Category Archives: Blather

The trouble with religion

This was a sermon I was asked to deliver at Emmanuel College in Cambridge. I felt rather sorry for the young woman, presumably full of faith, who had to read out my chosen Old Testament passage. Sermon for Emmanuel Since … Continue reading

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The economic benefits of heresy

This seems to have been written as a talk. Maybe it was a sermon I gave. I can’t remember; but it’s an idea I worked on for at least a decade, starting when I was trying to analyse everything from … Continue reading

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The TLS gets better

The TLS seems to have got a new philosophy editor, Tim Crane, and his influence on this week’s issue is remarkable. For a start there is his own long, excellent essay on what religion is and isn’t, exposing the inadequacies … Continue reading

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Auden as a critic

My mother’s ill, but recovering, so I read to her. In the bookshelf is a WW2 selection from fifteen English poets which one of my parents must have had at Oxford. The range is from Chaucer to Matthew Arnold, and … Continue reading

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uncosy catastrophes

Ever since I finally got round to reading The Death of Grass I have been snacking on the novels of John Christopher (Sam Youd) a British writer of appalling fecundity who was active from the fifties to the Eighties at … Continue reading

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Statistics from the Mail Online

Mostly for my own amusement, I have written a twitter bot which examines the front page of the Mail Online once every hour and tweets out statistics of interest. You can follow it at the unfortunately named @mailtits account.

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David Hume on a sense of proportion

Such a reflection certainly tends to  mortify all our passions: But does it not thereby counterwork the  artifice of nature, who has happily deceived us into an opinion, that  human life is of some importance?

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More hume quotes.

Comment superfluous When a philosopher has once laid  hold of a favourite principle, which perhaps accounts for many natural  effects, he extends the same principle over the whole creation, and  reduces to it every phænomenon, though by the most violent … Continue reading

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Hume shows up his publishers

Longinus thought  himself sufficiently justified, in asserting, that the arts and sciences  could never flourish, but in a free government: And in this opinion, he has been followed by several eminent writers  in our own country, who either confined their … Continue reading

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Small moment of pleasure

Yesterday my colleague David Shariatmadari was commissioning a comment from Richard Dawkins. “I’m so glad you’re not the notorious Andrew Brown” said RD and added, eagerly, “Has he been fired?” No: sorry to disappoint you, Richard.

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