“I say to people in Québec: your kids are going to change you more than all these immigrants. I’m a grandfather now and I see what has happened over these two generations and it’s huge. We dropped the central religious identity of Québec in this time, nobody forced us from outside.”
One thing many of us appear to believe today is that a quick Google search will answer any question. As I discovered when trying to find out what we believe today, you don’t even need to do the search. Just type in the first few words and see how the algorithms complete it for you. So it was that the phrase “believe in” was completed by – as I suspected – “yourself”.
TODAY – BBC RADIO 4. Talking about Derek Parfit, who died on New Year’s Day. Listen again for a limited time at 02:43:00.
For Derek Parfit, getting it right was more important than getting it out, to the frustration of publishers and editors but to the long-term benefit of readers and scholars. When he published, it mattered, and so as a philosopher, he is one of the few of his generation who unquestionably mattered.
Video of discussion at this years’s Battle of Ideas featuring me, Ivan Hewett, Sunder Katwala, Michele Moody-Adams and Brendan O’Neill, chaired by Claire Fox.
At its worst, a pseudonym is a desperate necessity, the only means of writing as yourself. At its best, it is a freely chosen way of writing as another or extending oneself. The world-views that determine which form of pseudonym prevails are fundamentally opposed in values.
Summer has ended, and with it the time of year when we most typically relax and try to enjoy ourselves. The shortening of the days seems to be a message to start getting serious again. So perhaps it’s no coincidence this is the traditional time to start a course of learning, formal or informal.
THE PHILOSOPHER’S ZONE – ABC RADIO. Discussing free will with Joe Gelonesi. Recorded at the Sydney Writers Festival.
PODCAST. I’m interviewed by Athena Rosette for her new podcast series Alter Ego. You can find it here.
Some people just find the whole idea too fanciful to even think about. But many other find it terrifying, exciting or both. Why would such an apparently outlandish idea have this effect?