Stuart Hampshire (1914–2004) was an English philosopher. He taught at University College London, Princeton, Stanford and Oxford, where he was named Warden of Wadham College. His books include Thought and Action, Spinoza and Justice Is Conflict.


The Spinoza Solution

In his recently published memoir The Making of a Philosopher, Colin McGinn makes a provocative suggestion. It may be found, he writes, that human beings will never be able adequately to explain to themselves the relation of their minds to their bodies and brains; that relation may remain a philosophical …

The Pleasure of Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch: A Life

by Peter J. Conradi
Peter Conradi’s biography is an immensely long book, and it sometimes seems long as one reads it. The trouble is that the biographer has been almost smothered by the abundance of his sources. Iris Murdoch often thought of her own life as a kind of quest, a quest for perfection …

Living for the Future

The Diaries of Beatrice Webb

edited by Norman MacKenzie and Jeanne MacKenzie, abridged by Lynn Knight, preface by Hermione Lee
Selected from the four volumes of Beatrice Webb’s diaries and further abridged, this book is a brilliant enterprise. No other state or society has ever been so rich, so many-layered, so abundant in its moral and religious concerns and in scientific discovery as Great Britain between 1870 and 1914. About …

He Had His Ups and Downs

Bertrand Russell: The Ghost of Madness 1921–1970

Ray Monk
Volume I of Ray Monk’s admirable biography of Bertrand Russell, subtitled “The Spirit of Solitude,” ends in 1921, precisely at the high point of Russell’s purely intellectual life. Although he published several works of academic philosophy in later years—the last of them, Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits (1948), was …

The Eye of the Beholder

On Beauty and Being Just

by Elaine Scarry
Elaine Scarry is reviving, in her style of thought, a tradition that might have been thought to be dead or dying. It is the grand style of Ruskin and Pater, which became a principal inspiration for Proust in the long passages of his novel where he was trying to be …

The Reason Why Not

What We Owe to Each Other

by T.M. Scanlon
Moral philosophy in English-speaking countries is an inquiry now pursued principally in universities. This is accidental rather than essential; the great reforming philosophers, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, were not professors. But still the present fact determines much of the style and form of contemporary moral philosophy, and determines …

On Isaiah Berlin (1909 – 1997)

Michael Ignatieff He was born in the twilight of imperial Russia and he was buried on a grey Friday morning at the end of the century in the Jewish section of Oxford’s Wolvercote cemetery. At the age of seven, he watched the banners of the Russian Revolution waving below the …