29 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. ( ~ 6:25-end )

      Steps for designing a reading plan/list: 1. Pick a topic/goal (or question you want to answer) & how long you want to take to achieve this. 2. Do research into the books necessary to achieve this goal. Meta-learning, scope out the subject. The number of books is relative to the goal and length of the goal. 3. Find the books using different tools such as Google & GoodReads & YouTube Recommendations (ChatGPT & Gemini are also useful). 4. Refine the book list (go through reviews, etc., in Adlerian steps, do an Inspectional Read of everything... Find out if it's truly useful). Also order them into a useful sequence for the syntopical reading project. Highlight the topics covered, how difficult they are, relevancy, etc. 5. Order the books (or download them)

      Reminds me a bit of Scott Young's Metalearning step, and doing a skill decomposition in van Merriënboer et al.'s 10 Steps to Complex Learning

  2. Jul 2024
    1. The song criticizes the tendency to rush into judgment without fully understanding the underlying problems. It also emphasizes the value of research and seeking out the truth from various perspectives.

      This is basically critical thinking. Which is also my goal for (optimal) education: To build a society of people who think for themselves, critical thinkers; those who do not take everything for granted. The skeptics.

      See also Nassim Nicolas Taleb's advice to focus on what you DON'T know rather than what you DO know.

      Related to syntopical reading/learning as well. (and Charlie Munger's advice). You want to build a complete picture with a broad understanding and nuanced before formulating an opinion.

      Remove bias from your judgement (especially when it comes to people or civilizations) and instead base it on logic and deep understanding.

      This also relates to (national, but even local) media... How do you know that what the media portrays about something or someone is correct? Don't take it for granted, especially if it is important, and do your own research. Validity of source is important; media is often opinionized and can contain a lot of misinformation.

      See also Simone Weil's thoughts on media, especially where she says misinformation spread must be stopped. It is a vital need for the soul to be presented with (factual) truth.

  3. Jun 2024
    1. But consider a new narrative. Imagine instead that books offer us a way to enter into a prolonged conversation across generations. We might even call this the Great Conversation. Imagine instead that authors have generally meant well, and so when they produced difficult works it is because the subject matter is a difficult one. Imagine instead that the past is a kind of mirror for the present, and that history is a guide to the future. New associations are encouraged by this narrative. New works are continuous with old works; both new and old works have something to teach us; difficult works might be more insightful because they engage with the complexity of the world.

      Interesting. Using Mortimer J. Adler's concept of Syntopical Reading to produce motivation, in a good way, for diving into books.

    1. The foregoing examples illustrate various forms topics take according to thedifferent kinds of subjects they propose for discussion. Some deal with the natureof a thing or its definition, some with its qualities or attributes, some with itscauses, and some with its kinds; some deal with distinctions or differences, andsome with comparisons or contrasts; some propose a general theory for considera-tion, some present a problem, and some state an Issue. Some— such as the lastthree above —are difficult to characterize by any formula.

      The complexity of the topic is determined by the content of the discussion the topic is about.

    2. It is easier to say what a topic is not, than what it is or should be. If it mustalways be a less determinate expression than a sentence, and if it must usually be amore complex expression than a single word or pair of words (which are theverbal expression of terms, such as the great ideas), it would seem to follow thatthe proper expression of a topic is a phrase— often, perhaps, a fairly elaboratephrase involving a number of terms and signifying a number of possible relationsbetween them. This general description of the grammatical form of a topic docsnot, however, convey an adequate notion of the extraordinary variety of possi-ble phrasings.

      To me, it seems that Adler et al., are arguing that a topic should be stated as a phrase with varying degrees of complexity, determined by ?

    3. For example, “The ideal of the educated man’"(Education la) is a simple topic; “The right to property: the ownership of themeans of production” (Labor 7b) is a complex topic; and “The use and criticismof the intellectual tradition: the sifting of truth from erroi; the reaction againstthe authority of the past” (Progress 6c) is a more complex topic.

      Some examples of topics that are formulated and used in the original syntopicon.

    4. A topic, in short, must have greater amplitude than any other logical form ofstatement. The familiar grammatical forms of the declarative or interrogativesentence, or even the complex sentence w'hich expresses a dilemma, arc there-fore inappropriate for the statement of topics. Since it must be able to includeall these and more, the statement of a topic must be less determinate in verbalstructure.

      A topic should never be suggestive, for it would not be a topic in that way.

    5. A topic is essentially a*sub)ect for discussion. The Greek word topos from which**topic^’ is derived literally means a place. Its literal meaning is retained in suchEnglish words as “topography” and “topology,” which signify the study ofphysical or geometrical places. The conception of a topic as a subject for discus’-sion is a metaphorical extension of this root meaning. A topic is a logical place; itis a place where minds meet to consider some common problem or theme.The minds may agree or disagree; they may argue the matter from differentpoints of view; they may contribute to the discussion in a variety of ways — byoffering examples, by proposing definitions or hypotheses, by stating analyses orarguments, by debating what has already been said, or by advancing a new view.But whatever form each contribution takes, it must be relevant, though it neednot be relevant in the same way or to the same degree. The various contributionsare relevant to each other through their relevance to the common theme orproblem, and this gives unity to the variety of things being said.A topic, then, is a place where minds meet through being relevant to a commonsubject of discussion. It is a place at which an intelligible exchange of thought,insight, or opinion can occur.

      A topic is a place where minds meet for discussion.

    6. The two mfasi^rfs of intrinsic greatness — scope and significance

      It seems that most of the ideas were chosen based on scope and significance.

    7. Both the great books and the great ideas were chosen to represent the unity andcontinuity of the tradition of western thought. The great l^ks are those whichdeal imaginatively or intellectually with the ideas which arc fundamental through-out this whole tradition. Any important work -ancient, mediaeval, or modern-will necessarily be concerned with these ideas in some uay. What distinguishes thegreat books is the originality, the profundity, and the scope of their treatment ofthese ideas. Other books, important in some special field of learning, may havethese qualities with respect to one idea or even to several related ideas, but thegreat books possess them for a considerable range of ideas, covering a variety ofsubject matters or disciplines; and among the great books the greatest arc thosewith the greatest range of imaginative or intellectual content.

      Adler explains the distinctive factor determining which authors and works were included in the list of the Great Books of the Western World.

      Basically, they were works that were influential, written excellently, and had applicability to a considerable amount of ideas processed by the whole.

    8. The great majority of terms eliminated were those which did not appear to ,receive extensive or elaborate treatment in the great books. They were terms thatdid not seem to have a lively career —a continuous and complex developmentthroughout the three-thousand-year tradition of the great books.The editors usedthe actual content of the great books as the test whereby to separate a small set oftruly great ideas from a much larger number of important concepts or notions.The reader can apply this test himself by comparing the 1800 concepts listed inthe Inventory of Terms, with the 102 ideas that are treated as the principalterms in the Syntopicon.

      The ideas were chosen on the basis of coverage within the Great Works.

    1. (~11:00) I am getting inspired to create my own "Syntopicon" of Education and Learning. Obviously this will be a lifelong endeavor and great undertaking, bound to change with every single reading... As I am not a team of 501 people.

      I think I will do this. But how? I am not sure yet. Let's think about it.

      I will probably build it out in the open. Perhaps I will even build this syntopicon of education using Obsidian's networked thought system... Instead of a formal linear book. A network of notes is much easier to navigate and will get me where I want to be. Also much easier to edit throughout the process of doing research.

    2. Is Syntopical Reading not the same as meta-analytic research? In what ways does it differ? In what ways is it the same?

    3. (~3:00) Syntopical Reading requires building a map of the topic across sources (coming up with one's own terms) in order to find out what each author is saying.

      How does one do this if the process of syntopical reading is the process by which one comes up with the knowledge? I believe the answer lies in a high skill level of Inspectional Reading

      Obviously, one cannot make a perfect map from the get go, and this should not be the intention (defeat perfectionism)... However, a rough sketch or map is far more valuable than none at all.

      I believe this is also the point of Dr. Justin Sung's prestudy... Building the barebone structure of the mindmap, finding the logic behind it all; the first layer.

    4. ( ~1:40) Syntopical Reading is about making one's own mind up.

  4. Mar 2024
    1. Theindexer will want a feel, before they begin, for the concepts that willneed to be flagged, or taxonomized with subheadings. They mightskim the book – reading it in full but at a canter – before tackling itproperly with the software open. Or they may spend a while, as apreliminary, with the book’s introduction, paying attention to itschapter outline – if it has one – to gain a sense of what to look outfor. Often, having reached the end of the book, the indexer will returnto the first few chapters, going over them again now that they havegained a conceptual mapping of the work as a whole.

      It's no wonder that Mortimer J. Adler was able to write such a deep analysis of reading in How to Read a Book after having spent so much time indexing the ideas behind The Great Books of the Western World.

      Indexing requires a solid inspectional read at minimum, but will often go deeper into contexts which require at least some analytical reading. To produce the Syntopicon, one must go even further into analytical reading to provide the proper indexing of ideas so that they may be sub-categorized and used for deeper analysis for things such as comparison and contrast of those ideas.

  5. Nov 2023
    1. I appreciate they're anagrams, but Adler wrote about syntopical reading, not synoptical reading. Syntopical = same topic. Show less Read more 15

      reply to RichardCarter, timbushell8640, _jared, et al at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laXcJyx9xCc&lc=UgwDgpIktVi8yFDjEVZ4AaABAg

      I see you @timbushell8640 and @RichardCarter. ;)

      Let's be clear that synoptic (meaning "seen together") is certainly a useful word apart from syntopic. Quite often it's used to describe the books Matthew, Mark, and Luke of the New Testament which are sometimes placed together on the same page to compare the stories, particularly for historical analysis. This sort of reading, not too dissimilar to syntopical reading, is a fantastic analytical tool as well and is described well by Bart Ehrman in one of his more scholarly works. Reading these books this way shows that the so-called synoptic gospels are anything but consistent (talk about crosses to bear....) Given the increase in the number of biblical scholars in the late 1800s doing this specific sort of reading (synoptic) may have influenced Adler's choice of neologism to describe that particular reading method. For those that haven't seen a synoptic book presentation, Throckmorton's version is a fairly good/popular one, though others certainly exist, including versions for translators which have side by side versions of books in Hebrew, Latin, Greek, etc. These can be found by searching for books with "interlinear", "parallel" and/or "polyglot" in their titles, especially with respect to bibles. They're somewhat similar to the layouts of the Loeb Classics collection, though those only have Greek/English or Latin/English in parallel.

      Ehrman, Bart D. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. Second Edition. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Chapter 6, "The Synoptic Problem and Its Significance for Interpretation", pp76-83.

      Throckmorton, Jr., Burton H. Gospel Parallels: A Comparison of the Synoptic Gospels, New Revised Standard Version. 5th Revised edition. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1992.

    1. Eco was aware of this predicament. As a university profes-sor, he knew that the majority of students in Italian univer-sities seldom attended classes, that very few of them wouldcontinue to write and do research, and that the degree theyeventually earned would not necessarily improve their socialconditions. It would have been easy to call for the system tobe reformed so as not to require a thesis from students ill-equipped to write one, and for whom the benefit of spendingseveral months working on a thesis might be difficult to jus-tify in cold economic terms.

      Some of the missing piece here is knowing a method for extracting and subsequently building. Without the recipe in hand, it's difficult to bake a complex cake.

      Not mentioned here as something which may be missing, but which Adler & Van Doren identify as strength and ability to read at multiple levels including inspectionally, analytically, and ultimately syntopically.

      To some extent, the knowledge of the method for excerpting and arranging will ultimately allow the interested lifelong learner the ability to read syntopically even if it isn't the sort of targeted exercise it might be within creating a thesis.

  6. Oct 2023
    1. This is great and yes it makes perfect sense, thank you!The comment on reading is super helpful. As I've mentioned on here before I've come ti PhD straight from industry, so learning these skills from scratch. Reading especially is still tricky for me after a year, and I tend to read too deeply, and try to read whole texts, and then over annotate.It's good to be reminded that this isn't how academic reading works.

      reply to Admirable_Discount75 at https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/17beucn/comment/k5nzic6/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

      If you've not come across it before you'll likely find Adler & Van Doren (1972) for reading a useful place to start, especially their idea of syntopical reading. Umberto Eco (2015) is also a good supplement to a lot of the internet-based and Ahrensian ZK material. After those try Mills.

      Adler, Mortimer J., and Charles Van Doren. How to Read a Book: The Classical Guide to Intelligent Reading. Revised and Updated ed. edition. 1940. Reprint, Touchstone, 2011. https://amzn.to/45IjBcV. (audiobook available; or a video synopsis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_rizr8bb0c)

      Eco, Umberto. How to Write a Thesis. Translated by Caterina Mongiat Farina and Geoff Farina. 1977. Reprint, Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press, 2015. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/how-write-thesis.

      Mills, C. Wright. “On Intellectual Craftsmanship (1952).” Society 17, no. 2 (January 1, 1980): 63–70. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02700062.

      Should it help, I often find that audiobook versions of books or coursework sources like The Great Courses (often free at local libraries, through Hoopla, or other sources), or the highest quality material from YouTube/podcasts listened to at 1.5 - 2x speed while you're walking/commuting can give you quick overviews and/or inspectional reads at a relatively low time cost. Short reminder notes/keywords (to search) while listening can then allow you to do fast searches of the actual texts and/or course guidebooks for excerpting and note making afterwards. Highly selective use of the audiobook bookmarking features let you relisten to short portions as necessary.

      As an example, one could do a quick crash course/overview of something like Marx and Communism over a week by quickly listening to all or parts of:

      These in combination with sources like Oxford's: Very Short Introduction series book on Marx (which usually have good bibliographies) would allow you to quickly expand into more specialized "handbooks" (Oxford, Cambridge, Routledge, Sage) on the subject of Marx and from there into even more technical literature and journal articles. Obviously the deeper you go, the slower things may become depending on the depth you're looking to go.

    1. A good college, ifit does nothing else, ought to produce competent syntopicalreaders.

      Adler and Van Doren's minimal bar of a college education is that it produce competent syntopical readers.

  7. Sep 2023
    1. syntopicalreading

      relationship of synoptical and syntopical

      Did the idea of syntopicality exist prior to Adler? Did it spring from the work of German religious scholars of XIX C who began doing synoptical readings and comparisons of the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke in the Bible?

      link to the "great conversation" quote of Whitehead about Plato: https://hypothes.is/a/qb2T7l9nEe6uVVOdez8mKw

  8. Nov 2022
    1. And this is the art-the skill or craftthat we are talking about here.

      We don't talk about the art of reading or the art of note making often enough as a goal to which students might aspire. It's too often framed as a set of rules and an mechanical process rather than a road to producing interesting, inspiring, or insightful content that can change humanity.

    2. That is to make notes about the shape of the discussion-the discussion that is engaged in by all of the authors,even if unbeknownst to them. For reasons that will becomeclear in Part Four, we prefer to call such notes dialectical.

      Dialectical notes are made at the level of syntopical reading and entail creating a conversation not only between the reader and the author, but create a conversation of questions and answers between and among many texts and the reader.

  9. Oct 2022
    1. To this day, most institutions of higher learning either do not know how to instructstudents in reading beyond the elementary level, or lack thefacilities and personnel to do so.

      This was revised in 1972, but this statement is sadly still broadly true today in 2022.

      What other advanced reading teaching is broadly available outside of this particular text?

    2. A youngman or woman who cannot read very well is hindered in hispursuit of the American dream

      This would seem to indicate that reading's primary importance was to fuel capitalism and production. It certainly says a lot about American culture, particularly in a book that wants to focus on syntopical reading.

    3. The fourth and highest level of reading we will call Syntopical Reading.
  10. Sep 2020
    1. Getting the Questions Clear — Rather than focus on the problems the author is trying to solve, you need to focus on the questions that you want answered.

      Knowing what you are looking for is important, usually when I dig into reading something - I do have questions in mind.

      I've also been littering my notes recently with #question tags - how can I make better use of these?

      I think this can help avoid the 'reading just for the sake of keeping busy' - if I know what I am looking for, but also at the same time - know if a book is worth reading, or one I should quit reading.