Entries by Colin McGinn

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 […]

Intellectual Oscars

It was nice to see the films about Alan Turing and Stephen Hawking doing so well at the Oscars, but I wonder if there would be anything like the same interest if the former had not been gay and the latter confined to a wheelchair. I yield to no one in my admiration of these […]

Jessie J

I had the good fortune to see Jessie J perform last night in concert at the Fillmore theater in South Beach. She sang with a four piece band to a dedicated and enthusiastic audience. I expected to be amazed by her voice (I listen to her albums all the time) but I was also much […]

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, […]