philosophy and ethics




Want to know my views on writing philosophy?

See the interview I gave to Nigel Warburton on his Virtual Philosopher blog by clicking here.

Are these suitable images for existentialism?

(click them to see my views)

existential ladder

existential escalators


To get into the challenge of philosophy and to enjoy the perceptions of a sharp mind and good humour, there are few better places to go than the work of David Hume - his 'Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding', is one of the great works of Scottish philosophy.

'We know our will is free, and there's an end on't.'

Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784)

Looking for meaning in life from a secular point of view?

I think the following statement by Don Cupitt is a great starting point for reflection, whatever one's own views on religion and life. Click the link below to see what, I believe, amounts to a manifesto which any sensitive agnostic or atheist can subscribe, but which I regard as expressing the essence of what is best in religion.

Click here to go to the website.

I'm posting this here, as well as on the Philosophy of Religion page, because it's worth taking a look at this even if you tend to dismiss or ignore other religious issues.

'New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.'

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding  John Locke (1632-1704)











time flowsReflections on the passing of time...

(click the image to see my views)


cosmosWhy is there something rather than nothing?

iaiStart the year by considering a really big question, the biggest and most general imaginable, by watching this video discussion from the Institute of Art and Ideas. Just click here.

Without conversation, philosophy is just dogma.

NigelTo consider the importance of conversation in doing philosophy, read what Nigel Warburton - the master of the philosophical interview - has to say by clicking here.

This link comes thanks to Aeon and Nigel Warburton.

If you don't already follow him on Twitter, you should!

What use is a master's degree in Philosophy?

Emilia Gunnarson, a postgraduate student reading philosophy at the University of Iceland may have the answer for you...


'The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.'

Plutarch's advice is an excellent starting point for exploring the philosophy of mind, or even for a philosophy of education!

NietzscheGetting personal in philosophy....

Every great philosophy is a confession of its founder, a kind of secret and involuntary set of personal memoirs. - Nietzsche

Does your philosophy reflect your personal quest and values?

See more...

Thought experiments? How useful are they?

trolleyFed up with diverting trolleys, pushing fat men off bridges, or getting hooked up for nine months to a famous violinist? To download a talk by Richard Baron reviewing the way Thought Experiments are used in philosophy, along with my own notes and links to other books, click here. Or, to take a look at my own views on them, click here.

WittgensteinThinking about language?

For my notes on Wittgenstein - from Tractatus to Language Games - Logical Positivism, religious language and much more... click here.


quick thougtsNew to Philosophy? Here are some quick thoughts to get you started....

Why philosophise? / Of what are you certain? / Will nothing work better? / What's the point of knowledge? / Science and objectivity / The advantage of being awake / Is religious outdated? / Becoming yourself / What were you like before you were born? / Whereof we cannot speak...

Just click my image to take a look.

nigelNigel Warburton's podcasts

These podcasts give extremely useful bite-size introductions to many aspects of philosophy and a chance to hear some of the greatest living philosophers enthuse about what most interests them. The podcasts have now been organised by theme, so you can scroll down his list and find what interests you. Just click here for the link.

Philosophy NowWant to get into recent thinking in philosophy without getting bogged down in academic journals? Try a magazine.

Just click on this cover for further information and links to some likely magazines.

An introduction to Nietzsche...

Follow this link for a useful introduction to Nietzsche in the form of a Minerva Podcast. It is given by Dr Daniel Came, Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Hull.

PBBAnd Nietzsche features on the cover of Philosophers Behaving Badly; not that he actually behaved particularly badly - sadly, more like - but his controversial ideas are certainly capable of being misused by those who intend to behave badly.

By exploring the lives and thought of six philosophers, this book shows that the life of reason does not necessarily lead to a reasonable life!

Click on the cover to find out more.

RussellIf you're into Bertrand Russell, you really should take a look at his Facebook page...

There are plenty of quotes and topics on which you can comment - and, being controversial and outspoken on so many issues, Russell invites just that - along with biographical information. You can scroll down through the page and explore topics. See it here.

Classic Texts in Philosophy...

If you want to read original texts, you can buy them ridiculously cheaply in paperback these days. Stick them on your shelves and impress your friends!

On the other hand, if you just need to look something up, or search for a phrase or idea within a text, here is the secret: Clicking on this link takes you to the classic texts section of Philosophy on the EServer, a website that gives you copyright-free texts, links to other websites, humour and much more.


If you live in the London area and are interested in taking courses in philosophy and ethics, take a look at the new prospectus from the London School of Philosophy.

'Whereof one cannot speak, thereon one must remain silent.'

... the ending of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 - 1951)

Nigel Warburton

Nigel's A Little History of Philosophy is an easy introduction of some of the great philosophers, and he makes it more interesting by not taking the most obvious aspects of each thinker. Click on the title to buy or for further information.

The history of philosophy podcasts...

Professor Peter Adamson of King's College London, has launched a series of podcasts which will eventually cover the whole history of philosophy. He's starting with Ancient Philosophy, so go on line now to hear him speak on Plato.  If the first podcasts are anything to go by, this will be a fascinating resource, both for students and those who have a general interest in philosophy.  Each podcast lasts 20 minutes, and he's issuing them each week.

Try them on

Philosophy Bites

Following on from the huge success of their Philosophy Bites podcasts, Nigel Warburton and David Edmonds produced a book featuring some of their most interesting and relevant interviews. They make philosophy accessible to those who might not have tried it before.  There is no need for more information about this book here because, if you click on the Amazon link, you will be able to 'look inside' and see the contents for yourself. (And for those of you in the USA, click here to go to

This is philosophy at its most engaged and enthusiastic! It provides a good, jargon-free introduction to some of the best philosophers working today and the issues with which they are concerned.



My own books...

Phil for life


Your basic introduction to the subject. For further information, click here.


And for something that's easy to read but with plenty of ideas to get you thinking!


35 questions to ponder as you twiddle your toes in the sand - or in the snow for that matter! Just settle in a chair, pour yourself a drink, and enjoy a little light philosophy!

For further information, click here.


Plato stepping forward to teach in stained glass at the Rijksmuseum in Ansterdam.


Want to know more about Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Sartre and the other existentialists? Just click here.


Curious to know more about philosophy? This double CD audiobook may be just what you're looking for. For further information, click here.

Quick access?

Want quick and accessible information about a great philosopher?

is a useful place to start.

Studying the Enlightenment?

Lesley Chamberlain

If Hume, Kant, Voltaire etc are your thing at the moment, take a look at the blog post for March 5th 2014 by Lesley Chamberlain by clicking here.

Classic texts...

Interested in thinkers from the 16th to 18th centuries? Early Modern Texts provides an amazing resource - original texts from the likes of Barclay, Hobbes, Descartes, Hume, Kant and many more, all in readable form.

Getting into these original works of philosophy, rather than just reading commentaries, is a real eye-opener. They're more accessible that you might imagine!