Rupert Read

Rupert Read
University of East Anglia | UEA · School of Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy

About

165
Publications
85,436
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682
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Introduction
I am a philosopher working and writing at the University of East Anglia. My main research interests are in Wittgenstein, philosophy of science, environmental philosophy, and philosophy of film. I am currently working on a book giving a ‘liberatory’ reading of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. Keep up-to-date with my work by following me on: Twitter: @GreenRupertRead and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreenRupertRead/
Education
September 1988 - July 1995
September 1984 - July 1987
University of Oxford
Field of study
  • Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Publications

Publications (165)
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At the center of Derek Parfit's Reasons and Persons is nestled a famous short story about a person who uses a teletransporter. Parfit argues that his "thought experiment" shows that "personal identity"-as(analytic) philosophy understands it-doesn't matter. As long as I know that my "self" on Mars is unharmed by the teletransporter, it shouldn't mat...
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Dithering on COVID-19 is killing our people. Decisive, scientifically well-founded precautionary suppression not 'herd immunity' must be our strategy. We the undersigned have looked on with horror as our shambles of a government has allowed the death toll to mount so that it is the highest in Europe, both in absolute terms and per capita. A governm...
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This is a review of Aaron Bastani's book Fully Automate Luxury Communism.
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Is there a scientific revolution taking place in economics? This piece seeks to apply the thinking of Wittgenstein and of the major philosopher of science who was, I have argued elsewhere, most influenced by him—Kuhn—to the emergence of ‘ecological economics’.
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In this chapter we will focus on the relation between psychology as a discipline and how it understands nonsense. We will present a broad Wittgensteinian perspective inspired by the approaches of Peter Winch and Rom Harré, and use Wolcott’s approach to the ‘language’ of schizophrenia, schizophrenese, as an object of analysis. Using a therapeutic un...
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The existence of other people addresses us; their existence is a fundamentally second-person matter. This chapter argues that staying too much in the would-be-utterly spectatorial third person, or stuck within the first person, has been philosophy’s bane. Such ‘objectivity’ and ‘subjectivity’, far from being opposites, are but two sides of the same...
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This paper introduces the Special Issue on 'post-truth'. The contributions to this special issue try between them to strike a right balance. To establish how new ‘post-truthism’ really is – or isn’t. To seek a point of reflection on whatever is new in our current socio-political straits. And to consider seriously how philosophy can help. Whether by...
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Finlayson argues that ‘post-truth’ is nothing new. In this response, I motivate a more modest position: that it is something new, to some extent, albeit neither radically new nor brand new. I motivate this position by examining the case of climate-change-denial, called by some post-truth before 'post-truth'. I examine here the (over-determined) n...
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In this article, we analyse one of the most famous recent thought‐experiments in philosophy, namely Donald Davidson's Swampman. Engaging recent commentators on Davidson's Swampman as well as analysing the spatio‐temporal conditions of the thought‐experiment, we will show how the ‘experiment’ inevitably fails. For it doesn't take seriously some of i...
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This is a working paper published by the Initiative for Leadership and Sustainability.
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Examining the famous section 133 of the Philosophical Investigations, I seek to elucidate Wittgenstein’s extraordinary writing-stratagem. His writing has often been criticised as ‘obscure’—this evinces a fundamental failure to understand the way Wittgenstein writes, especially in those works where he laboured for years over how to present them. In...
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We examine the growing ‘Voluntary Simplicity’ (VS) movement from the perspectives of Utilitarianism, Kantian deontology, and Virtue Ethics. We argue that, from each of these three diverse perspectives, there is a compelling argument to the conclusion that citizens of the ‘developed’ world ought to embrace such simplicity in their own lives, and to...
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In this short case study we critically assess The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) framework in the light of an ecological-relational view of the source of value. This view takes all value to be generated by the whole range of relations between living beings. We show that whilst the TEEB has advantages over some rival frameworks, all...
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This is a Swedish translation of my article 'Climate Change is a White Swan' published in Ikaros. Available to view here: http://www.tidskriftenikaros.fi/utgivet-nummer/2018-2-3-miljopsykologi-medicin/
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Why did Wittgenstein pick a passage from Augustine’s Confessions, rather than one from a better-recognised work featuring centrally in the philosophical canon (or at least, from a more explicitly philosophical/metaphysical work of Augustine’s than the Confessions), in order to open his Philosophical Investigations? And, if he was determined to do s...
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What Kind of Creatures Are We? By Noam Chomsky Columbia University Press: New York, 2016. 167pp., £17 ISBN: 9780231175968 Decoding Chomsky: Science and Revolutionary Politics. By Chris Knight Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 2016. 285 pp., $30 ISBN: 9780300221466 - Rupert Read, Atus Mariqueo-Russell
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There is a widespread (if rarely voiced) assumption, among those who dare to understand the future which climate chaos is likely to yield, that civility will give way and a Hobbesian war of all against all will be unleashed. Thankfully, this assumption is highly questionable. The field of ‘Disaster Studies’, as shown in Rebecca Solnit’s A Paradise...
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This is a reply to: Foster, John. 2017. “On letting go.” Global Discourse. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23269995.2017.1300442.
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A personal-philosophical recollection I knew John for many years: as an impressive author popularizing the confluence between Witt-genstein and psychotherapy, as a fascinating conference speaker and latterly as an interlocutor in the debates about Wittgenstein interpretation (we saw nearly eye-to-eye about Wittgen-stein's 'therapeutic' conception o...
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‘You can’t stop progress’, we are endlessly told. But what is meant by “progress”? What is “progress” toward ? We are rarely told. Human flourishing? And a culture? That would be a good start – but rarely seems a criterion for ‘progress’. (In fact, survival would be a good start…) Rather, ‘progress’ is simply a process, that we are not allowed, app...
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Distributive justice relies on metaphors about spatial distribution. Modelling cross-temporal relations on cross-spatial relations in this way obscures how earlier groups become the later ones. Procedural justice metaphors rely on metaphors of (contemporaneous) contract and thereby on impartial reasoning. Their dominance is already problematic in t...
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Michael Temelini: Wittgenstein and the Study of Politics. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015. Pp. viii, 274.) - Volume 78 Issue 2 - Juliette Harkin, Rupert Read
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In the main bulk of this chapter, I offer a Wittgensteinian take on infinity and deduce from this some Wittgensteinian criticisms of Chomsky on ‘creativity’, treating this as one among many examples of how metaphors, following the understanding of Lakoff and Johnson, following Wittgenstein, can delude one into metaphysics. As per my title, ‘metaphy...
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Distinguishing between the source and the locus of value enables environmental philosophers to consider not only what is of value, but also to try to develop a conception of valuation that is itself ecological. Such a conception must address difficulties caused by the original locational metaphors in which the distinction is framed. This is done by...
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We present a non-naive version of the Precautionary Principle (PP) that allows us to avoid paranoia and paralysis by confining precaution to specific domains and problems. PP is intended to deal with uncertainty and risk in cases where the absence of evidence and the incompleteness of scientific knowledge carries profound implications and in the pr...
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The nature of ‘sustainability’ as an essentially contested concept suggests that the argument between those who would substitute financial for natural capital, and those who believe that such substitution is impossible and/or dangerous, is unlikely to be resolved. Some of those in the latter group, that is to say some of those who have previously a...
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Religions come with risk-managing interdicts and heuristics, and they carry such interdicts and heuristics across generations. We remark on such facets of religion in relation to a propensity among some decision scientists and others to regard practices that they cannot understand as being irrational, biased, and so on.
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An important insight of Fulford’s work – which actually precedes his development of ‘values-based practice’ – is that there is no such thing as ‘value-free’ diagnosis. To characterise a person as having a particular illness is to make a value-laden claim, whether or not people reflect on what the values are that underlie the diagnosis (Fulford, 198...
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There is a wonderful, ironical remark in Wittgenstein’s Culture and Value, which runs as follows: ‘I read: “philosophers are no nearer to the meaning of ‘Reality’ than Plato got … ” What a singular situation. How singular then that Plato has been able to get even as far as he did! Or that we could get nofurther afterwards! Was it because Plato was...
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Extending work of Wittgenstein, Lakoff and Johnson I suggest that it is the (spatial) metaphors we rely on in order to conceptualise time that provide an illusory space for time-travel-talk. For example, in the “Moving Time” spatialisation of time, “objects” move past the agent from the future to the past. The objects all move in the same direction...
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Wittgenstein once remarked: “nobody can truthfully say of himself that he is filth. Because if I do say it, though it can be true in a sense, this is not a truth by which I myself can be penetrated: otherwise I should either have to go mad or change myself.” This has an immediate corollary, previously unnoted: that it may be true that someone is si...
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Discussing the work of Kuhn, Winch and Wittgenstein in relation to fundamental question of methodology, 'Wittgenstein among the Sciences' undertakes an examination of the nature of (natural) science itself, in the light of which a series of successive cases of putatively scientific disciplines are analysed. A novel and significant contribution to s...
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"Beyond an ungreen-economics-based political philosophy" John Rawls's liberalism is the dominant political philosophy of our time. But is it compatible with the values of green economics? I argue in this paper that it is founded on ungreen economics. In particular, Rawls's 'difference principle', which takes inequalities to be just if they benefit...
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Utilitarianism would allow any degree of inequality whatsoever productive of the greatest happiness of the greatest number. But it does not guide political action, because determining what level of inequality would produce the greatest happiness of the greatest number is opaque due to well-known psychological coordination problems. Does Rawlsian li...
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It is no longer socially-acceptable to exhibit prejudice against ethnic minority people on grounds of their ethnicity, women on grounds of their gender, or working-class people on grounds of their class. The last bastions of discrimination are being overcome: such as prejudice against gay and lesbian people, and against disabled people. …Or, is the...
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John Rawls's 'liberal theory of justice,' 'uses an updated 'social contract' model to come up with principles of justice that have been collectively agreed to behind a veil of ignorance. Rawls assumes people are ignorant of their place in society, which prevents narrow self-interest undermining justice. The centerpiece of Rawls's philosophy in subs...
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Caplan’s The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies1 has been received by rave reviews. These reviews appear to have failed to note that Caplan’s book celebrates the market and denigrates democracy at the very time when markets worldwide have failed and democracies have ridden to the rescue. It thus appears to have been und...
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Much has been written on the continuities between Wittgenstein's later work and pragmatism. Many have argued for there being strong continuity. Of those who see such strong continuity there are those who hold Wittgenstein to be the preeminent - even superior - philosopher of the Wittgenstein-pragmatism nexus (e.g. Hilary Putnam), and others who see...
Book
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Addresses differing views on how to understand early Wittgenstein, providing an arena in which the debate between 'strong' resolutists, 'weak' resolutists and 'elucidatory' readers of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus can really take place. Over fifteen years have passed since Cora Diamond and James Conant turned Wittgenstein scholarship upside d...
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‘Political liberalism’ claims to manifest the real meaning of democracy, including crucially the toleration of religion – it is through the history of this toleration that it acquired its current form and power. Political liberalism is however, I argue, more hostile to religion than was ever dreamt possible in the philosophy of avowedly anti-cleric...
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I argue that the type of progress exhibited by philosophy is not that exhibited by science (as analysed e.g. by Thomas Kuhn), but rather is akin to the kind of progress exhibited (say) be someone becoming ‘older and wiser’. However, as actually-existing philosophy has gotten older, it has not always gotten wiser. As an illustration, I consider Rawl...
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I argue that the Philosophical Investigations is a work that in its center-piece (the anti-private-language considerations, often called the private language argument) responds to the great issue of its time: the World War, and the racism and failure of interhuman acknowledgement both underlying and horrifically played out in that war. Seeing a hum...
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In a number of remarks, dating back to the early 1930s, Wittgenstein drew an explicit analogy between his methods of philosophical enquiry and psychotherapy. So, alongside the famous remark from Philosophical Investigations directly on this (see below), we have other remarks from the Big Typescript and from his dictations to Friedrich Waismann for...
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Let me begin soon after the beginning of economics: with money. Money is a concept whose centrality to Economics, especially to conventional Economics, is hard to overestimate: Money is the main means by which economists tend to appeal more easily to an alleged scientificity for their discipline, because it so easily lets them ‘Go forth and quantif...
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This chapter addresses homologies between Wittgenstein's account of philosophical practice in both the Tractatus and the Investigations with accounts of practice in Zen. The chapter argues that both Wittgenstein and such Zen thinkers as Shunryu Suzuki regard philosophy as, at one level, indicating that ordinary practice, ordinary language, and ordi...
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In this chapter, I aim to characterize the extreme aversive emotion of psychotic and quasi-psychotic psychopathology that I will call ‘dread’.

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