thinking makes it so

There is grandeur in this view of life…

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with 8 comments

Edwin Booth as Hamlet, 1870

…for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

[William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2]

Hamlet is discussing the state of Denmark with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Hamlet sees Denmark as a prison, so that is what it is for him. They don’t, so for them it is not.

This site isn’t just about prisons or Denmark or ethical relativism or even Wittgenstein’s duckrabbit. But it is about thinking, broadly speaking.

My blog has three main threads so far. It would be great to get your thoughts on any of these:

Thinking about religion

Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong

If you’re interested in places where ethics, religion and evolution might intersect, please take a look at The ethics of belief. (Or start with Is religion immoral? or Does faith make us better?)

There are some reflections on Karen Armstrong‘s The case for God: What religion really means in Karen’s on the case.

This has also spawned a couple of posts on George Steiner‘s Language and silence, beginning with Whispers of the gods #1.

For a riposte to Antony Flew‘s There is a god: How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind please see Another Flew over the cuckoo’s nest.

Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion
Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion

There are also a  number of responses to books and articles written in answer to Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion:

Eagleton on Dawkins [‘Lunging, Flailing, Mispunching’ by Terry Eagleton]

Touched by an angel [Darwin’s angel: An angelic riposte to The God Delusion by John Cornwell]

This has also spawned a series of posts on George Steiner‘s Real presences, beginning with Whispers of the gods #3.

Delusion delusion [The Dawkins delusion?: Atheist fundamentalism and the denial of the divine, by Alister McGrath]

When Kathleen met Richard [Challenging Richard Dawkins: Why Richard Dawkins is wrong about God by Kathleen Jones]

Serious about delusion [Why there almost certainly is a God: Doubting Dawkins by Keith Ward]

Thinking about art

Bertolt Brecht

Bertolt Brecht

For a series on the validation of works of art, please see Art in the family.

If the phenomenology of representation is more your thing, please give Brecht and mimesis a whirl.

Thinking about business process

Topics in business process architecture:

Searching for the real business process

Business processes and business rules

Business process architecture and business change

Go to My blog for the latest. Or use Browse by Category on the right. But please let me know what you think.

© Chris Lawrence 2008, 2009, 2010.


Written by Chris Lawrence

30 August 2008 at 7:00 am

8 Responses

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  1. Tony Equale has asked me what I think about Stuart Kaufmans theories. I didn’t think anything until just now when I’ve begun to take a look at some of the postings by and about his work on the web.

    Based on what I’ve seen so far, I can see why Tony asked. Either the man is brilliant or off the wall (of course, it is possible to be both). I’m going to try to get a hold of his work either at the library here or as used copies when I’m in the States. So I expect it will be some months before I’ve developed even a seminal view.

    But given your background in biology, I would also be extremely interested in your view of his elaboration of Darwin’s theory.

    Thank you for – Oh just thank you!


    18 May 2010 at 9:33 pm

  2. Chris,

    I remember reading somebody’s comment on one of your posts suggesting that you check out Mere Christianity. Went looking for it just now and couldn’t find it. You’re too prolific!

    In the spirit of that commenter, I would like to add GK Chesterton’s Orthodoxy and Tim Keller’s The Reason for God to the list. Far from technical, but certainly entertaining–particularly the Chesterton.

    Oh, and regarding Mr. Steiner, hearing your perspective has actually given me some relief. I don’t think I ever really enjoyed his writing. I just knew that as a revered Cambridge professor it was supposed to be good. So good that only a tiny fraction of its readers could actually appreciate and understand it. Now I’m beginning to doubt the existence of that fraction.



    19 January 2010 at 5:10 am

    • Thanks George.

      I remember someone recommending CS Lewis’s Miracles but not Mere Christianity. It was on Clifford’s razor.

      I did read about half of it & want to read it again through to the end some time. I have to say though I found it as high on wishful thinking as it was low on logic – Narnia in an academic gown.

      I think I’ve got a copy of Mere Christianity which I will certainly get round to reading.

      Yes, Steiner. Perhaps a welcome reminder that ‘you can fool some of the people some of the time…’

      Thanks again, Chris.

      Chris Lawrence

      23 January 2010 at 1:45 pm

  3. No I hadn’t – so thanks again!

    Chris Lawrence

    19 July 2009 at 11:41 pm

  4. Chris – You might also be interested in this article in the New Scientist as well. If you haven’t already seen it.

    Terry Sissons

    19 July 2009 at 11:25 pm

  5. Thanks Terry – just found the review (Philip Ball?) & read it. Looks an interesting book, which I’ll try & get hold of. Chris.

    Chris Lawrence

    19 July 2009 at 4:52 pm

  6. Chris –
    I just read a review in the London Times of Fern Elsdon-Baker’s The Selfish Genius: How Richard Dawkins Rewrote Darwin’s Legacy. The review is mixed, but says Elsdon-Baker makes an interesting assertion – that it is Dawkins’ theory of evolution which is out of date. She also finds the nature of his “combativeness” unacceptable. I’d be interested in your own read.
    BTW, I am among those who have to fight through a distaste for Dawkins’ rudeness in order to try to evaluate his position objectively. I think it’s this that many find offensive and is at the root of accusations that Dawkins’ own thinking is “fundamentalist.”


    Terry Sissons

    19 July 2009 at 4:25 pm

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