Entries by Colin McGinn

Ideology

It is an odd thing about an ideology that it is never acknowledged by the person in the grip of it. He or she thinks it is the purest common sense or the soundest theory. No one ever thinks, “Yes, I am an ideologue and proud of it”. Religious ideologies, political ideologies, racial ideologies, gender […]

The Problems of Philosophers

    I have been a professional philosopher for forty years, teaching on both sides of the Atlantic, at University College London, Oxford, Rutgers, UCLA, USC, and elsewhere. People have been talking about the problems of “the profession” (as if that wasn’t about individual philosophers) and I thought it might be useful for me to […]

Mysterianism Revisited

True Mystery     The view now known as “mysterianism”, associated with Chomsky and me (though with many antecedents), has been called by other names. That label has (or once had) a rather pejorative connotation, as if the people who espoused the view so named were mystics enamored of spooky mysteries inaccessible to science and […]

Larkin

Clive James, reviewing a biography of Philip Larkin in last week’s NY Times, says the following: “Larkin spoke and wrote the allusive, indirect and ironic tongue of the British literary world. In a time that grows more literal-minded almost as fast as it grows less literary, a tongue in the cheek will always need translating, […]

Chalky

Amidst all the triviality and madness, I just want to say that the death of Chalky White in Boardwalk Empire, and what led up to it,  was the most beautiful piece of acting I’ve seen all year. Michael Kenneth Williams, who plays (played) Chalky, acted the man’s final hour with such restraint, depth of feeling, […]

Prehension

After some delay, my book on human evolution and the hand is in production at MIT, title Prehension: A Philosophical Anthropology. I expect it to be published in fall 2015. As it happens, the left hand has been on my mind a lot recently, mainly for musical reasons. For both guitar and drums you need a […]

The Leiter Report

I may as well express my view on the question of the future of the Leiter Report. I think it should be abolished altogether, because of its unsound methodology, malign influence on the profession, governance structure, competitive mentality, and other reasons. Leiter should simply discontinue it, not hand it over to new management. If anyone […]

Butterflies

I just watched an interesting program on the BBC about Nabokov. I cannot help feeling that he would be fired from, or not hired by, an American university these days for writing Lolita. The “feminists” would not stand for it. The fact that it is a deeply moral book, and a great work of art, […]