Last week I finished reading This is Biology, by Ernst Mayr. It’s an interesting historical overview of the philosophy of biology that’s liberally peppered with his own ideas. I found the last chapters—certain specific fields in biology, on the human place in evolution, and on Mayr’s views of human ethic—to be the most interesting. I suspect that these are also the chapters that would be most interesting to people who don’t have much of an interest in the history of biology and that I’d find the earlier chapters more meaningful if I had a broader exposure to the work of some of the philosophers and biologists Mayr discusses.
You know, it’s rare nowadays for me to to be able to say I finished reading something. In fact, it’s rare for me to be able to say I’ve finished anything. This is most likely due to my constant attempts to do to much at once. Right now, for example, I’m in the middle of about nine projects. Some of these, however, are parts of larger projects, but that still only brings the count down to seven, and there are still more projects planned.
Right now, the only other book I’m in the middle of is A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. Way back in January I had hoped to read all four of Joyce’s major works by the end of this year. (If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be (re)reading Joyce, I’d have laughed and said that was craziness.) Obviously I’m not going to finish all four in the next two or three weeks, but perhaps I’ll manage it by the end of 2007. Of course, I also want to cram in several other books (The Sacred Depths of Nature by Ursula Goodenough and Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery are next in the queue), writing projects, and miscellaneous stuff.
Ah well, there’s always 2008.
This post refers to:
Mayr, E., This is Biology. 1998, Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.