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Australian philosopher, literary critic, and professional writer. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ah haz a copy of On What Matters

I lashed out and bought a copy of the two huge volumes of Derek Parfit's new book On What Matters. If it lives up to the hype, this is the most important philosophical work in the English language for decades.

Okay, so my two volumes have just turned up in mail; they're very handsome indeed, but I have no idea when I'm going to find the time to read them. On What Matters doesn't strike me as the sort of book you can read by working through a hundred pages a day while doing and thinking about other things. It looks more like the sort of book where you need to set aside two weeks of your life to concentrate on the arguments, and do nothing much else except occasionally eat and sleep.

Oh well, I live in hope of being able to do that some time.

9 comments:

setAD7 said...

Hi,
could you explain to us uninitiated why this is an important book.

Russell Blackford said...

Well,among other things coz it's the magnum opus that Parfit has been working on for the last 25 years or so since Reasons and Persons came out ... and everyone seems to agree that Reasons and Persons was a super-important contribution to philosophy. Is that enough?

Kel said...

"It looks more like the sort of book where you need to set aside two weeks of your life to concentrate on the arguments, and do nothing much else except occasionally eat and sleep."
That's the reason I was never able to get through Gödel, Escher, Bach.

Russell Blackford said...

Psst, here's a secret: I, too, have never managed to get all the way through Gödel, Escher, Bach. A long way, but not all the way. :(

Kassul said...

Gödel, Escher, Bach has regularly featured high up on my Big List of Books Kassul Wants that I e-mail out to friends/family as my birthday/Christmas approaches.

I haven't gotten it yet.

When I do finally get it, I'll take your advice and schedule appropriately. Plus I'll just not get some of the ideas in it :P
Ah well.

John Danaher said...

My copy is due in the post any day now. I'll be doing some posts on it in the coming weeks if anyone's interested.

Russell Blackford said...

Sure - let us know.

strangebeasty said...

I've started reading the online draft he still has up. Found it by searching "Parfit "On What Matters" Draft". I'm very glad you led me to it for the Sidgwick quotes in the preface alone.

Felix said...

Review of On What Matters by Simon Blackburn is available here:
http://www.phil.cam.ac.uk/~swb24/reviews/Parfitfinal.htm

Warning:
** May contain spoilers **