Monday, 26 September 2016


In Saturday's Guardian Review, Carlo Rovelli writes an essay on the meaning of Brexit and its philosophy, spinning off from the importance of philosophy to science. He begins:  

       A few months ago, I was asked to give a lecture on the usefulness of philosophy while in the UK. The lecture followed a wave of hostility towards philosophy from well-known physicists...While I was working on my lecture, I came across an astonishing unpublished text. It turned out that this issue had been discussed at length by a young man who was, without doubt, better at it than I could ever be: Aristotle.

This raised two questions. I was curious about exactly in what sense Aristotle's dialogue 'Protrepticus' had been unpublished for 24 centuries before Rovelli came across it. But more importantly, I wondered how Aristotle, in the fourth century BC, could have possibly conceived, much less discussed, the issue of the 'usefulness of philosophy while in the UK', given that the UK would not exist for roughly 2,000 years, more or less. 

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