Consciousness is still proving an elusive phenomenon. Paul Broks has a refreshingly honest article in Prospect inspired by Nicholas Humphrey's work in the area. For Broks suggestions for reading in this area, see this interview (he likes the books by Glynn, Zeman and Rmachandran shown below).
He also won many hearts some time ago with his brilliantly titled Not Saussure which savaged trendy literary theory. On Radio 4's Desert Island Discs repeated today, his clarity and intelligence shone through particularly on medical issues about dying, and his choice of music included two bullseyes: Bach's Cello Suites, and Schubert's String Quintet.
But the deep mystery to me is why his choice of book for his hypothetical desert island soujourn was Heidgegger's Being and Time - one of the most obscure books of the twentieth century, which, though it obviously does contain some interesting ideas, buries them so deep in verbiage and neologisms that only the full time scholar has a chance of excavating them or making anything remotely comprehensible out of them (and for a sceptical reader like me there is the constant suspicion of being conned by deliberate obscurantism and even the philosophical equivalent of homeopathy). I suppose it is like taking a fiendishly difficult cryptic crossword on a long journey...I wish he'd opted for something by David Hume or Friedrich Nietzsche. Surely it would be better to take something by an undoubted genius such as either of these two (both whom were also superb writers) than a doorstop by someone who definitely couldn't write and probably wasn't a genius.
and that these are pre-requisites of a flourishing academic life. The Internet facilitates plagiarism, which can be carried out privately; the most successful plagiarists may never be caught. Policing this with plagiarism-detecting software is a heavy-handed solution. Far better to cultivate respect for the values of academic integrity...He also touches on the interesting question of whether the kinds of virtual identities possible on the Internet might undermine integrity by disrupting out continuity as moral selves.
Yes. I have to admit to being reluctant to describe Virtual Philosopher as a 'blog' - I'm more comfortable with 'weblog' and have completely resisted the word 'blogroll'...Im pretty sure this is because it sounds like 'bog' which was school slang for toilet/loo in my day - 'blogroll' is 'bogroll'. Apparently Im not alone in disliking 'blog' - editor of US Vogue, Anna Wintour has banned the term from their website...
There are some other nasty neologisms around weblogs too (just nasty, not because they are neologisms - I've no problem with words like 'email' and 'Internet'): for example there are numerous theories about how to 'monetize' your weblog. That word 'monetize' should be treated with the same disdain as the pretentious 'problematize' ('problematise'?) in the area of philosophy. Anyone who uses either word without irony should be ridiculized.
I will be live on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour with Jenni Murray and artist Sadie Murdoch on Thursday 22nd March some time between 10 and 11 a.m. Murdoch has restaged a famous photograph of Charlotte Perriand on the chaise-longue that Perriand co-designed with Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret...