magazine issue 33 • 1st quarter 2006
reporter 4news hound news, plus straw poll and mediawatch
12Best’s defence why the UK has banned a US philosopher
17word of mouse Luciano Floridi takes over the keyboard
18wild again should the wild be “restored”?
23questions R us a new way to ask a philosopher thoughts 26landscape love Eve Garrard pens The TPM Essay
38neocon Nozick? was the late Harvard great the brain behind Reaganomics?
48Brown source a lack of meat in The Da Vinci Code
55Nietzsche doll the weird world of Action Philosophers
58a load of balls? the philosophy of mini-golf revealed discussion 63zen master Robert Pirsig talks only to TPM – and probably regrets it the lowdown 78conceptualcarveryknowyourposteriorfromyouraposteriori
79the directory listings for UK and North America
80snapshotthelowdown on TE Hulme
82theory of knowledge the eighth in the series remembers and introspects review 85new books Williams, Midgley, Badiou and others publish tomes worth reading last words 92Bertrand’sbreakfunandgames
69my philosophy TV head honcho Dan Chambers
73open debate Simon Clarke replies to your objections to affirmative action
96the skeptic science is great – what a shame some scientists are not subscriptions & TPM shop page 39
The Philosophers' Magazine/1st quarter 2006 “Popular philosophy” can sound like a simple description, an insult or an oxymoron. In one sense of the term, it would be very difficult to be against it. If philosophy is a good thing, then it is surely good if it is widely discussed and read.
But “popular philosophy” is also a term that can be used to distinguish an ersatz, flaky kind of thinking from the real thing. And the hallmark of this inferior variety is seen to be its attempt to pander to the tastes of the masses by dressing up in the kind of high-street clothes hoi polloi can recognise.
Yet surely philosophy is not automatically inferior if it makes use of the kind of popular reference points that large numbers of people are familiar with. Open Court’s series of books, which uses, among others, The Simpsons, Seinfeld and The Matrix as springboards for philosophical discussion surely demonstrate that. Many serious academics have edited and contributed to those volumes, and they can’t all be mercenary sell-outs.
98 Mulgrave Road, Sutton, Surrey SM2 6LZ, UK Tel: 020 8643 1504 Fax: 0709 237 6412 firstname.lastname@example.org www.philosophersnet.com Editors Julian Baggini (print edition)
Jeremy Stangroom (new media)
Deputy editor Ophelia Benson Reviews Editor Jonathan Derbyshire email@example.com
Contributing Editors Susan Dwyer, Simon Eassom, Peter Fosl, Michael LaBossiere, Jeff Mason, Christopher Norris, Christian Perring Illustrations/Graphics Felix Bennett (cover), Jerry Bird, Molly Crabapple, Pipo di Bressana, Michael LaBossiere, Gareth Southwell. Contributors’ Notes Contact the editor to submit proposals. Please do not send unsolicited manuscripts. Contributors Alison Ainley, HE Baber, Christopher Brooke, Peter Cave, Joseph Chandler, Simon Clarke, Jonathan Derbyshire, Luciano Floridi, Peter S Fosl, Eve Garrard, Wendy Grossman, Lawrence R Harvey, Alan Haworth,
I’m not a disinterested observer in this debate, having used examples from popular culture in my own books. But even I wonder how far this kind of thing can go before the tail of mass appeal starts wagging the philosophical hound. Our forum on philosophy and popular culture (p44) therefore tests the limits of the genre. Judge for yourself whether any pieces overstep the mark. And also take a look at our interview with television supremo Dan Chambers (p69), who wants to know what philosophy you’d like to see on the box.
Our apologies to readers and contributors in North America, who received the last issue very late. More and more of you have been being buying the magazine, which meant we had to shift production of your issues to the US. Teething problems with the new procedures, however, resulted in an unacceptable delay. We very much hope it was worth the wait, and that this one gets to you somewhat quicker.
Mathew Iredale, William Irwin, Michael LaBossiere, Scott McLemee, Jeff Mason, Beth Pearson, Nina Power, Duncan Pritchard, Patrick Tomlin, Mark Vernon. Distribution by (UK) Central Books, 99 Wallis Road, London E9 5LN Tel: 020 8986 4854 (North America) Ingram Periodicals Inc., 1240 Heil Quaker Blvd., La Vergne, TN 37086-7000; Tel: (615) 793 5522; Ubiquity Distributors Inc., 607 Degraw Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217 Tel: (718) 875 5491 Printed by UK: Warwick Printing, Leamington Spa CV31 1QD US: Sheridan Books, Ann Arbor, MI48103 With thanks to Denis Collins, George Leaman, The Rainnies, Pam Swope. Subscriptions UK: 01442 879097 North America: 1 800 444 2419 See page 39 for full details
© 2005, The Philosophers’ Magazine and contributors
All views expressed in The Philosophers’ Magazine represent those of the authors of each article and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors or publishers.
The Philosophers' Magazine/1st quarter 2006