Galen Strawson

Galen Strawson’s Things That Bother Me will be published this month.

Poem: ‘After Flaubert’

Galen Strawson, 8 March 2018

à mon pote Jules

merde en croûte, merde en daube, merde du pays, merde d’antan.

merde de province, pâté de merde, folie de merde (merde boulangère).

merde Chantilly, merde de Paris, merde anglaise, putain de merde.

merde longue durée, merde d’occasion, merde maison, merdorama!

merde d’Auvergne, merde de Brest, merde de souche, merde...

Is R2-D2 a person?

Galen Strawson, 18 June 2015

What does it take​ for a person in 2015 to be the same person as she was in 1995 and will be in 2035? This is the question of personal identity, a question about persistence through time, or ‘diachronic’ identity. It seems enough at first to say that the person is the same in 2015 as in 1995 and in 2035 just so long as she is the same living human animal, the same biological...

Real Naturalism

Galen Strawson, 26 September 2013

I’m a naturalist, an out-and-out naturalist, a philosophical or metaphysical naturalist, a naturalist about concrete reality. I don’t think anything supernatural or otherwise non-natural exists.

You can’t classify anything as supernatural or non-natural until you have a substantive conception of the natural in relation to which something can be classified as non-natural. I...

Religion is a sin: Immortality!

Galen Strawson, 2 June 2011

Saving God and Surviving Death: Mark Johnston has gone for the double, and I’m tempted to think he has succeeded, on his own terms, many of which seem about as good as terms get in this strange part of the park. I don’t, however, agree with his reasons or share his motive for attempting to explain how we can survive death, and I doubt the necessity of some of the matériel in his admittedly fabulous argumentative armamentarium. I’ll be jiggered if I survive death on Johnston’s terms; I don’t know whether he holds out much hope for himself. And his success won’t please anyone who believes in anything supernatural. Any conception of God as essentially a supernatural being is idolatry in Johnston’s book. All regular adherents of the Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Islam and Christianity – are therefore idolaters. And they go further: they want a ‘personal’ God, a ‘Cosmic Intervener who might confer special worldly advantages on his favourites’. They should be ashamed of themselves, at least if they’ve had any education; they’re moral babies.

Syzygy: Brain Chic

Galen Strawson, 25 March 2010

Six is a ‘perfect number’ – it’s the sum of its divisors, 3, 2 and 1 – and it’s favoured for that reason by Azarya Sheiner, a six-year-old mathematical genius who is the central attractor, but not the protagonist, of Rebecca Goldstein’s new novel, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God. Twenty-eight is the next perfect number (divisors 14, 7, 4, 2, 1),...

The I in Me: I and Me

Thomas Nagel, 5 November 2009

What are you, really? To the rest of the world you appear as a particular human being, a publicly observable organism with a complex biological and social history and a name. But to yourself,...

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Headaches have themselves

Jerry Fodor, 24 May 2007

Consciousness is all the rage just now. It boasts new journals of its very own, from which learned articles overflow. Neuropsychologists snap its picture (in colour) with fMRI machines, and probe...

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Hilary Putnam, 8 February 1996

Every so often one encounters a book with which one disagrees, wholly or in large part, but which one regards as a genuine contribution to philosophy precisely because it sets out views with...

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Colin McGinn, 23 November 1989

Philosophical reputations come and go – they surge and gutter – according largely to the prevailing intellectual climate, and are only tenuously tied to the actual merits of the views...

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Is that you, James?

Thomas Nagel, 1 October 1987

Your nervous system is as complex a physical object as there is in the universe, so far as we know: 12 billion cells, each of them a complex structure with up to sixty thousand synaptic points of...

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