Saturday, August 20, 2005

Better Living Through Software - Book Review: Saving the Appearances

"I hadn't heard of Owen Barfield before last month. Based on an interesting quote and a recommendation that he has a 'unique epistemology', I picked up a copy of 'Saving the Appearances', and just finished reading it.

It turns out the book isn't really an epistomology, but rather a treatise on the author's opinions about the evolution of consciousness, and his thesis that the scientific revolution has left modern man with some largely unrecognized gaps in consciousness with relation to his environment.

This ended up being one of the best books I've read in a really long time. It deeply intertwines three of my favorite themes: Korzybski's map/territory distinction, Ghazali's reason versus faith debate, and Knowledge Representation. Barfield is incredibly erudite; pulling material from scores of sources and building some surprising and wickedly sharp arguments. Even when you find cracks in his arguments, you find that the intellectual ride is enjoyable."

There's more, worth a read if you're still interested. This one goes on my wishlist....

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