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Professional philosophy news

Interview with Simon Blackburn: The People’s Philosopher

Interview with Simon Blackburn: The People’s Philosopher

He may not like the label ‘populariser’, but he nonetheless talks with some excitement about philosophy getting more popular. When I ask him whether he thinks he and his peers have had any success in bringing this about, he allows himself a little cautious optimism. “Statistically, there’s evidence that it’s working,” he says – but this was not always so. “I remember the first time I ever spoke at a literary festival, there was this huge queue and I thought: ‘Good Lord; there’s so much interest in philosophy from the general public!’ It turns out the huge queue was actually for Norman Mailer who was speaking in the next tent, and the queue for me was rather small”. Suspecting that many in his audience had got lost on the way to Mailer’s talk, he quips that he had to break the news to a modest crowd of disappointed festival-goers that that he had “never slept with Ernest Hemingway or bought ten rounds with Marilyn Monroe”. (He has evidently had some pretty intimate chats with Norman Mailer though).

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