Entries by Colin McGinn

Blind Review

The obsession with blind review of journal articles is peculiar. Why not blind examining or blind book reviewing or blind job selection? Anyone entrusted with these jobs is expected to evaluate in an unbiased manner, and if they can’t they should not be so trusted. I think all information about a candidate can be useful, […]


I was glad Serena Williams decided to return to Indian Wells after that shameful incident 14 years ago. Her return made the point with great force and clarity. But I also am glad that Venus and their father did not return this year, because that mob behavior can never be forgotten or forgiven. It was […]

Conceding Intelligence

In footnote 76 of Naming and Necessity Kripke uses a phrase that has stuck in my mind for decades–I think of it almost every day. He is discussing the identity theory and considers the objection that his use of “correlated with” presupposes the anti-materialist position he set out to prove. He says: “Although I was […]

Jonathan Miller

For those who would like to read a really positive review by me, have a look at my review of the collected writings of Jonathan Miller in the latest New York Review of Books. Now that was a pleasure to write. I must have written about a hundred reviews by now, some more positive than […]

Extinct humans and human limits

I’ve been reading  Yuval Noah Harari’s best-seller Sapiens and I think it is very good. My own forthcoming book Prehension is in the same area, though I deal with human evolution before culture got started. One thing he emphasizes is that H. Sapiens once shared the planet with several other human species–Neanderthals, H. Erectus, Denisovans, and others. […]

A True Story

Here’s a birthday tale: who says philosophers don’t have adventures? Any parallels and life lessons I leave to my readers to draw.       A Great Escape     Last week I went to meet a friend of mine, Greg, for a nice evening boat ride. I drove over to Monty’s restaurant in Coconut […]

Downton Abbey

The great Downton ended its fifth season last week. I was struck till the very end by its preoccupation with matters moral: it’s not primarily about the British class system or the recent history of imperial England–it’s about right and wrong, good and evil. The good may be flawed (Lord Grantham) and the bad may […]

Galen Strawson on the Consciousness Myth

That was a very enlightening article by Galen Strawson in the TLS about the history of the mind-body problem. He thoroughly debunks the idea that consciousness entered philosophy around 1995. Consciousness had long been regarded as especially problematic for materialism (I was banging on about it in my 1982 book The Character of Mind, following […]