Philosophy Now October - November 2021

Philosophy Now is a magazine for everyone interested in ideas. It isn't afraid to tackle all the major questions of life, the universe and everything. It tries to corrupt innocent citizens by convincing them that philosophy can be exciting, worthwhile and comprehensible, and also to provide some light and enjoyable reading matter for those already ensnared by the muse, such as philosophy students and academics. It contains articles on all aspects of philosophy, plus book reviews, film reviews, news, cartoons, and the occasional short story.

United Kingdom
Anja Publications Ltd
6 Issues

in this issue

4 min
reality check

Ancient Greek culture was a fever dream of myths, gods, spirits and superstitions. The early philosophers stood out from their time by exhibiting a bracing scepticism, a restlessly questioning temperament, a willingness to cut through all the nonsense and find the truth. Unsurprisingly, then, one of the biggest questions for them was, which things are real, and which aren’t? Plato in his Republic concocted a famous story which vividly illustrates the question and provides one solution to it: the Allegory of the Cave. In Plato’s tale, a group of captives sit in an underground cavern where they have spent their whole lives. They are chained up side by side so that all they can look at is the cave wall in front of them. Their backs are to a fire, and…

1 min
some of our contributors

Eleni Angelou Eleni Angelou is taking a PhD in philosophy at the City University of New York. Previously, she studied history and philosophy of science at the University of Athens and philosophy at Harvard University. She is the translator of H.D. Thoreau’s 'Letters to Harrison Blake' into Greek. Paul Griffiths Paul Griffiths lives in Felixstowe, UK. After studying physics and communications engineering, he joined BT Laboratories specialising in computer simulation and mathematical modelling. Taking early retirement, he was able to pursue his longstanding interest in the philosophy and science of perception, gaining postgraduate degrees from Manchester and Essex. Guto Dias Guto Dias is a Brazilian who decided to venture beyond the seas with his drawings. He is an illustrator, cartoonist and comic artist. He has worked professionally with drawing for over 25 years, in a…

5 min

• New translation of all Plato’s dialogues • Heideggerian hacker claims moral stance • Passing of a prominent French thinker New Plato Translation It took thirteen years, but he has done it: Dr David Horgan of the Trinity Plato Centre in Dublin has given the world a new translation of the complete works of Plato. It is the first time the complete writings of Plato have been translated from ancient Greek into English by one scholar since 1871 when Oxford scholar Benjamin Jowett produced his now standard translation of the same works. Horan’s new translation is freely available online at In an introduction, Horan acknowledges the sponsorship and support he received from others: “Since the entire project has proceeded in a spirit of great generosity, it would, I believe, be inappropriate to introduce…

3 min
philosophers on marriage

More Songs About Buildings and Food was the title of a 1978 album by the rock band Talking Heads. It was about all the things rock stars normally don’t sing about. Pop songs are usually about variations on the theme of love; tracks like Rose Royce’s 1976 hit ‘Car Wash’ are the exception. Philosophers, likewise, tend to have a narrow focus on epistemology, metaphysics and trifles like the meaning of life. But occasionally great minds stray from their turf and write about other matters, for example buildings (Martin Heidegger), food (Hobbes), tomato juice (Robert Nozick), and the weather (Lucretius and Aristotle). This series of Shorts will be about these unfamiliar themes; about the things philosophers also write about. The caricature image of the other-worldly philosopher is often that of the absent-minded bachelor.…

15 min
get real

It seems to me that we encounter two serious philosophical problems when we thoughtlessly use the term ‘the real world’. Firstly, what is ‘the world’? It is this problem that Ludwig Wittgenstein confronted in the opening sentences of his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922): 1 The world is all that is the case. 1.1 The world is the totality of facts, not of things. 1.11 The world is determined by the facts, and by their being all the facts. If it is the case that the world is all that is the case, then we add nothing at all when we place the word ‘real’ in front of the word ‘world’. Here ‘real’ is implied by ‘world’. The world, being the totality of facts, includes everything that is real. Thus, in this article I will focus…

8 min
against direct realism

The late twentieth century saw a dramatic rise in the fortunes of direct realism. Up until the middle years of that century, the vast majority of philosophers dismissed theories of direct perception of the world – essentially the common sense understanding – as naïve, but by its close, such theories had become the orthodoxy within analytic philosophy. William Fish, who has written extensively on the philosophy of perception, puts it particularly well: “There was a time when to call a theory of perception a version of ‘direct realism’ was almost equivalent to calling it ‘hopelessly naïve’. Time has told however, that it was this assumption which was naïve, and nowadays the majority of theories on the market see themselves as direct realist” (Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 82 (3), 2004). On…