Stewart R Sutherland

What is Philosophy?

Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature


Blackwell 401pp £12.50 order from our bookshop

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

  • Last Tweets

    • RT : 'Gracefully meditative...a Chatterton-esque literary discovery of old, albeit with references to Bob Geldof and Alk… ,
    • Still time to win tickets to Lady Windermere's Fan at the Vaudeville Theatre in London. To enter simply email marke… ,
    • In need of last minute christmas gifts for children? Philip Womack reviews the latest children's books from Jessica… ,
    • "An artist had to be a chemist – and he had to have a strong stomach. He would have known, writes Jelley, 'the usef… ,
    • Good spelling, us! ,
    • This Christmas, why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions… ,
    • Philip Henscher on Thom Gunn's 'Selected Poems' ,