My dad was an unhappy man. He used to complain about the slightest thing being out of place […]
You have only one failing, and the falseness of your position, and your unhappiness and your catarrh of the bowels are all due to it. That is your utter lack of culture.
Despite the disarming glee of this intellectual romp, [Jonathan] Rée doesn’t quite banish the thought that, for the English, philosophy is what history was to Henry Ford, bunk — a notion clinched by T.S. Eliot’s portrait of Bertrand Russell as Mr Apollinax, wittering incomprehensibly and laughing like an irresponsible foetus at his own wit.
I’ve always thought that life is too short, the world too big, and the wonders of existence too many, to specialize in anything. But today’s ruling ethos says that specialization is the key to advancing career-wise or to becoming a celebrated pianist. Is this really true?
Whereas Rée shows how religion and political radicalism can strike up fruitful alliances, the briskly rationalist Grayling refuses the title of philosophy to any view of the world that involves religious faith…The difference between them is clear from their writing. Rée is entertaining and stylish, Grayling is lucid but lifeless.