Category Archives: Philosophy

Gotta have faith

Just catching up, sort of, with the Guardian’s  How To Believe series, which brings together a series of short blogs on religion and philosophy and all that. The series covers a wide range of topics and characters, from Thomas Aquinas to Kierkegaard, from The Book of Common Prayer to Hobbes’ Leviathan and so on.

Apart from the Wittgenstein series which initially took my eye, Paganism is also being covered rather well by Liz Williams, an interesting character in herself: “Liz Williams is the author of 15 SF/Fantasy novels. She has a doctorate in the history and philosophy of science from Cambridge, and runs a witchcraft shop in Glastonbury”. What a gal!

I went through my pagan phase during a rather pre-mature mid-life crisis about 10 years ago, reading up on rituals, beliefs and all things wiccan-magickey. It’s not all hocus-pocus and fairy-tales. Much of modern Christian religion is based on erstwhile pagan rituals and beliefs: early Christians used a lot of already existing Pagan festivals for example as a basis for Christian ones, such as Ostara (Easter) and Candlemas taken from the late January/early February festival of Imbolc.  And with Lammas just around the corner, time to brush up on one’s bread-baking skills!

Royal Mail Lammastide stamp (February 1981)

Is there a hippo in the room?

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”

As part of my studies, I’ve started a Philosophy of Language course, part of which deals with Austrian born philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, who spent a lot of his life in England, philosophising on mathematics, language and other stuff.

Seems a bit of a tough nut to crack at the moment, but I’ll let you know how I get on.

Books I’ve put together so far:

  • Wittgenstein for Beginners, John Heaton
  • Wittgenstein, Philosophy in an Hour [Kindle Edition], Paul Strathern
  • How to Read Wittgenstein, Ray Monk

The BBC/IOT podcast on Wittgenstein (2003) was a tad disappointing as none of the guests seemed to able to explain exactly what our Ludwig was on about, or perhaps I need to listen to it a second time. Anyway another good podcast – an interview with Ray Monk – can be found here.

Still looking for some decent documentary / OU type video material if anyone knows of any.