Philosophy, Film, Politics, Etc.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's Disgusting, But Is It Philosophy?

As devoted as I am to defending philosophy and philosophers against unjust criticism, I'm not opposed to poking fun at philosophers from time to time.  Yes, it's true:  Some philosophers flaunt their disinterest in empirical science and common sense in ridiculous ways.  Here's proof: a humorously scathing review of Colin McGinn's new book, The Meaning of Disgust.

This may be the most entertaining review of a philosophical work I've ever read.  Though I'm not sure how well McGinn's book qualifies as philosophy.  Here's the bottom line, from the review:

For the rest of us—those who actually care about disgust, or aesthetic emotions, or scholarship at all—the book is bound to disappoint. “Who can deny the mood-destroying effect of an errant flatus just at the moment of erotic fervor?” [McGinn] writes. McGinn’s book is just such a flatus, threatening to spoil an exciting intellectual moment for the rest of us. Sometimes with books, as with farts, it’s better to just hold it in.
(H/T Brian Leiter)