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No Talk in Bed

Owen Flanagan: Confucius, 2 April 1998

The Analects of Confucius 
translated by Simon Leys.
Norton, 224 pp., £9.95, February 1998, 0 393 31699 8
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The Analects of Confucius 
translated by Chichung Huang.
Oxford, 224 pp., £35, October 1997, 0 19 506157 8
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... According to the best estimates, Confucius lived from 551 to 479 BCE. The Analects is the name given to the short book of his wisdom, consisting of proverbs, maxims, memorable advice, short parables and keen observations about how best to live. The text is the result of an editing and compilation process involving two generations of Chinese disciples, and completed around 400 BCE, possibly in the same year that Socrates met his end in Athens ...

I am not a computer

Owen Flanagan, 7 September 1995

Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness 
by Roger Penrose.
Vintage, 457 pp., £17.99, September 1995, 0 09 958211 2
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... Years ago, a colleague of limited intellectual powers accosted me with the charge that I had been telling students that the ‘mind was meat’. This was my colleague’s way of putting things. I then fell for the question which the charge led up to: ‘So you’re a materialist?’ ‘Yes,’ I answered. To which my normally witless interlocutor responded: ‘Pray tell, what is the nature of the material world?’ Witless was right ...

Marketplace Atheism

Stephen Mulhall: The Soul Hypothesis, 11 September 2003

The Problem of the Soul: Two Visions of Mind and How to Reconcile Them 
by Owen Flanagan.
Basic Books, 384 pp., £13.50, August 2003, 0 465 02461 0
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... we would do well to consider the benefits of continuing to live with the ‘problem’. For Owen Flanagan, belief in a soul means believing that a person is an immaterial mental essence attached to, but independent of, a body. Without such a conception, he thinks that religious belief must founder; but he also thinks that a version of the same ...

Mysterian

Jackson Lears: On Chomsky, 3 May 2017

Why Only Us: Language and Evolution 
by Robert Berwick and Noam Chomsky.
MIT, 215 pp., £18.95, February 2016, 978 0 262 03424 1
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Because We Say So 
by Noam Chomsky.
Penguin, 199 pp., £9.99, August 2016, 978 0 241 97248 9
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What Kind of Creatures Are We? 
by Noam Chomsky.
Columbia, 167 pp., £17, January 2016, 978 0 231 17596 8
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Who Rules the World? 
by Noam Chomsky.
Hamish Hamilton, 307 pp., £18.99, May 2016, 978 0 241 18943 6
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Chomsky: Ideas and Ideals 
by Neil Smith and Nicholas Allott.
Cambridge, 461 pp., £18.99, January 2016, 978 1 107 44267 2
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... opens with an avowal of ‘the new mysterianism’ – a term coined by the philosopher Owen Flanagan, who described it as ‘a postmodern position designed to drive a railroad spike through the heart of scientism’ by holding, as Bilgrami puts it, that ‘consciousness may never be completely explained’. Differentiating between ...

Roses

Stephen Wall, 27 June 1991

Regeneration 
by Pat Barker.
Viking, 252 pp., £13.99, May 1991, 0 670 82876 9
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Rose Reason 
by Mary Flanagan.
Bloomsbury, 388 pp., £14.99, April 1991, 0 7475 0888 7
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Rose 
by Rose Boyt.
Chatto, 182 pp., £13.99, April 1991, 0 7011 3728 2
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... it figures in literary history because it was taken over as a military hospital in 1916. Wilfred Owen was sent there, and so was Siegfried Sassoon. That their meeting, and the place itself, had a catalytic effect on Owen’s poetry has long been recognised. When, in her new novel, Pat Barker shows Sassoon and ...

Ireland’s Invisibilities

Owen Dudley Edwards, 15 May 1980

Ireland in the Age of Imperialism and Revolution 1760-1801 
by R.B. McDowell.
Oxford, 740 pp., £28, December 1979, 9780198224808
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... linguistic resurrectionists of the mid-20th century. As is eloquently symbolised by Thomas Flanagan in his brilliant and invaluable novel about the 1798 revolt, The Year of the French, it was the most hopeless victim of politics turned into warfare. What was left of it starved to death or emigrated in the great ...

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