Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The B Club, post-war

I've added some more of the minutes from the B Club books, now taking the story up past the 100th meeting to the end of 1954.  The archive can be foud here.  Some highlights include:

1.  The minutes of the refounding of the club in 1946.  Here, I smiled at the idea in club rule 6: 'That if there were on any occasion no volunteer to read papers at subsequent meetings the question might be decided by lot.'

2.  On 19 January 1953, Professor Ryle 'of Magdalen college, Oxford, read a paper entitled "Socrates' Dream - Theaetetus 201-20" in which he discussed Plato's attack on Greek epistemological theory, [almost] identical with the 20th century "Logical Atomism" of Frege, Russell, and others".    The 'almost' was added in later, perhaps by the Chair (H. Bowden) when the minutes were read at the next meeting...  This is likely, I think, to be an ancestor of the paper eventually published in Phronesis 35 (1990) [JSTOR link].  According to the annotated bibliography in Burnyeat's Theaetetus, Ryle had read the paper to the Oxford Philological Society in  February 1952 [The Phronesis article's Forward includes the minutes of that meeting].  The January meeting of the B Club was perhaps its next appearance.

Here is Ryle in a deckchair:

Saturday, December 11, 2010


My Christmas present this year is an Amazon Kindle.  I'm planning to use it a lot for reading pdfs from JSTOR and the like (as well as the handy pdfs of OCTs and Teubners you can get from  But is there anything else I really must have on it? have some free philosophy editions - Hume's enquiries, for example - but I can't always tell whether the translations of, say, Plato and Aristotle are any good.  I did buy Jowett's complete Plato for 72p, because I'm a real risk-taker like that. But are there any other bargains I should know about?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Christmas presents

I know it's probably too late because you are all super-organised types who do all your Christmas shopping in July and have your cards ready to post and the turkey stuffed and all that, but just in case...  the good people at the Unemployed philosophers guild have some lovely things for the thinker in your life.  For example, who would not like a prime number watch?  Or a 'What would Nietzsche do?' t-shirt?  (Or this one.)  There's not so much ancient philosophy stuff.  But the little beanie Socrates is quite cute...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


Movember has gone and I'm pretty glad that I can at last shave off the moustache.  Many thanks to everyone who donated some money -- our team managed to raised nearly £1800.

December is always extremely hectic; the term is soon to finish, but the last week is always full of meetings with my philosophy students and my tutees.  Then there is the MPhil examining, setting papers for the undergraduate examinations in the summer, and somehow trying to put the finishing touches to a paper on Laws 5.  (I've also got a bee in my bonnet about something around the notorious passage at Philebus 40a but other people seem to be writing papers on that dialogue faster than I can read them, so I'm getting a bit swamped because of the sheer volume of stuff to get through; I'm pretty sure I haven't been scooped, but I do need to keep on top of what's being said.)

And now I've got the dates for the girls' school carol concert, the infant Christmas show, and all the other festive guff.

Most important of all is the admissions interview season that kicks off on Monday.  I'll be interviewing for four different subjects (a good thing, I reckon, at least because it gives me a bit of perspective on my own philosophy candidates) and it's hard work; probably harder for the candidates, of course, but we all take this very seriously and there are big decisions to be made.