|HONDERICH v. McGINN -- FOUR
STORIES, A LETTER TO AN EDITOR, AND ANOTHER REPORT
Sholto Byrnes of The Independent and Stuart Jeffries of The Guardian are journalists with some philosophy in their pasts. Stuart Jeffries spent some time in a postgraduate way, more particularly, in a relevant philosophy department, that of University College London. Maybe Craig Offman of The National Post also has a philosophical past. And maybe Patricia Cohen of The New York Times. Certainly the contributor of the piece in The Philosophers Magazine is no neophyte. The letter to the editor was about the Guardian piece. As for the idea in The Philosophers Magazine that Honderich might review McGinn's new book Mindfucking, several invitations to do so, of course not from established philosophical journals, have been declined.
THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY, 2 December 2007
by Sholto Byrnes
The distinguished philosopher Ted Honderich, Grote Professor Emeritus at Unviersity College London, is no stranger to controversy. Not so long ao he had to be protected by riot police while lecturing in Germany due to his views on Palestinian terrorism, and he memorably descibed Roger Scruton as 'the unthinking man's thinking man'.
Now the world of philosophy is buzzing over a vicious assault on him in the journal Philosophical Review. One colleague says the piece, by Colin McGinn of the University of Miami, 'may be the most infamous review of a philosophical book in recent memory'. McGinn, who used to have rooms next to Honderich at UCL (and annoyed him by playing his drum kit in the afterbnoon) describes his old adversary's new book On Consciousness as 'painful to read, poorly thought out and uninformed', as well as 'ludicrous' and radically inconsistent'.
The two have a past. In his autobiography, Honderich refers to 'my small colleague', makes fun of his vegetarianism and claims he is so envious of Martin Amis he wants to be him.
My money is on Honderich: he may be nearly 20 years older but he has the stamina -- and the appetite -- for a long contest. Let battle commence.
ENEMIES OF THOUGHT
THE GUARDIAN, 21 December, 2007
by Stuart Jeffries
It is probably the most negative book review ever written. Or if there is a worse one, do let me know. "This book runs the full gamut from the mediocre to the ludicrous to the merely bad," begins Colin McGinn's review of On Consciousness by Ted Honderich. "It is painful to read, poorly thought out, and uninformed. It is also radically inconsistent."
The ending isn't much better: "Is there anything of merit in On Consciousness? Honderich does occasionally show glimmers of understanding that the problem of consciousness is difficult and that most of our ideas about it fall short of the mark. His instincts, at least, are not always wrong. It is a pity that his own efforts here are so shoddy, inept, and disastrous (to use a term he is fond of applying to the views of others)."
And in the middle, there is nothing to cheer the book's author. Honderich's book is, according to McGinn, sly, woefully uninformed, preposterous, easily refuted, unsophisticated, uncomprehending, banal, pointless, excruciating.
What does the man on the receiving end think of this review? "It is a cold, calculated attempt to murder a philosopher's reputation," says Honderich. The review has reignited a feud between the two philosophers that shows how bitter, unforgiving and (to outsiders) unwittingly hilarious academic disputes can be. It certainly makes the bear pit that is journalism seem like sunshine and lollipops by comparison.
McGinn is unrepentant. When I ring him in Miami to find out if there is any chance of a rapprochement, he tells me: "It's not like you're hitting someone over the head with a hammer. Ted is not very good at philosophy. That's the problem." So probably not.
Instead, the feud is escalating into philosophy's equivalent of a prize fight between two former colleagues who are both among the showiest brawlers in the philosophy dojo. In one corner is McGinn, 57, West Hartlepool-born professor of philosophy at the University of Miami, and the self-styled hard man of philosophy book reviewing. In the other corner is Honderich, 74, Ontario-born Grote Professor Emeritus of the philosophy of mind and logic at University College London, and a man once described by fellow philosopher Roger Scruton as the "thinking man's unthinking man". They are using all the modern weapons at their disposal -- blogs, emails, demands for compensation from the academic journal that published the original review, an online counter-review, and an online counter-counter-review.
The heart of their dispute, though, may not be over intellectual matters at all, but about something one of them said more than a quarter of a century ago about the other's ex-girlfriend (of which more later).
What is amazing about McGinn's review is that it appears in volume 116 of the Philosophical Review, an august journal where peers review each other in pernickety if colourless prose. McGinn's tone has scandalised some parts of the philosophical community, including correspondents to the influential blog the Leiter Report. "If McGinn is seeking to deter others from committing the intellectual crimes he attributes to Honderich," suggests one post, "could he not achieve this end in other, less inflammatory ways?" That said, others on the site think McGinn's hostility is warranted: "This sort of tone is appropriate, I think, when dealing with unserious mediocrities who are mysteriously accorded stature well beyond what they deserve."
Don't you regret writing the review that way, I ask McGinn? "I know Ted and know I don't think much of him as a philosopher. But if you ask did that affect the way I wrote the review, absolutely not. If you allow personal hostilities to distort what you write, you're going to get caught out.
"It would have been different if it had been a junior person. I wouldn't do it to a junior. But Ted deserved it. It had to be done."
Honderich replies: "For McGinn to say that is for him to be a philosopher on the moon. Nobody on Earth believes that his review is not motivated by animus. To suggest the tone wasn't dictated by any history of hostility between us is crazy."
Intellectually, they hold very different views on one of the hottest, and most intractable of philosophical problems, consciousness. Honderich calls himself a radical externalist on consciousness, meaning, he writes in his book, that "my perceptual consciousness now consists in the existence of a world".
McGinn thinks Honderich's brand of radical externalism is bogus. "Ted's saying that one's perceptual content just is that thing, a table for example. But if you close your eyes, does the table stop existing? On Ted's account it seems to, which is just wild."
McGinn, by contrast, is the world's leading proponent of the so-called new mysterian position (named after the rock band Quark and the Mysterians) whereby some philosophical problems, consciousness among them, are insoluble. In this, he claims other leading thinkers -- Noam Chomsky and Thomas Nagel among them -- are new mysterians, too. Chomsky, for instance, maintains that just as a mouse will never be able to speak like a human (because of its biology), so certain problems may be beyond human understanding.
Honderich heaps derision on this new mysterian position, describing it as a "form of intellectual wimpishness". "And in any case, how dare McGinn rubbish my position. Twelve leading philosophers contributed to a book about my theory [in a special issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies last August] and not one of them was as abusive as he was."
Honderich believes there is more than intellectual difference behind his and McGinn's row. "At UCL we had a jokey locker-room relationship," recalls Honderich. "But then I made a misstep. I suggested to him that his new girlfriend was not as plain as the old one, and I could see the blood drain out of his face. That was possibly the start of our frostiness." Forget, perhaps, abstruse philosophical disputes in understanding the men's mutual bile. Rather, cherchez la femme
The relationship has not since thawed. On page 222 of the 2001 autobiography, Philosopher: A Kind of Life, Honderich has a discussion of the department and refers to McGinn. He writes: "The envy of my small colleague, Colin McGinn, also vegetarian, extended to even wanting to be Martin Amis." What was that about? Well, McGinn is not just a philosopher but a published, if rather unsuccessful, novelist; what's more, Honderich is 6ft 4in of gangly Canadian socialist philosopher, so most people must seem small. Honderich thinks this explains McGinn's hostile review.
"That just isn't right," counters McGinn. "I'd written hostile reviews about Ted before that autobiography. It wasn't animus at all." He points out that he once wrote a review for the London Review of Books of a collection of posthumous papers by AJ Ayer, Honderich's predecessor as Grote professor at UCL (Honderich is now Ayer's literary executor.) In that piece, McGinn castigated the book's introduction, which consisted of Honderich's funeral eulogy for Ayer, calling it "ill-written, plodding and faintly nauseating in places". It's a charge that still rankles. "It is as though it was a piece of shit by some adolescent muckraker," says Honderich. "But anyway, with that he was the first to insult me in print."
Neither of these men, it seems fair to point out, has read enough Epictetus. "Remember," wrote the Stoic thinker, "that foul words or blows in themselves are no outrage, but your judgment that they are so. So when any one makes you angry, know that it is your own thought that has angered you. Wherefore make it your endeavour not to let your impressions carry you away."
But philosophers, on occasion, are not very philosophical. Ludwig Wittgenstein allegedly threatened his fellow Viennese Karl Popper with a poker during an argument about the existence or otherwise of moral rules at the moral sciences club at Cambridge. Jean-Jacques Rousseau convinced himself he was the victim of an international conspiracy, led by David Hume. He wasn't, but Hume was delighted when the Frenchman got the hump and shoved off back to the other side of the Channel.
In any case, both McGinn and Honderich like a ruck. "People have complained about my tone in reviews for the past 30 years," says McGinn proudly. "I've made definite enemies in the past 30 years in important departments. People are too cautious. Hard things need to be said."
As for Honderich, this is a philosopher who managed to earn the simultaneous hostility of Palestinians and Jews over his book After the Terror, in which he asserted the moral right of Palestinians to resist ethnic cleansing by the Israelis with terrorism.
"To call me an antisemite was just a lie," said Honderich. "My first wife was Jewish, I have Jewish children and grandchildren, and I have always gone on record as a supporter of the right of the state of Israel to exist. That's why the Palestinians are opposed to me. What I don't support is Israel's expansionism after the 1967 war." He later successfully sued a student magazine that accused him of anti-semitism. So jousting with McGinn probably isn't the worst conflict Honderich been embroiled in.
What will happen now? Will Honderich and McGinn kiss and make up? It seems unlikely. Not only is McGinn unrepentant about his review, but Honderich is demanding compensation from the Philosophical Review. "They should not have published it," he says. "It makes them look ridiculous." And then he adds something that, just possibly, is mollifying: "In a way, I'm glad it's been published. My book is now getting the attention it deserves. The mighty little McGinn has done me a service."
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
THE GUARDIAN, 22 December 2007
from Ted Honderich
Stuart Jeffries conveys truly that I lost my rag in talking to him about an old adversary and about the question of what it is for you to be conscious of the room you're in (Enemies of Thought, G2, December 21). Really wish I hadn't. Elsewhere I didn't. For the substantive argument about consciousness, go to http:/www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/.
THE NATIONAL POST, 29 December 2007
by CRAIG OFFMAN
A remark about a girlfriend decades ago may have set off philosophers' feud
Those who bemoan the tepid state of book reviews can take solace in a recent, very public dust-up involving two preeminent philosophers who were once colleagues and a comment one of them made about the other's ex-girlfriend decades ago.
The British newspaper The Independent reported this month that it is the most infamous review of a philosophical book in recent memory. Its rival, The Guardian, racheted it up a step further, saying, "It is probably the most negative book review ever written."
In Volume 116 of Cornell University's annual Philosophical Review, Colin McGinn takes issue with Ted Honderich's book, On Consciousness with gleeful spleen right from the get-go. "This book runs the full gamut from the mediocre to the ludicrous to the merely bad," writes the University of Miami scholar, whose typically sharp words have lit up blogs and message boards throughout the philosophical community. "It is a pity that his own efforts here are so shoddy, inept and disastrous (to use a term he is fond of applying to the views of others)," he concludes.
Dr. Honderich's book advances his controversial theory called radical externalism, which argues that the outside world defines our thinking to the point where it is impossible to identify any independent thought. Or, as he writes in his book, "my perceptual consciousness now consists in the existence of the world."
Dr. McGinn writes that the book is "woefully uninformed about the work of others and at best amateurish."
If there is any question of the reviewer's sincerity, he states in a footnote that editors told him to soften the tone of the original -- against his better judgment, he adds.
"I had a parody of Honderich's prose," Dr. McGinn said in a phone interview yesterday. "I made fun of his style, and they'd rather I not do that."
Nonetheless, Dr. Honderich is no academic slouch. The younger brother of the late Toronto Star publisher Beland Honderich, the Canadian expatriate is Grote Professor Emeritus of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic at University College London, a chair once occupied by the powerhouse of 20th-century English philosophy, Sir Alfred Ayer. Dr. Honderich is also the editor of The Oxford Companion to Philosophy.
Still, the 57-year-old Dr. McGinn, known for his poison-pen reviews, isn't swayed by the accomplishments of Dr. Honderich, who was his colleague for a while at University College London (UCL). "I didn't think much of him as a philosopher, nor did anyone else."
Although Dr. McGinn insists there is no long-standing feud between them -- only philosophical differences -- there might be more subjective emotion to this external reality.
More than two decades ago, the two fellow faculty members would occasionally have lunch, but weren't very close. Their rooms were next to each other 's, which might have led to Dr. Honderich taking issue with his neighbour's pensees and percussive skills in his 2001 autobiography, Philosopher: A Kind of Life.
"Maybe he'd got the idea in an afternoon of practising his rock-band drums next door to my eyrie, but he should have had second thoughts afterwards," he wrote.
He has also mocked his fellow philosopher's height, and wrote him off as a Martin Amis wannabe.
On his part, Dr. McGinn has also not shied from the confrontation. He once wrote a scathing review of Dr. Honderich's introduction to A.J. Ayer's collection of posthumous papers, calling it "illwritten, plodding and faintly nauseating in places."
In an interview with The Guardian last week, Dr. Honderich speculated that the bad blood could have come from something he said almost a quarter of a century ago, suggesting to his colleague that his new girlfriend was not as plain as her predecessor. "I could see the blood drain out of his face," he recalled.
Dr. McGinn remembers the incident. He had already left UCL to take a post at his alma mater Oxford--and then New Jersey's Rutgers University -- and was making a return visit to his former workplace.
In the company of his most recent girlfriend, he encountered his former colleague on the stairs, where Dr. Honderich delivered his observations about Dr. McGinn's love interest.
"It was crass," said Dr. McGinn, "but I didn't take it as the stuff of a feud."
Instead, he said, he was typical Ted: "Gruff and friendly."
Hardly cloistered from controversy or the occasional slagging, Dr. Honderich has been called "the unthinking man's thinking man" by another thinking man, conservative Roger Scruton. He was once protected by riot police in Germany after voicing his sympathies for Palestinian terrorism as a way to shrug off neo-imperialism. Some labelled him an anti-Semite; nonetheless pro-Palestinian advocates also took aim at him for being too moderate. In a profile in these pages six years ago, Robert Fulford said, "He's George Orwell's idea of the socialist who gives socialism its bad name -- a Hampstead-dwelling-New Statesman-contributing-bicyclist-who-consorts-with vegetarians."
While his latest contretemps has taken on a long, second life on the philosopher's blog Leiter Reports and statements, counter-statements, rebuttals and a one-sentence parry, Dr. Honderich called the review uniquely vituperative.
"No one could not but agree that this review is phenomenal," he said in a phone interview from London. "Scores of philosophers have e-mailed me about it saying that is was so extraordinary and self-destructive that I should not have replied," he added. "That I should have been Olympian and superior about it."
When asked why Dr. McGinn said there was no feud beyond a philosophical disagreement, he said that it was only self-serving. "It's McGinn's necessary position. Because that way, it looks as though he's looking at the book in a cool light of rationality."
The Guardian reported that he was seeking "compensation" for the review, but clarifying the record, Dr. Honderich said he is not suing the publication. Instead, he is looking for some form of further discussion in its pages.
"My concern is the theory of mine for which I have affection and pride."
THE NATURE OF REASONS: TWO PHILOSOPHERS FEUD OVER A BOOK REVIEW
THE NEW YORK TIMES, 11 January 2008
by Patricia Cohen
Over the ages, philosophy has offered valuable guidance on profound questions of truth, beauty and existence, yet still unresolved is the conundrum of how to respond to a bad book review.
This neglect no doubt has helped contribute to a feud between the prominent philosophers Colin McGinn and Ted Honderich. That, and perhaps a slight to an ex-girlfriend 25 years ago, terror in the Middle East and, oh yes, a fundamental disagreement on the nature of consciousness.
The spat started in the summer, when Mr. McGinn, a British-born philosophy professor at the University of Miami, wrote a scathing review of Mr. Honderich’s book On Consciousness in the July 2007 issue of the Philosophical Review, a quarterly journal edited by the faculty of the Sage School of Philosophy at Cornell University.
“This book runs the full gamut from the mediocre to the ludicrous to the merely bad,” Mr. McGinn wrote. “It is painful to read, poorly thought out and uninformed.” He called Mr. Honderich’s efforts “shoddy, inept and disastrous.”
Just in case doubt about his position remained, Mr. McGinn added a note: “The review that appears here is not as I originally wrote it. The editors asked me to ‘soften the tone’ of the original; I have done so, though against my better judgment.”
In an e-mail message, Mr. Honderich said he had petitioned the review to provide “some fair redress,” like a discussion on the subject, but was told by the editor in chief, Nicholas L. Sturgeon, that the policy is “not to publish replies to book reviews.” Mr. Honderich said he appealed that decision to members of the editorial board two weeks ago and was waiting for a response.
“They have brought their own journal into disrepute and should do something about that,” he said.
The brouhaha has livened up the generally more sober exchanges among philosophers over the past six months as they have debated, on blogs and in e-mail, the tone, the content and the possible motives (besides scholarly judgment) Mr. McGinn might have had. The two philosophers have also continued their argument about the nature of consciousness with essays published on the popular Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog, with plenty of comments from spectators (leiterreports.typepad.com). In London, the continuing battle even bubbled up to the pages of The Guardian.
Mr. Honderich, a professor emeritus at University College London and the editor of The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, accused Mr. McGinn of being motivated by personal animus. The two professors were colleagues at London College 25 years ago, and Mr. Honderich maintains that Mr. McGinn has never forgiven him for calling an ex-girlfriend of his “plain.”
Reached in Miami, where he said he was in the middle of reviewing another book, Mr. McGinn described the notion that he was motivated by a decades-old grudge as “absurd.” “We didn’t get on philosophically,” he said, “but from a personal point of view, we got on perfectly fine.”
Mr. Honderich, he said, “maintains the review was so negative because there’s a feud instead of because his book is so bad.” He said that he remembered the comment about his ex-girlfriend, but that he considered it no more than a “bit vulgar and crass” and “certainly didn’t nurse it for 25 years.”
“There was no feud before. It was just a negative review,” he said, acknowledging that “it was the most negative review I’ve ever written.”
Whether criticism should be so harsh is a legitimate issue, Mr. McGinn said. He said that though some might call him aggressive, “rightly or wrongly it was my intellectual judgment.”
The view from Cornell, the Philosophical Review’s home, is that the fuss is overblown. Mr. Sturgeon said that Mr. McGinn had been chosen to review the book, published in 2004, because “he is a recognized expert on issues of consciousness.” The review did prompt a discussion among the editors, Mr. Sturgeon said, which was why they asked Mr. McGinn to take out a parody of Mr. Honderich’s writing style.
“I can understand Honderich’s being aggrieved” by the review, Mr. Sturgeon said, “but it is not outside the accepted standards of the discipline.”
“The review is unusual,” he added, but “by no means unprecedented.”
The question of publishing a further exchange was raised at a departmental meeting last month attended by nearly all the members of the editorial board, Mr. Sturgeon said, and everyone agreed there was no compelling reason to make an exception to the journal’s policy.
On questions of philosophy, the two professors stand in opposing camps. Mr. Honderich argues that one’s consciousness of external reality is “in a sense constituted by that reality,” a position he calls “Radical Externalism.” Mr. McGinn maintains that some philosophical questions -- like the nature of consciousness -- are beyond human understanding. This view of Mr. McGinn and others has been called the New Mysterianism, after a ’60s rock band.
Mr. McGinn has expressed his disdain for Mr. Honderich’s work before. In 1990 he wrote a review for The London Review of Books of a collection of papers by the philosopher A. J. Ayer that included the eulogy Mr. Honderich had given at Mr. Ayer’s funeral. Mr. McGinn called it “ill-written, plodding and faintly nauseating in places.”
Mr. Honderich took the opportunity to characterize his erstwhile colleague in his 2001 autobiography, Philosopher: A King of Life, writing, “The envy of my small colleague Colin McGinn, also vegetarian, extended even to wanting to be Martin Amis.” (Mr. McGinn also writes novels.)
Via e-mail, Mr. Honderich said that Mr. McGinn’s animus was also rooted in Britain’s class structure and that Mr. McGinn had a “chip on his shoulder.” Speculating on why the Philosophical Review published the critique, Mr. Honderich said it might have to do with “my moral defense of Palestinian terrorism against neo-Zionism,” or “my Zionism.”
In his 2002 book After the Terror, Mr. Honderich argued that Palestinians had a moral right to use terrorism to resist Israel and that the West shared responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. “Did we bring the killing at the twin towers on ourselves? Did we have it coming? Those offensive questions, and their offensive, but affirmative, answer, do contain a truth.”
Mr. Sturgeon dismissed such speculation, saying he and others at the Review had no idea Mr. Honderich had written anything political.
In the end, Mr. Honderich said, “the tubful of personal insults by McGinn has had a good effect on me.” He added, “It has made me see that objections already familiar to me, mainly by contributors to a book about my theory, have to be given more attention.”
GLOVES COME OFF IN BOOK FIGHT
THE PHILOSOPHERS MAGAZINE, 2nd Quarter, 2008
Philosophers often complain that the general public pays too little attention to their writings. But be careful what you dream of: a debate between two of the world's leading philosophers of mind has indeed appeared in esteemed newspapers like The New York Times and The Guardian. The only problem is, it's not so much a debate as a full-blown fight.
It all started when Colin McGinn reviewed Ted Honderich's book On Consciousness in the July 2007 issue of The Philosophical Review. The review redefined "scathing". It included lines such as "This book runs the full gamut from the mediocre to the ludicrous to the merely bad" and "It is painful to read, poorly thought out and uninformed". McGinn called Honderich's efforts "shoddy, inept and disastrous". What's worse, McGinn revealed, "The review that appears here is not as I originally wrote it. The editors asked me to 'soften the tone' of the original; I have done so, though against my better judgement."
Honderich responded with a 10,000 word rejoinder, published on his website. It addressed the substance of McGinn's criticisms point by point, and added "We are none of us pure inquirers, led forward only by evidence and logic to truth. We are affected by feeling and passion, including the passion of others that goes into ridiculing something."
Honderich noted that there are personal animosities between the two, ones that stretch back to their time in the department at University College London, and wondered whether these were part of McGinn's motivation.
"I did not like him for taking the small profit from writing a witty line when the line was one that insulted the life of a man who supported him, he being A. J. Ayer, of whom I happen to be the literary executor," wrote Honderich. "I did not like my i reprinting of my funeral speech for Ayer described as 'ill-written, plodding, and faintly nauseating in places' (London Review of Books, 30 August 1990). This first public expression of our personal disconnection was not by me. I didn't start this stuff."
McGinn was unapologetic. "Criticism is what book reviewing is all about. And scathing criticism is sometimes called for," he wrote. "I was well aware that the final product would, however, his reioinder bv rank as among the most scathing reviews of a philosophy book ever written; reasonably so, in my opinion."
It was reported that Honderich demanded compensation from the publishers of the journal that carried the review. He told TPM, "I did request that the journal publish something other than McGinn's review -- i.e. a reply from me, a discussion note by somebody else, something of the sort. I also said that their reason given to me against doing this -- a general rule about replies to reviews -- was not a good reason, given that they couldn't possibly have an absolute rule and given the as good as universal view that this review was absolutely extraordinary. I said that my views on freedom of expression of course prohibited me from thinking of taking legal action."
Honderich also speculated that their willingness to publish the review might have something to do with his controversial views on Palestine and terrorism. Editor in chief, Nicholas L. Sturgeon, denied this, saying he didn't even know about Honderich's political views.
The dispute has been a popular topic of debate at the Leiter Reports blog, a central hub of philosophical news and discussion on the web. General opinion was that whether or not McGinn's criticisms held up, there is no reason not to publish very harsh reviews. Christian Perring wrote, "If it were a review of a book by a young scholar, just starting out in the field, I might think the tone unkind and potentially damaging to the person's career, although it is also possible that such a review would draw attention to the book and make the person's reputation. But Honderich is not a young scholar, and I doubt that his career will be at all affected by this review."
Robert Talisse agreed: "I think that, apart from special cases involving junior people, etc., philosophers should get hauled out for strawmaning, cherry-picking, or otherwise failing to pick up their fair share of the dialectical burden. Well-established, distinguished philosophers know better than to do this; and when they do it anyway they should be called on it in harsh tones." Leiter himself added, "It may not be nice to say that a book is 'preposterous' or an argument 'ludicrous', but sometimes that is the only 'serious' thing to say (I don't know that McGinn's review of Honderich is such an occasion, I should add.) Too often, I fear, 'civility' is the pretext ottered for what is really intellectual dishonesty."
But Thorn Brooks questioned he wisdom of publishing the eview. "Negative reviews seem pointless if there is nothing worthwhile to say about the look. It is like philosophical problems. If the opposing view is obviously false, then why waste our time laying it out?"
Both philosophers appear to lave tired of the feud. "I could wish the newspapers of the world would find other philosophical matters more newsworthy," wrote McGinn on his blog; while Honderich replied to McGinn's rejoinder to his rejoinder by saying: "There will be no response by Ted Honderich to these thoughts and feelings, or to Brian Leiter's, other than one sentence," a rather lengthy one which followed.
It remains to be seen if Honderich will be reviewing McGinn's latest book: Mindfucking.
Enlarged 10 May 2008
Colin McGinn According to Ted Honderich
McGinn's rejoinder with a sentence of response
Andrew Ross, First-Person Consciousness: Honderich & McGinn Reviewed
Andrew Ross, Hitting on Consciousness: Honderich Versus McGinn
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