Go slow

As the years roll by, I am becoming more and more of an ancient philosopher. When a colleague told me the Classics department were running a reading group on Plato’s Gorgias, I couldn’t resist. Last week we had our first meeting and I turned up not knowing what to expect. A few other philosophers wereContinue reading “Go slow”

New beginnings

Today I am taking my eldest to university for the start of the new academic year. It’s led me to recall my own start at Huddersfield Polytechnic, nervously walking through the campus entrance on the first day, back in 1986. Opting to take a degree was a gamble. After school, I worked as a civilContinue reading “New beginnings”

A window on another world

Regular readers of this learned and erudite blog would be forgiven for thinking that I am perpetually preoccupied with the most abstruse matters of metaphysics and constantly immersed in a philosophical trance from which few worldly concerns could distract me. Fortunately, that is not the case at all. To survive in academia, you have alsoContinue reading “A window on another world”

The proposal

All stages of writing a book excite me, even reading the proofs. But the other end of the process is particularly thrilling and fun. The original conception, the first idea, the basic premise is a stage at which infinite possibilities remain open, which over time will become narrowed down. Initially vague and abstract ideas crystalliseContinue reading “The proposal”

One step at a time

During lockdown, I took up walking. County Durham is blessed with beautiful countryside. Finding it such a tranquil diversion, I started to look for greater challenges and spectacle further afield and have since taken on a few summits. The longest walk I did was 25 miles, including three peaks. The last of the day wasContinue reading “One step at a time”

Talking the talk

What is your most important job as an academic researcher in the arts? Is it reading? Or is it writing? And really that means publishing, right? It must mean the latter since when you give a report at the end of a study leave, it usually just has to detail what you have produced andContinue reading “Talking the talk”

The index

Compiling a book’s index is regarded as a chore. Some authors are willing to pay to have it done for them. Others trust it to an automated program. I always prefer to compile my own indexes and this week I completed the index for my Absence and Nothing: the Philosophy of What There is Not.Continue reading “The index”


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