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Philosophy

This category contains 10 posts

Middle Way Philosophy 3: The Integration of Meaning – now out

The third volume of the ‘Middle Way Philosophy’ series is now available. This volume builds on the embodied meaning thesis of George Lakoff and Mark Johnson and includes an explanation of this revolutionary approach to meaning, uniting cognitive and emotive meaning (e.g. dictionary meaning and ‘meaning of life’). It also makes extensive use of Jung’s … Continue reading

A tale of two metaphors

All our thinking depends on metaphors. The work of George Lakoff and Mark Johnson explains the way in which we build our cognitive models on a particular metaphor, which is mapped onto a physical experience schematised into our neural connections. For example, the picture here illustrates an old Platonic cognitive model for the mind or … Continue reading

Is dogma adaptive?

Why do human beings so often get stuck in fixed beliefs that are no longer adequate to the situation? Why do we have metaphysics at all? This is a question I have been considering for a while, not in expectation of ultimate answers, but particularly thinking in terms of the model offered by evolutionary adaptation. … Continue reading

The Middle Way to Anarchy

Recently I’ve been writing educational materials on anarchism, which has made me think again about this raft of ideological approaches. It is possible to make all kinds of claims for anarchism, depending on how one defines or understands it: for example, either that it is a threat to a peaceful society, or the reverse that … Continue reading

McGilchrist revisited

It’s now a little over a year since I first read ‘The Master and his Emissary’ by Iain McGilchrist. My estimation of its importance has continued to grow during that time. When I first read it I wrote a detailed review, incorporated aspects of it into my own thinking and writing, contacted the author and had the … Continue reading

The New Chinese Room

I have just returned from a writing retreat in Ireland in which I was thinking long and hard about meaning, working on the first half of volume 3 of my ‘Middle Way Philosophy’ series. A lot of what I was doing involved synthesising various sources: the linguistic philosophy of George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Jung’s … Continue reading

Why meaning matters

It’s getting to that time of year when in England the night seems to start in the middle of the afternoon, and everyone begins to look forward to a holiday. However, for me the prospect of the Christmas period is not one of eating large amounts of food and being bored by seldom-seen relatives. Instead … Continue reading

The trouble with paradox

God is both everywhere in the universe and beyond it. I am both the same and different from how I was two minutes ago. The set containing all sets that are not members of themselves is a member of itself. All of these are paradoxes – apparent contradictions that may possibly allow of solutions when considered … Continue reading

Don’t always consult the specialist

One of my regular gripes is the over-specialisation of our society, and particularly of the academic world. All specialisation comes at a price: as we narrow our focus, we lose awareness of the wider context of what we believe. I have also written about the way in which specialisation impoverishes the range of what we find meaningful, … Continue reading

What is a sceptic?

Scepticism (or skepticism, US style) is potentially a big liberating factor in our lives, yet like most ideas that started off in a blaze of insight, it has become caught up in entrenched dualistic conflicts. All scepticism involves some degree of recognition of uncertainty about what others take to be true – but the crucial … Continue reading