All entries by this author

Review of Dawkins’ The Ancestor’s Tale *

Oct 14th, 2004 | Filed by

Seeing the world in a fresh, exhilarating way.… Read the rest

Spiked on Derrida *

Oct 14th, 2004 | Filed by

Insistence on multiplicity of meanings more attractive to literary critics than philosophers.… Read the rest

More Derrida *

Oct 14th, 2004 | Filed by

The Guardian obituary.… Read the rest


Oct 13th, 2004 8:30 pm | By

I love this. There are those who think that people like me who insist, whether petulantly or earnestly or flintily, that Shakespeare (as it might be) is quite a good writer and better in many ways than quite a few other writers, are ‘elitist’ and snobbish and mindless enemies of all of popular culture. But ’tis not so. It’s just that I insist in the same kind of way there too – some of it is better than other of it, that’s all. I don’t love all of popular culture. But then I don’t love all of the putative ‘canon’ either – some of it I think is over-rated. Gatsby, for instance.

But one bit of popular culture I do … Read the rest

Pogo and the Art of Popular Culture *

Oct 13th, 2004 | Filed by

Verbal facility, emotional range, moral complexity, political satire. Go Pogo.… Read the rest

Why Does No One Read Analytic Philosophy? *

Oct 13th, 2004 | Filed by

Why yards and yards of Foucault next to zero Fodor on the shelves?… Read the rest

Key Thinkers and Canons

Oct 12th, 2004 7:38 pm | By

Now that’s funny. Made me do one of those loony blurts of laughter at the computer screen that solidify one’s feeling of creeping insanity. No but really, it is funny. The Guardian has a really exceptionally irritating smug knowing comment in a leader on our debt to Derrida. My point is not to quarrel with the late Derrida, whom I haven’t read; my point is to quarrel with this particular remark in this particular rather silly piece in the Guardian.

What was important was that deconstruction held that no text was above analysis or closed to alternative interpretation. It is no coincidence that it came into vogue in the 1960s and 1970s, when many cultural and social institutions were being

Read the rest

A Paradigm Shift

Oct 12th, 2004 6:37 pm | By

My colleague and I have been talking in an inconclusive back-and-forth way about the subject of certainty, the revisability of scientific claims, the difference between in principle and in reality or in practice or in fact, transcendence, labeling, rhetoric, the difference between what can be imagined and what is a live possibility. We’ll talk about it further in a couple of days (well, three) when we’ll be able to do it with the useful accompaniment and assistance of gestures, grimaces, thrown objects, slaps, pinches, what my brother always called as he administered it to me an ‘Indian rope burn’ but which must be called something else now but I don’t know what, table-thumping, brow slapping, eye rolling, hair tearing, and … Read the rest

‘The Plan’

Oct 12th, 2004 5:14 pm | By

Speaking of poetry – Norm has a poem by Sophie Hannah. It’s brilliant. I’d quote a bit but that would spoil the effect; read the whole thing.

Poetry rocks.… Read the rest

Derrida in the Newspapers *

Oct 12th, 2004 | Filed by

Wanted to play football but realised he wasn’t good enough.… Read the rest

Grayling Replies to Guardian on ‘Canon’ *

Oct 12th, 2004 | Filed by

Does a good job of it, too.… Read the rest

A Few Key Thinkers on Derrida *

Oct 12th, 2004 | Filed by

Also one or two key non-thinkers.… Read the rest

Our Debt to Derrida *

Oct 12th, 2004 | Filed by

He allowed Braddon to sit down next to the Brontes. … Read the rest

The Hunting of the Top Quark *

Oct 11th, 2004 | Filed by

A non-physicist philosopher of science got it right. Makes a change.… Read the rest

History, Fiction, Truth, Evidence, Details *

Oct 11th, 2004 | Filed by

Details matter; it is unwise to make them up if you want to be believed.… Read the rest

Scott McLemee on Derrida *

Oct 11th, 2004 | Filed by

‘An approach that could push one’s mental stamina to the limits.’… Read the rest

The War on Science, Bush Division, Again *

Oct 11th, 2004 | Filed by

If agencies say what you don’t want to hear, then re-organize them.… Read the rest

Derrida *

Oct 10th, 2004 | Filed by

The Washington Post.… Read the rest

Derrida *

Oct 10th, 2004 | Filed by

The New York Times.… Read the rest

Derrida *

Oct 10th, 2004 | Filed by

The Telegraph.… Read the rest