formed a philosophical cult, but forbade anyone to write anything down, and yet his theorem survived. Kitty Ferguson’s The Music of Pythagoras attempts to separate fact from fiction on behalf of this ancient Greek thinker.

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184: Symposium by Plato

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184: Plato. Symposium. Translated by Benjamin Jowett. Kindle Public Domain E-book. Approx. 96 pp.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 180: Ancient, medieval, and Eastern philosophy
  • 184: Platonic philosophy

Plato’s Symposium is essentially a love story. The general outline is that a group of Greek thinkers are gathered together to a symposium by the poet Agathon to celebrate his recent victory in a dramatic competition. Phaedrus (an aristocrat), Pausanius (some sort of lawyer), Eryximachus (a doctor), Aristophanes (a comedian), Agathon, Socrates, and Alcibiades (a statesman) then take turns discussing the nature and types of love. They each offer valid perspectives on the topic while trying to surpass each other in the quality of their rhetoric (and trying to ward off a hangover from the previous night’s drinking). Socrates gets the upper hand quickly by undermining—piece-by-piece—each of their arguments about the nature of Love.

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187: Travels with Epicurus by Daniel Klein

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187: Klein, Daniel. Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life. New York: Penguin, 2012. 162 pp. ISBN 978-0-14-312193-0.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 180: Ancient, medieval, and Eastern philosophies
  • 187: Epicurean philosophy

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: an old man goes on vacation. There, he takes stock of his years, drinks in old philosophies, and ruminates on what growing old means and how one can live a fulfilled life. While it may the premise of many a chicken soup book, Daniel Klein is no hack. His Travels with Epicurus is a delightful volume of essays and thoughts on all he has read, experienced, and wished. I, for one, was glad to take the journey with him.

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181: The Analects of Confucius

181.112: Pelikan, Jaroslav, ed. Sacred Writings: Confucianism: The Analects of Confucius. Translated by Arthur Waley. New York: Quality Paperback Book Club, 1992. 233 pp.

Dewey Construction:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 180: Ancient, medieval, and eastern philosophy
  • 181: Eastern philosophy
  • 181.1: Far East and South Asia
  • 181.11: China and Korea
  • 181.112: Confucian philosophy

Confucius (more formally known in China as Kongzi) was born in 551 BCE near present day Qufu. Throughout his relatively long life of 72 years, he compiled and transmitted the foundations of Eastern philosophy in a set of texts called the Five Classics. The Analects is a collection of sayings and commentary by Confucius that was not finalized until 250 years after his death. The Analects are now held above the Five Classics and occupies a spot as one of the “Four Books,” the core of Confucianism.

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