Category Archives: Blather

Vignette

The couple who climbed into their seats on the Cambridge train were worn and heavy, like second hand sofas. She was blonde and her neatly made up mouth had a pretty, quick smile. He had a a rather rectangular face … Continue reading

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Hornblower’s Brexit

I found the English of a piece I wrote for Dagens Nyheter last summer when Johnson resigned from Theresa May’s cabinet, in which I argued that the only way to reach Brexit Fantasy Island was by letting Admiral Hornblower steer … Continue reading

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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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