Galen Strawson

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

I’m not sure why Jonathan Parry’s reference to Lord Northcliffe’s appointment as ‘director of propaganda in Enemy Countries’ led me to look up ‘propaganda’ in the Oxford English Dictionary, but it seems worthwhile, in these verbally mephitic times, and because mistakes in the OED are surely vanishingly rare, to point out that its definition is wrong. It reads: ‘The systematic dissemination...

The Coo Situation

4 March 2021

I was very touched by Michael Hofmann’s poem ‘H.H., 95’ (LRB, 4 March). It was full of familiarities that I find somewhat alarming. It may be, though, that his wood pigeons (‘The gaspy whistle of wood pigeons’ wings/and their little-brained Roo-coo-coo/anaesthetises another summer’) are in fact, and in spite of their wings, collared doves, more delicate creatures, and relatively recent...
A number of people have expressed puzzlement about the title of my poem ‘After Flaubert’ (LRB, 8 March). I shouldn’t have omitted the epigraph, a deeply characteristic comment from Flaubert’s letters (which are, arguably, his greatest achievement): ‘De quelque côté qu’on pose les pieds on marche sur la merde’ (to Louise Colet, Saturday, midnight, Croisset, 29-30 January 1853).

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...

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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