Things that Bother Me: Death, Freedom, the Self, Etc

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New York Review of Books, 2018 - PHILOSOPHY - 236 pages
An original collection of lauded philosopher Galen Strawson's writings on the self and consciousness, naturalism and pan-psychism.

Galen Strawson might be described as the Montaigne of modern philosophers, endlessly curious, enormously erudite, unafraid of strange, difficult, and provocative propositions, and able to describe them clearly--in other words, he is a true essayist. Strawson also shares with Montaigne a particular fascination with the elastic and elusive nature of the self and of consciousness. Of the essays collected here, "A Fallacy of Our Age" (an inspiration for Vendela Vida's novel Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name) takes issue with the commencement-address cliché that life is a story. Strawson questions whether it is desirable or even meaningful to think about life that way. "The Sense of the Self" offers an alternative account, in part personal, of how a distinct sense of self is not at all incompatible with a sense of the self as discontinuous, leading Strawson to a position that he sees as in some ways Buddhist. "Real Naturalism" argues that a fully naturalist account of consciousness supports a belief in the immanence of consciousness in nature as a whole (also known as panpsychism), while in the final essay Strawson offers a vivid account of coming of age in the 1960s.

Drawing on literature and life as much as on philosophy, this is a book that prompts both argument and wonder.

 

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Contents

Preface
9
The Sense of the Self
23
A Fallacy of Our Age
45
Luck Swallows Everything
92
You Cannot Make Yourself the Way You Are I
138
The Unstoried Life
177
Two Years Time
202
Notes and References
217
Copyright

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About the author (2018)

Galen Strawsonis a writer and professor of philosophy. He has taught at his alma mater, Oxford University, the University of Reading, and at CUNY Graduate Center, among other institutions. He is the author of seven works of nonfiction, including Freedom and Beliefand Consciousness and its Place in Nature, and has been a consulting editor for the Times Literary Supplementfor many years and is a regular book reviewer for several UK publications. He is currently Chair in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin.

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