john_j_enright (john_j_enright) wrote,
john_j_enright
john_j_enright

False To Any Man / Kant and Aristotle

False To Any Man is a book I'm reading by Leslie Ford. It's an out-of-print mystery. I've got a big collection of her mysteries, and so far I've only read one. I liked the one I read, which was Old Lover's Ghost. The one I'm reading is holding my interest, but I'm not wild about it.

Ayn Rand once recommended her mysteries, but if I recall correctly, she said something like: her mysteries are either great or godawful with nothing in between. I hope this is one of the great ones. With mysteries, it is often hard to tell until the end.

The title, "False to Any Man," is a Hamlet allusion. "...to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

I came across this sentence in the book: "If your children were threatened, Mrs. Latham, you wouldn't stop and ponder any Critique of Pure Reason, any Ethic of Aristotle."

I thought, what a strange pairing, Kant and Aristotle. Yet, they are paired often enough. They are both historical giants in terms of their impact on the history of philosophy. They both had big complicated systems. But their ethics were opposite in key respects.

Another similarity has to do with writing style. Both are described as having 2 writing styles, one elegant and easy to read, and another dense and difficult. Aristotle's easy pieces are mostly lost. It's the difficult stuff that survived, oddly enough. Perhaps the difficult stuff was the deep and important stuff.

I do want to say that Aristotle and Kant present different KINDS of difficulty. Aristotle I can read... without being driven to drink.

Rhyme of the day:

Reading Kant,
Not Aristotle,
Makes me want
To hit the bottle.

Here's somebody on ebay selling 7 of Ford's novels:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6916736706

Here's a list of her books:
http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/Leslie-Ford.html

Page about Aristotle that mentions his early writing:
http://www.lcc.gatech.edu/gallery/rhetoric/figures/aristotle.html

Page about Kant that mentions his obtuse writing:
http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/practicalreason/context.html

A funny page about why Kant would have trouble getting a tenured position today:
http://www.its.caltech.edu/~erich/misc/kant_funny
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