A story is told of G. E. Moore, seated in his study, being asked, ‘What is philosophy?’ He replied, after a pause, with a wave of his hand at the bulging shelves, ‘What all these books are about’. Professor Rorty implicitly asks ‘What is philosophy?’ but explicitly, with a wave of his pen at many of the established classics of Western philosophy from Descartes onwards, tells us that philosophy is not what all these books are about. I think that he might be persuaded to admit that philosophy was what Descartes’s Meditations, Locke’s Essay, Kant’s Critiques, Russell’s Our Knowledge of the External World, were about, although he might regard such a remark as misleading, and he would want to argue that this was an unfortunate state of affairs.
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
Jan Morris, who died last week, was a much-loved contributor to our pages. In 2017, she wrote a characteristically witty article about the different winds, their various personalities and how they had touched her life: https://literaryreview.co.uk/let-it-blow.
Give a friend a subscription to Literary Review with the code LRNOVEMBER and you can save almost 40% on newsstand prices.
Click here to buy a gift subscription for just £32:
James Hogg—best known today for his amazing novel The Private Memoirs & Confessions of a Justified Sinner, which “voluptuously tormented” André Gide—died #OTD, 21 Nov, 1835.
In this @Lit_Review article, Alan Taylor visits Hogg’s birthplace in the Borders