Entries by Colin McGinn

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, […]

Skepticism and a Kitten

A black and white kitten showed up in my garden a week or so ago. It was clearly wild and we started feeding it. I was thinking about skepticism at the time and certainly not connecting the two things. Yesterday I went out the front door to drive over to the Biltmore to play some […]

Cosmos

I just want to put in a good word for Neil de Grasse Tyson’s series on Fox on Sunday nights. Despite the fact that he pronounces it “Kuzmose” (rhymes with “dose”), the program is excellent in every way. The science is well explained, the graphics are terrific, the historical references helpful, the photography superb: this […]