Entries by Colin McGinn

Mystery Max

“For proper appreciation of Maeterlinck, you must have, besides a sense of beauty, a taste for wisdom. Maeterlinck is not less a sage than a poet. Of all living thinkers whose names are known to me, he has the firmest and widest grasp of the truth. He more clearly than any other thinker is conscious […]


I had the plumbers at my house yesterday and it occurred to me to wonder: Isn’t plumbing really an instance of the “extended gut”? Isn’t it rather arbitrary where we conventionally think the digestive system leaves off? What if your colon were replaced with a PVC prosthesis and extended further out into the environment? What […]


I see that MIT Press has put an ad for my book Philosophy of Language on Leiter’s blog, which seems kinda funny to me. On the right side is an ad for a new book by Max Deutsch, The Myth of the Intuitive, who was a PhD student of mine at Rutgers.

More Max

I’ve been deep in Max Beerbohm. I want to recommend him to you, one and all. But he is so impossible to summarize or encapsulate, his qualities so resistant to paraphrase, that all one can is quote him, and then stand back in wonder. Let me just say that he is the most pleasurable writer […]

Max on Enoch Soames

“He was a stooping, shambling person, rather tall, very pale, with longish and brownish hair. He had a thin vague beard–or rather, he had a chin on which a large number of hairs weakly curled and clustered to cover its retreat.”


The birds sing, the butterflies fly, and the reptiles scamper–and that’s just in my garden. Meanwhile the earth turns heavily on its axis.

The Animals

This morning I had an interesting experience. I was due to speak on a panel for the BBC World Service about animal experimentation, especially on primates, along with four other people. The other panelists were from other parts of the world, including the UK, and so I needed to be at the studio by 8 […]

Roger and Novak

Yesterday’s final in Rome between Federer and Djokovic was a fascinating spectacle, not only for the superb tennis but for the psychology of the event. Federer was thoroughly outclassed in two punishing sets. The look on his face at first said, “This guy is a better tennis player than I am”. Then the look deepened […]