REASON 3 DEFYING AUTHORITY

September 1, 2015

The generation gap of the late 20th century was in itself nothing new.  But the explosion of youth culture in the 1960s, with its  questioning of all traditional authorities, has resulted in an older generation deeply pitying of the subservience of its pre-war forbears.  READ REASON 3

Reason 2 Speaking Your Mind

February 16, 2015

CHAPTER 2 OF    20 REASONS YOU WON’T GROW OLD LIKE THIS: How ageing is changing in the 21st century.

Of all the ways in which ageing is changing, refusing to be told what to think, or caring much what others think of what you think, is perhaps the most basic.  Most post-war educated people, that is, those who started school after World War II (1939-1945), are as noisily critical as former generations were outwardly compliant …

READ REASON 2

Graphology – The Function of the Semiotic Principle in establishing the claims of a pseudo or proto-science (graphology) to the status of empirical science

September 15, 2013

Before going into academic philosophy as a mature student in 1986 I had published three books on graphology, and been the Research Officer for The British Institute of Graphologists.  On being challenged in philosophy departments about this “irrational” topic I argued that graphology is not esoteric, but intensely analytical. It is the study of regular patterns and shapes directly created by impulses from the brain. I wrote this paper as a response to criticism, and it was immediately published in Semiotica 102-3/4 (1994), 251-278.

Function of the Semiotic Principle ..

Reason 1 Letting it all hang out

December 7, 2012

The first chapter of 20  Reasons You Won’t Grow Old Like This: How ageing is changing in the 21st century  –

For most people born after 1950, spilling out emotions and fears is normal. The post-war elevation of self-exposure to a primal need and right is one reason why today’s new old have abandoned the traditional stiff upper lip, secrecy and refusal to disclose or introspect of past older generations …

READ REASON 1

Articles on Ageing

September 5, 2011

Struggling to be Happy – Even When I’m Old

Published in The Journal of  Applied Philosophy Vol.19 Issue 1 pp. 17-30 2002

Read online at https://spinozaauthor.wordpress.com/books-by-spinozaauthor-margaret-gullan-whur/articles-on-spinoza-by-margaret-gullan-whur/struggling-to-be-happy-even-when-im-old/

Abstract

My thesis seeks to reduce what may be a natural human antipathy to ageing
and/or the elderly by working with one distinctive and consistently approved
feature of some older people. This feature is a bold and cheerful struggle
within a self-chosen project. The argument opens by distinguishing short-term
gratification from lasting, fulfilling happiness, and showing the link between
gratification and dependence. Three kinds of struggle (non-voluntary,
part-voluntary and positive) are then outlined and exemplified. Gerontological
and anthropological research suggest that attitudes to struggle are fixed early
in life, and while in the past they mitigated for or against successful
survival, they now influence happiness and coping in later life. I argue that
the negative effects of the first two kinds of struggle – which are often
misguided, grudging or ‘no-win’ struggles – are responsible for the rigidity,
narcissism and resentment disliked in some older people. Self-respect,
contrasted with self-righteousness, is shown to accrue only from the positive
(voluntary and congenial) struggle that seems at any age to deflect or
compensate for depression, disappointment, loneliness and illness.

Struggling to be Happy – Even When I’m Old

September 5, 2011

Published in The Journal of  Applied Philosophy Vol.19 Issue 1 pp. 17-30 2002

Read online at https://spinozaauthor.wordpress.com/books-by-spinozaauthor-margaret-gullan-whur/articles-on-spinoza-by-margaret-gullan-whur/struggling-to-be-happy-even-when-im-old/

Abstract

My thesis seeks to reduce what may be a natural human antipathy to ageing
and/or the elderly by working with one distinctive and consistently approved
feature of some older people. This feature is a bold and cheerful struggle
within a self-chosen project. The argument opens by distinguishing short-term
gratification from lasting, fulfilling happiness, and showing the link between
gratification and dependence. Three kinds of struggle (non-voluntary,
part-voluntary and positive) are then outlined and exemplified. Gerontological
and anthropological research suggest that attitudes to struggle are fixed early
in life, and while in the past they mitigated for or against successful
survival, they now influence happiness and coping in later life. I argue that
the negative effects of the first two kinds of struggle – which are often
misguided, grudging or ‘no-win’ struggles – are responsible for the rigidity,
narcissism and resentment disliked in some older people. Self-respect,
contrasted with self-righteousness, is shown to accrue only from the positive
(voluntary and congenial) struggle that seems at any age to deflect or
compensate for depression, disappointment, loneliness and illness.

 

Spinoza and the Equality of Women

July 14, 2011

Abstract   On the last page of A Political Treatise Spinoza denies that women are subject to men by convention only. He excludes females from participation in politics on the grounds that they are “by nature … necessarily” (that is, by the logical and causal necessity which are for him equivalent) unequal to men “in strength of mind and intellectual ability”. This claim is examined in relation to four of Spinoza’s foundational principles. It is found to be in tension with all four, and with the psychological, social, political and moral deductions Spinoza makes from them, and is moreover an internally weak argument.

Spinoza on religion in public life

July 8, 2011

Spinoza’s proposals for calming sectarian tensions.

Margaret Gullan-Whur Homepage

January 27, 2011

Homepage and blogsite of the author of Within Reason: A Life of Spinoza (Jonathan Cape 1998; Pimlico  2000)

 

ARTICLES on Spinoza by Margaret Gullan-Whur

February 25, 2010

See the full list of Margaret Gullan-Whur’s articles on Spinoza, and find a link to my Ph.D. thesis. 

These articles on Spinoza and his philosophy get multiple hits but I can tell from the search terms that people don’t always get answers. e.g. ‘What did Spinoza think of Jesus? ‘ Please use the comment boxes including an email address and I will try to answer you.  You will also prompt me to upload more articles and blogs.