Entries by Colin McGinn

Believing Zombies

  Believing Zombies     Could there be zombies that believe they are conscious?[1]They have no consciousness, but they erroneously believe that they do. That may seem possible if we think of their beliefs as implanted at birth or something of the sort: couldn’t a super scientist simply interfere with their brain to install the […]


I started playing guitar at age 60 after being a drummer for nearly 50 years. Not easy. Lately I’ve been playing bass more, which combines guitar and percussion. I recently learned the bass lick in Prince’s Sign O’ the Times (quite a thrill to play that). But even more recently I took up blues harmonica, […]

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin: why we love America. Donald Trump: why we hate America. I’m aiming for 76 as my expiry date. Her lack of glamor is part of the reason for her transcendence. That voice. The TV coverage was gratifying and RESPECT accorded a good deal of respect as a feminist anthem. Fair enough, it has […]

Knowledge Versus Opinion

      Knowledge, Opinion, and Fantasy     Plato wished to know the difference between knowledge and opinion. His idea, much elaborated over the centuries, is that something needs to be added to opinion to get knowledge. Knowledge is opinion plussomething—truth, justification, reliability, etc. Certainly we can agree that knowledge is more than opinion, […]

Delusional Narcissist

I notice that my favorite projective paranoid, Brian Leiter, has taken to calling me a delusional narcissist (clear-eyed sentimentalist would be more accurate). Why not throw in bipolar schizophrenic or depressive psychopath? Anything goes, right. Completely ridiculous, but so what. Why, Brian, why? But don’t let me stop you, old chap. You are clearly suffering […]


I just recorded an enjoyable podcast with Michael Shermer about mysteries etc. It should be out in a week or so. I liked it because it was long–a full hour and half. No soundbites. He was an excellent interlocutor.

Absolute Deontology

This seems apropos: Absolute Deontology     Kant’s position that there cannot be a case of morally permissible lying has not been met with much enthusiasm. The idea of absolute moral rules thus seems mistaken. W.D. Ross sought to remedy the problem for deontological ethics by qualifying the force of moral rules: instead of saying […]


We are now a deceptocracy: government run by continuous lies. The key feature of government in 1984 is precisely that the whole thing is held together by a dense web of lies. The non-acceptance of lies is punishable by death.