Entries by Colin McGinn

Ontological commitment

Ontological Commitment     Can there be a criterion of ontological commitment? Can there be a formal test of what a person is ontologically committed to? What a person is committed to is a matter of what he believes or assumes or presupposes or is prepared to act on—on his attitudes. So the question is […]

This Country

I find it increasingly difficult to live in this country. The people are solipsistic, deluded, gullible, prejudiced, violent, histrionic, puerile, stupid, and callous. And there are some pretty terrible people outside of universities too.

Anthem

I’m in favor of Colin K’s “taking the knee”. I used to go to Halle orchestra concerts when I was a student in Manchester and I would “take the rump”: I would remain seated during the national anthem. My reason was the content of that anthem–all about the Queen. I would have stood for a […]

This Time

I don’t think Trump can recover from his latest “error”. When Jimmy Fallon denounces him you know the jig is up. The contempt for Trump is palpable across the board. Well deserved. Probably the worst thing I have ever seen from a politician in America.

Provocations

My new book Philosophical Provocations: 55 Short Essays (MIT Press) came in the mail the other day (publication date 18 August). I won’t comment on the content but the form struck me immediately: it is unusually wide, about an inch wider than a standard book. I don’t know if this is because the publisher wanted to avoid […]

Einstein

I’ve been reading Thomas Ryckman’s careful and informative book on Einstein’s philosophy. He strongly opposed Newton’s absolute space and time for Machian reasons, as he also opposed  unobservable causes. What I’d like to know is whether he followed Mach into other positivist claims–about other minds, the past, the future, ethics, atomism, the self.

Question for Don Jr

Someone needs to ask Don Jr a simple question: “What would you have done with the information about Clinton if you thought it was genuine and damaging?” It’s hard to believe he could now answer by saying he would have handed it to the FBI and not used it.

Lies and More Lies

I picture a cartoon in the New Yorker: a child with her mother watching Trump on TV–“Mommy, how do I stop myself becoming a billionaire?” The level of lying reached by Trump and his associates has reached epic proportions. People appear on TV telling outright lies and clearly know they are. Trump himself will say […]