Entries by Colin McGinn


When I wrote Moral Literacy I named kindness as the most important virtue. Now I would amend this slightly: what we need is EXTREME KINDNESS–really going out of your way to be nice to people. Not love, which is impossible, but acts of kindness. If cruelty is the worst thing, kindness is the best thing–to […]


The bad thing about happiness is that it gives you an opportunity to be really unhappy. The good thing about unhappiness is that it gives you an idea of what it would be to be happy.

Jerry Fodor

A brilliant, and brilliantly funny, man, but also very human, if otherworldly. A big influence on me (though not in all respects). We used to share bus rides between Manhattan and New Brunswick. Not only did he have a very original mind, he also had a very original personality. It is hard to convey what […]

Schopenhauer and Kierkegaard

I would like to recommend two books I just read: Christopher Janaway on Schopenhauer and Patrick Gardiner on Kierkegaard, both in the Oxford series of Very Short introductions. Both are very well written, clear and informative, as well as off the beaten track. I was particularly interested to read Gardiner’s book as I knew him […]

Tennis Again

I just watched Goffin beat Federer in the end of year tournament in London. It’s amazing that Roger can play this well at 36, but David simply outplayed him. Roger’s smile across the net at the end was classic. I’m 67 and I play a guy who is 29–the number one player in Cuba in […]

Philosophy of Food

Something different.         Food and Philosophy     Are there any hitherto undiscovered branches of philosophy? There must have been a time when no branches of philosophy had been discovered, back in prehistory, and then gradually the field formed and spread itself. Now we have numerous fields and sub-fields of philosophical enquiry, […]

Disgust Again

I thought this was a good and useful review (from Metapsychology 2012). The Meaning of Disgust by Colin McGinn Oxford University Press, 2011 Review by Wendy C. Hamblet, Ph.D., Mar 6th 2012 (Volume 16, Issue 10) Colin McGinn’s recent new book, The Meaning of Disgust, sports a tempting enough title to lure the curious reader […]