No More Philosophy

No More Philosophy

 

Readers may have noticed a cessation in the philosophical essays I have been posting on this blog. The reason for this is that I have nothing further to say. For the past several years I have been writing down my philosophical thoughts and publishing them here. I never intended to do this indefinitely, but the thoughts kept coming. On a number of occasions I felt the well was drying up, but I was wrong; now I think I have reached the end of the line. I am quite happy about this, because writing philosophy is a burden that interferes with other things. I just finished reading Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle and The Origin of Species, both immensely worth reading, and writing philosophy would have interfered with this. I now feel I have said all that I want and need to say about philosophical subjects, so I am perfectly content to write no more philosophy (I have been doing it for nearly fifty years). I think I have said enough, and more than most people can handle.

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21 replies
  1. Free Logic
    Free Logic says:

    Never say never. But yes this reader noticed. I appreciate your willingness to pause (that’s what I think what’s going on here FWIW). A lot of philosophers never pause and produce verbose nothingness in huge volumes. Hope my forecast is the right one. All the best!

    Reply
  2. Robert Cottrell
    Robert Cottrell says:

    I’ve been learning much from your notes, and I am sorry that they are pausing or halting. I hope you will continue posting from time to time. For example, if you were so minded, I would like to read your thoughts about Longtermism, in the light of William MacAskill’s book. MacAskill’s insistence that we have similar moral obligations towards actually existing people and hypothetical future people seems to me to be obviously wrong, but I lack the clarity of thought to say exactly why. (MacAskill says merely that the equivalence is “common sense”.)

    Reply
    • Colin McGinn
      Colin McGinn says:

      Still, I’m sure there are past notes you have yet to read. I don’t tend to comment on contemporaries: it can be tedious and I end up in elaborate critiques. I know nothing of the book you mention.

      Reply
  3. jgkess@cfl.rr.com
    jgkess@cfl.rr.com says:

    I agree with Free Logic (though I have no idea what “FWIW” means). I would hope for, in your case, a relapse into habit. A combination of superior prose and philosophy ought ever to have its say.

    Reply
  4. jgkess@cfl.rr.com
    jgkess@cfl.rr.com says:

    Curious that both Carlos Alcarez and Iga Sweitek should slump at the same time after a magnificent couple of months. Not one word on, “The Tennis Channel”, about how Alexander Sverev is doing. (Not sure about the spelling of any of those last names).

    Reply
    • Colin McGinn
      Colin McGinn says:

      Odd to see Coric and Garcia coming out on top. The margins are small and it’s hard to keep up the intensity. Noone can manage to win every time. Zverev keeping very quiet; Federer a mystery. Meanwhile I keep showing up at the court, living the dream. I’m now playing with a retired Cuban psychiatrist as well as a Swiss banker (Eduardo and Eddy).

      Reply
  5. jgkess@cfl.rr.com
    jgkess@cfl.rr.com says:

    Hmm, a Cuban psychiatrist and a Swiss banker. I should like to have both their counsel, off the court if not on. Always a motely mix of crew down there in South Florida. Orlando is as bland as it gets, though I’ve heard lately that the downtown area is popping with fresh new hordes of drug addicts and the homeless.

    Reply
  6. Mark L
    Mark L says:

    I recently obtained a copy of Minds and Bodies. I took it on holiday to Cannes this week and it’s been such a fascinating read. I’ll be honest though – I have read it through, but I’ve probably only understood about 25%. So it’ll will have to be read many times over as I encounter the works of each philosopher. Same goes for this website – there is so much get one’s teeth into on here.

    I’m pleased to hear you’ve taken up songwriting, I’ve been doing that since I was 12, it’s a real joy to create and the mind boggles at what you’re going to come up with.

    Thankyou and all the best

    Mark

    Reply
    • Colin McGinn
      Colin McGinn says:

      I try to write songs in the usual common style (no fancy words) but I do like to subvert some conventions. I did write one song using lyrics that came to me in a dream: “The hazy babies were nausea clothed”.

      Reply
  7. Mark L
    Mark L says:

    Ha – I think we all need to hear this. I envy you – it’s like watching Die Hard for the first time. Songwriting really is A Kind Of Magic.

    Reply
      • Mark L
        Mark L says:

        Yes – something from nothing – or from somewhere else other than here. It has to be worked at, laboured on and structured etc, but the essence seems almost mystical. A revelation.

        Also the way the brain arranges the melody – the repeating shapes, the mirror images – the stuff that musicologists make sound like a consciously deliberate process, but which is entirely subconscious .

        I remember the first time I heard Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds – it seriously blew my mind. The strange lyric, the weirdly eerie synthesiser/ harpsichord sound playing That harmonically shifting arpeggio . It conveyed something to me that was more than the sum of its parts – something that could not be conveyed in words (or music) alone.

        Reply
          • Mark L
            Mark L says:

            To be fair to Macca though -he did write Penny Lane:
            “..and though she feels as if she’s in a play – she is anyway”

            not to mention his experimentation with playing the same chord with the right hand, but altering the bass notes with the left (as in the line above) which I always found strangely awakening.

            But yes, Lennon was certainly more in tune with his emotions.

          • Colin McGinn
            Colin McGinn says:

            I think Paul is very gifted musically, but I don’t think he is as much of a self-conscious artist as John. Paul seemed to like everything, but John didn’t like much (he disliked jazz).

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