Minds and Bodies: Philosophers and Their Ideas
In Minds and Bodies, Colin McGinn offers proof that contemporary philosophy, in the hands of a consummate reviewer, can be the occasion not only sharp critical assessment, but also writing so clear and engaging that readers with no special background in the subject but simply a taste for challenging idea can feel welcome.
Gathering nearly forty review-essays printed mainly in nonspecialist publications over the past twenty years, McGinn, a distinguished philosopher and teacher, measures the best of recent Anglo-American philosophical writing, considering books by Thomas Nagel, John Searle, and Daniel Dennett, among others, and navigating with energy and wit important new work in ethics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind. Opening with a section on philosophical lives–books written on or by Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell, Charles Peirce, and A. J. Ayer– McGinn moves to the question of consciousness, offering readers two dozen crisp and provocative pieces on work seeking to define and illuminate the mind, its activity, and its relation to the world of physical objects. Closing with a section on ethics, McGinn brings a bold and sharply original perspective to argument in such controversial areas as animal rights and feminist moral theory.
A bracing collection of masterfully written reviews that together form an accessible picture of philosophy as it is practiced today, Minds and Bodies makes permanent the critical reflections of a gifted philosopher and writer and is destined to find an appreciative audience both within the philosophical community and in the wider culture of intellectually curious readers.
“Colin McGinn’s essays are always lively, lucid, provocative, and stimulating. He has his eye on hard and important questions, and addresses them with verve and insight. It is very good to have this strong collection available.”