Colin McGinn is a philosopher. His books include Philosophy of ­Language: The Classics Explained and Prehension: The Hand and the ­Emergence of Humanity. (June 2016)


Groping Toward the Mind

William Blake: The Ancient of Days, frontispiece to Europe a Prophecy, 1794

Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind

by George Makari

The Age of Genius: The Seventeenth Century and the Birth of the Modern Mind

by A.C. Grayling
There are three things that might be meant by “the emergence of the modern mind”: first, the emergence of modern ways of thinking about the universe; second, the emergence of modern conceptions of the mind; and third, the emergence of the mind itself with its distinctive human characteristics. A.C. Grayling, …

Jonathan Miller and the Kinds of Genius

Jonathan Miller, London, 1967

On Further Reflection: 60 Years of Writing

by Jonathan Miller
The usual cliché “polymath” does not do justice to the peculiar case history that is the life of Jonathan Miller. In his own telling, he begins as an unremarkable schoolboy at a semimystical progressive school dedicated to something called “leading-out,” where wet paper was insisted upon in art class. “It …

Storm Over the Brain

A model showing the functioning of human brain cells, Washington, D.C.

Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain

by Patricia S. Churchland
Patricia Churchland’s Touching a Nerve belongs to the same genre as a book by Jean-Pierre Changeux that I recently reviewed in these pages1: neuroscience cheerleading, to put it crudely. Churchland is avowedly a big fan of the brain—she loves the brain (as she never tires of reminding us). And …