Janna Thompson

Mary Ann Evans arrived in London from country Warwickshire in 1851 into an environment of intellectuals who believed in the progress of the human spirit through criticism of superstition and the application of science. Working first as a translator and critic, she became for a time the editor of the Westminster Review, a journal that had been turned by John Stuart Mill into a forum for philosophical radicals. Evans had plans to write a critique of the doctrine of immorality but her partner, George Lewes, who was famous for a work on the lives of philosophers, encouraged her to write fiction. She began with sketches of rural life using the name George Eliot.

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Philosopher Derek Parfit claimed that nothing matters unless ethical and other normative beliefs are objectively true. Parfit, who died on 1 January 2017, wrote a three-volume work, On What Matters (2011–17), because he believed that the meaningfulness of his life, and the lives of others who devote themselves to ethical thought ...

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David Hume earned his place in the philosophical pantheon mostly because of the uncompromising empiricism of his early work A Treatise of Human Nature (1738). He looked ...

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Our perceptual world is rich in colour and sound. We think and imagine. We experience repugnance and longing. Meanwhile, in our brains neurons are firing and chemical reactions are taking place. Conscious experience and brain events are obviously related. Reputable Australian philosophers insist that they are one and the same. But how can events with such different ...

Jaana Thompson illuminates 'Enlightenment Shadows'

Janna Thompson
Friday, 28 February 2014

From the Enlightenment, according to contemporary critics, came a dream about human progress from which we have awakened. The Enlightenment is commonly presented as an intellectual era when philosophers believed that reason would solve all human problems and provide a solid foundation for morality and politics. But surely we now know better.

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Janna Thompson reviews 'European Aesthetics'

Janna Thompson
Sunday, 28 April 2013

It is possible to imagine a culture that treats art merely as decoration, but to inheritors of the European tradition this idea of art’s function is demeaning. We expect great art to express or reflect the spiritual and philosophical preoccupations of our cultural heritage. No system-building philosopher in modern European history would have failed to incorporate ...