Reports, retorts, reviews and argument from
the CRASSH research community

An interview with John Searle

An interview with John Searle

Tim Crane

During his recent visit to CRASSH, when he delivered a public lecture on Consciousness as a Problem in Philosophy and Neurobiology to a packed auditorium, John Searle gave the following interview to Tim Crane on 21 May. Here, he talks about Philosophy at Oxford and Cambridge in the 1950s, and the philosophers who have most influenced him. He discusses the book he's proudest of, the book he is about to publish, the book he refused to publish, and the subject he has in mind for his next book. He gives his views on Disjunctivism, human rights, animal rights, combining academe with politics, and on the branch of philosophy that puts him to sleep. Finally, he offers his opinion on the state of philosophy today, and provides some advice to young philosophers.

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Posted: Monday 9 June 2014


The Crimean Tatar Sürgün: Past and Present

The Crimean Tatar Sürgün: Past and Present

Rory Finnin

On 18 May 1944 a young Crimean Tatar poet named Idris Asanin began a torturous journey to Central Asia at the gunpoint of Stalin’s secret police, the NKVD. Along with hundreds of thousands of other Crimean Tatars, a Turkic-speaking Sunni Muslim people indigenous to Crimea, Asanin’s family endured an ordeal of mass death and brutal dispossession that claimed the lives of at least thirty percent of the entire population...

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Posted: Sunday 18 May 2014


A Divided Ukraine: Europe’s Most Dangerous Idea

A Divided Ukraine: Europe’s Most Dangerous Idea

Rory Finnin

Pick up any news clipping about Ukraine from the past twenty years, and you are likely to find a cursory description of the country along these lines: ‘Ukraine, roughly the size of France, divided between a pro-EU west and a pro-Russian east’. A journalist once admitted to me that his editors routinely appended such a refrain even to articles and reports attesting to a different, more complex reality...

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Posted: Thursday 27 March 2014


Educational Genetics: Cultivating the Playing Field

Educational Genetics: Cultivating the Playing Field

Tim Lewens

What might the relationship be between genetics and education policy? Many will think the answer is ‘not much’, but Robert Plomin, an eminent behavioural geneticist at King’s College London, urged a different answer on Guardian readers last month...

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Posted: Tuesday 18 March 2014


Of Tigeraphernalia and Talking Big Cats

Of Tigeraphernalia and Talking Big Cats

Nayanika Mathur

On a recent trip to Ranthambore – a tiger reserve and wildlife sanctuary in the north Indian state of Rajasthan – I encountered a number of talking big cats. To be precise, these are large, lifelike, painted cut-outs of big cats that are friendlily asking one to meet them or have a party or, as in the third case, beseeching one to be given some land to walk on...

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Posted: Wednesday 5 February 2014


At the BIS Select Committee Hearing on Student Loans

At the BIS Select Committee Hearing on Student Loans

Christopher Newfield

What’s new in the Cameron Government’s ongoing effort to keep its student loan scheme out of the ditch? In an effort to find out, I turned up in Committee Room 8 in Parliament on the morning of 17 December, and watched the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee hear from a panel of three witnesses about the proposed sale of the student loan book to private investors...

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Posted: Friday 3 January 2014


Ukrainians: Expect-the-Unexpected Nation

Ukrainians: Expect-the-Unexpected Nation

Rory Finnin

Twice within the span of a decade, Ukraine has riveted the world’s attention with dramatic mass demonstrations in support of political and economic transparency, freedom, and the rule of law. And at these critical junctures in the country’s history, scores of foreign journalists and analysts have appended a proviso to the scenes of throngs of Ukrainian citizens donning the yellow-and-blue and demanding more of the political leaders who routinely fail them...

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Posted: Friday 20 December 2013


The Circle: Totally Transparent

The Circle: Totally Transparent

Alfred Moore

As at least one perceptive chap has noted, fears of our networked world can be framed in terms of two great dystopian fictions. In Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four the force of the laws cannot be escaped, resisted, or appealed. His totalitarian dystopia is a surveillance state perfected by technology, in which the will of the individual is simply crushed between pervasive propaganda and physical force. Huxley's Brave New World, by contrast, turns on the appeal of pleasure...

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Posted: Tuesday 10 December 2013


Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax: the frogs and the bean-counters

Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax: the frogs and the bean-counters

Simon Goldhill

'So how did it come to this? Why was I strolling down King’s Parade boisterously whistling a peskily catchy tune that had just been sung by fourteen, wellie-wearing, tap-dancing frogs?' writes CRASSH Director Simon Goldhill...

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Posted: Thursday 28 November 2013


What was lost in Dallas

What was lost in Dallas

I saw Jack Kennedy once, in the flesh, at close range. It was during his visit to Ireland in 1963 and my father – who had been responsible for some of the arrangements – had wangled a good viewing position for me...

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Posted: Thursday 21 November 2013

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