Wed Jan 31, 2007

Philosophers

Via Jason Stanley, a link to some now classic photographs of philosophers taken by Steve Pyke, together with a new batch by the same photographer. Here is the much-missed David Lewis. Here is a terrific shot of Elisabeth Anscombe and husband Peter Geach. Amongst the new batch, here is Rae Langton. Here is Anthony Appiah. And here is Jason himself, looking more intense than usual, and also unusually quiet.

Throughout the first batch and for much of the second, Pyke got the philosophers to provide a little statement about themselves and their field. Some are jokey, some gnomic, others quite straightforward. (H.L.A. Hart: “To be frank I think the idea of a 50-100 word summary is an absurd idea‚Ķ I advise you to drop it.”) Amongst my favorites is that of Geoffrey Warnock, which elegantly captures the virtues that the analytic tradition strives imperfectly to embody: “To be clear-headed rather than confused; lucid rather than obscure; rational rather than otherwise; and to be neither more, nor less, sure of things than is justifiable by argument or evidence. That is worth trying for.”

But if that’s all too much for you, here are some recent photos of philosophers having a blast pretending to be cowboys while riding uncertainly around on horses in the Sonoran desert. That’s what they’re really like, you know, moody black-and-white headshots notwithstanding.