Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

New and Noteworthy

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

New and Noteworthy

Article excerpt

Collected Essays on Philosophers

By Colin Wilson

Edited by Colin Stanley with an introduction by John Shand

Cambridge Scholars

"Like many others," writes John Shand in a warmly personal introduction, "I was partly inspired to study philosophy at university by having read [Colin Wilson's] books, in particular The Outsider - not that when one turned up at university the manner in which philosophy was done was anything like that found in the book." This collection of Wilson's essays on 17 philosophers ranging from Russell and Husserl to Sartre and Spinoza attests to the plain speaking and persuasive arguments of "England's only home-grown existential philosopher" and a scholar who was, concludes Shand, "in some manner a great man".

The Writer's Diet: A Guide to Fit Prose

By Helen Sword

University of Chicago Press

The author of Stylish Academic Writing returns with a ruthlessly slimline slice of advice - and, at www.writersdiet.com, a prose flabbiness test: just pop in a sample of your work and prepare to blush. Addressing wielders of words who remain in thrall to the passive verb and the abstract noun, Sword aims to lead us to "fit and trim" prose via an assault course covering horrors such as "Prepositional pudge", "Ad-dictions" and "Waste words". The tone is equal parts exasperation and encouragement, and worth every sweaty minute.

Is Technology Good for Education?

Neil Selwyn

Polity Press

Edtech - what's not to like? Well, there's all that "marginalizing the collective and the commons", "dehumanizing teaching and learning", Silicon Valley's enthusiasm for "networked individualism", and a focus on what is commercial, calculable and effective rather than good, observes Selwyn. Persuasively understated rather than simply polemic, this short, wide-ranging essay roams from Moocs, the Khan Academy and chilling US dropout statistics to the work of UK scholars Kalwant Bhopal and Farzana Shain, and doesn't hesitate to put it plainly: "Even the most committed and zealous proponent of digital education knows in their heart of hearts that nothing is going to be 'fixed' through technology. …

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