philosophy

Simon Caterson reviews 'The Challenge of Things: Thinking Through Troubled Times' by A.C. Grayling

Simon Caterson

As a liberal-minded, London-based philosopher prepared to engage in the mainstream press with major topics of the day, A.C. Grayling is always up for a challenge. Although much of Grayling's commentary conforms to the classical liberal view of things, now and then logic dictates that he takes a stance that may seem radical in those terms.

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J.M. Coetzee reviews 'The Modernist Papers' by Frederic Jameson

J.M. Coetzee

Though by profession a scholar of literature with a specialism in French literature, Fredric Jameson (born 1934) has made his mark as a cultural historian and even as what used to be called an historian of ideas. His chef d'oeuvre, Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991), provides one of the more persuasive cognitive maps we have of ... More

Damian Cox reviews 'Moral Injury' edited by Tom Frame

Damian Cox

Military personnel on active service are deliberately put in harm's way. The harm can be physical, psychological, and moral. The first two kinds are well known if not well understood. But what of the third kind of harm? How does moral harm differ from psychological harm? This collection attempts to answer the question by bringing together the views of many people: e ... More

Adrian Walsh reviews 'Consciousness and Moral Responsibility' by Neil Levy

Adrian Walsh

Consider the following dilemma. If it is possible to identify the cause of a person's action and beliefs – causes that are outside the agent's own conscious reasoning – in what sense can we say that the person chooses what she does or she thinks? If the person did not consciously choose, then it is reasonable to ask whether she should be held morally responsible ... More

Ian Ravenscroft reviews 'Historical Justice and Memory' edited by Klaus Neumann and Janna Thompson

Ian Ravenscroft

On 10 June 1838, eleven men – ten whites and an African – slaughtered about thirty indigenous people at Myall Creek in northern New South Wales. The victims were hacked down with swords, and the killers returned a few days later to dismember and burn the bodies. The existence and interpretation of events like this have been deeply controversial since the publica ... More

Ian Ravenscroft reviews 'The Most Good You Can Do' by Peter Singer

Ian Ravenscroft

Much contemporary moral philosophy is highly abstract, with technical arguments advanced on issues that appear far removed from ordinary life. But not all academic ethics has this form. The field of practical ethics has flourished over the last four decades, bringing philosophical techniques to bear on ethical issues in medicine, animal husbandry, climate change, an ... More

Janna Thompson reviews 'Actual Consciousness' by Ted Honderich

Janna Thompson

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 ... More

Frank Jackson reviews 'Essays and Reviews 1959-2002' by Bernard Williams

Frank Jackson

Philosophers fear many things, as do economists, lawyers, politicians, and electricians. But there is one thing philosophers fear which is special to their profession. It is the question, asked as it might be at a dinner party or in a taxi on the way to the airport, ‘What is it that you do, exactly?’ with perhaps a somewhat intimidating emphasis on the word ‘e ... More

Jean Curthoys reviews 'A Sense for Humanity'

Jean Curthoys

Raimond Gaita is unusual among moral philosophers in having presented the world of his childhood as food for thought. Most notably, he has given us his Romanian father, Romulus – ‘Johnny the Balt’ to his Australian neighbours – whose understanding of life’s moral necessities is articulated by Gaita as the core of his ethical thought. It is hard to think of ... More

Adrian Walsh reviews 'The Essential Hirschman' and his biography

Adrian Walsh

Albert O. Hirschman (1915–2012) was a development economist and political theorist whose work is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding how economic life figures in the political worlds we inhabit and the ways in which we give meaning to our lives in market-based societies. Perhaps best known for the distinction between ‘exit’ and ‘voice’ ... More

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