Ockham's Razor: A Season in France in Search of Meaning

Overview

A road trip in France can be many things. This one involves a pair of precocious teenagers, a meditative author intent on imprinting some of the worthier aspects of French civilization on their still-malleable minds, and his indulgent, level-headed wife. Seizing an unexpected opportunity to combine family travel with some studious research into medieval France, the writer and his family embark from Paris on a route that takes them through Versailles, Tours, Chartres, Lyon, ...
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Overview

A road trip in France can be many things. This one involves a pair of precocious teenagers, a meditative author intent on imprinting some of the worthier aspects of French civilization on their still-malleable minds, and his indulgent, level-headed wife. Seizing an unexpected opportunity to combine family travel with some studious research into medieval France, the writer and his family embark from Paris on a route that takes them through Versailles, Tours, Chartres, Lyon, Carcasonne, Toulouse, Avignon, Dijon and points between.

Along the way they immerse themselves in France's rich medieval heritage, finally exploring the magnificent mountain-top ruins of the mysterious and romantic religious sect known as the Cathars, in the country's extreme south. From cheese and charcuterie to landmark hotels to Michelin-starred restaurants; from Aristotle, and Thomas Aquinas to Descartes and Magritte, Rowland blends the adventurous family's travel experiences with an astute and fascinating examination of some of our deepest assumptions about the nature of reality and our relationship to the world.

Rolling along back roads in their trusty rented Peugeot; in crusader castles and feudal dungeons; in bistros and supermarch├ęs; in a borrowed country farmhouse, in a luxurious cave-dwelling in Vouvray, family discussions turn to the world view of medieval Europe, a system of thought and perception radically different from our own. Suspecting that the Enlightenment and Reformation tossed out the baby of moral certainty with the bathwater of hypocrisy and superstition, Rowland argues that modern values, derived from fundamentalist science and rationalism, have reduced human beings to alienated objects-human resources, or worse, human capital.

Reviewers have compared Ockham's Razor to both Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence and Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It is in fact a unique blending of philosophical speculation with an engaging and often humorous travel narrative that is both authentic and highly imaginative. Its head may be in the clouds both literally and figuratively, but its feet are planted firmly in everyday realities of the modern world and its challenges from family dynamics to global meltdown.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781467922852
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 1/2/2012
  • Pages: 266
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Ranked among Canada's leading literary journalists, Wade Davies Rowland has produced more than a dozen books on subjects ranging from television journalism and organized crime, to international environmental law, to his current concerns which include the social impact of communication technologies, the philosophy of science, and the sources of human values.

His writing is often informed by his experience as a newspaper reporter and television writer and producer, and senior executive with both CTV, Canada's largest private television network and CBC, the nation's public broadcaster. It was a cumulative dissatisfaction with the quality of news programming at both networks that led him to return to writing and scholarship full-time, in an attempt to find the roots of what seemed to be an institutional bias toward mediocrity in mass media. This led, in turn, to a continuing exploration of the sources of ideas such as "quality" in the long history of moral thought.

Today, Rowland is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Toronto's York University, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the ethics of communication. His scholarly work has appeared in a number of academic journals including Journal of Corporate Citizenship, Journal of Corporate Ethics, International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics, and Social Epistemology.

Rowland's first work on his departure from corporate media and return to writing was "Spirit of the Web: The Age of Information from Telegraph to Internet", which chronicles the history of communication technologies and their impact on civilization. It is currently in its third edition.

In "Ockham's Razor", Rowland addresses issues of equity, justice, quality, and human dignity through a travel narrative in which the author and his family take a road trip through France which culminates in an exploration of the storied Cathar ruins in Languedoc, France.

His two most recent books pursue questions of the sources of human values from different perspectives: "Greed, Inc.: Why Corporations Rule Our World" is a ground-breaking exploration of the nature of the modern business corporation and its relationship to the people it employs and the public it serves; "Galileo's Mistake" is a re-examination of the historic dispute between Galileo and the Roman Catholic Church in the sixteenth century, at the dawn of the modern science.

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