Alex Oliver

Alex Oliver is a fellow of Queen’s College, Cambridge.

Jenny McMorris’s biography marked the 75th anniversary of Henry Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage. He is, it’s fair to say, remembered for that book (known, simply, as Fowler) and not for his work as a lexicographer. Fowler is the sacred text of the linguistically self-conscious. McMorris quotes a distinguished judge who ‘had been kept from his bed by it...

Pink Elephants

Alex Oliver, 2 November 2000

I have to confess that before starting on this review I hadn’t read Robert Brandom’s massive Making It Explicit (1994). Although it’s famous, very few of my colleagues have read it either (I mean read it, not just bought it or dipped their toes in it). Writing such a walrus of a book is a risky business. Life is short and it’s publish or perish; so a lot is written and...

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