George Berkeley and the power of words

According to a picture of language that has enjoyed wide popularity throughout the history of Western philosophy, language is a tool for making our thoughts known to others: the speaker translates
According to a picture of language that has enjoyed wide popularity throughout the history of Western philosophy, language is a tool for making our thoughts known to others: the speaker translates [More]

A few more of our shortest words: “if,” “of,” and “both”

The post of 21 June 2017 on the “dwarfs of our vocabulary” was received so well that I decided to return to them in the hope that the continuation will not disappoint our readers. Those dwarfs have
The post of 21 June 2017 on the “dwarfs of our vocabulary” was received so well that I decided to return to them in the hope that the continuation will not disappoint our readers. Those dwarfs have [More]

Breaking the rules of grammar

Can grammar be glamorous? Due to its meticulous nature, the study of grammar has been saddled with an undeserved intimidating reputation. Esteemed linguist David explains how grammar is an essential
Can grammar be glamorous? Due to its meticulous nature, the study of grammar has been saddled with an undeserved intimidating reputation. Esteemed linguist David explains how grammar is an essential [More]

Pride 2017: a reading list

Happy Pride Month from the OUP Philosophy team! To celebrate the LGBT Pride 2017 happening in cities across the world, including the New York City and London Prides this summer, OUP Philosophy is
Happy Pride Month from the OUP Philosophy team! To celebrate the LGBT Pride 2017 happening in cities across the world, including the New York City and London Prides this summer, OUP Philosophy is [More]

How to write about theatre performances

It’s the theatre season in my town of Ashland, Oregon, and I’m keeping up with the play reviews and talking with reviewers about what makes a good review. Reviewing a play is different than
It’s the theatre season in my town of Ashland, Oregon, and I’m keeping up with the play reviews and talking with reviewers about what makes a good review. Reviewing a play is different than [More]

Unity without objecthood, in art and in natural language

What makes something we see or something we talk about a single thing, or simply a unit that we can identify and that we can distinguish from others and compare to them? For ordinary objects like
What makes something we see or something we talk about a single thing, or simply a unit that we can identify and that we can distinguish from others and compare to them? For ordinary objects like [More]

The unprecedented difficulty of B(e)

A dictionary is in indeed a collection of stories and each word entry has a unique tale to tell. If we choose the verb 'be', we encounter a special insight into English, and into the society and
A dictionary is in indeed a collection of stories and each word entry has a unique tale to tell. If we choose the verb 'be', we encounter a special insight into English, and into the society and [More]

For want of a comma

The Oxford Comma, so named because it first appeared in the 1905 Oxford University Press Style Guide, is the comma that comes before the word and in a series of three or more listed items. Also
The Oxford Comma, so named because it first appeared in the 1905 Oxford University Press Style Guide, is the comma that comes before the word and in a series of three or more listed items. Also [More]

Why bother?

Yes, there is every reason to bother. Read the following: “One of the most common expressions in everyday life, and one which is generally used by all classes, is the expression ‘Don’t bother me!’
Yes, there is every reason to bother. Read the following: “One of the most common expressions in everyday life, and one which is generally used by all classes, is the expression ‘Don’t bother me!’ [More]

Voltaire and the one-liner

As we mark Voltaire’s 323rd birthday – though the date of 20 February is problematic, the subject of another blog – what significance does the great Enlightenment writer have for us now? If I had
As we mark Voltaire’s 323rd birthday – though the date of 20 February is problematic, the subject of another blog – what significance does the great Enlightenment writer have for us now? If I had [More]