Sunday, April 25, 2010

Philosophy for the All-Too-Common Man

This review by John Gray of the latest book by A.C. Grayling, who really should try writing less and thinking more, delightfully punctures the pretensions of the kind of bien-pensant who presents the conventional ideas of his time as if they were the independent thought of a non-conformist and courageous mind.

"Indeed, the realization that history will not go his way might account for the shrill, peevish and increasingly baffled tone of Grayling’s polemics. There is nothing as dead as the opinions of the day before yesterday, and Ideas that Matter contains little else. Yet, despite the fact that it points to the past and not to the future, there is something to be prized in this volume. With his mix of adamant certainty and high-minded silliness, Grayling has captured for posterity a glimpse of that soon-to-be-extinct species, the late-twentieth-century bien-pensant."

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