Traveling Light

by Mark English ___ I am in the process of reorienting my life. Over the years I have been caught up, as everybody is, in various projects, commitments, entanglements and responsibilities (or perceived responsibilities). Some of these commitments limited my opportunities for extensive travel, or at least the sort of travel I desired. In recent... Continue Reading →

Thoughts on the Nature of Language and Meaning

by Mark English In 1936 the high-profile publisher and promoter of humanitarian and radical causes, Victor Gollancz, published a little book called Language, Truth and Logic. The author was A. J. (Freddie) Ayer, then in his mid-twenties, an Old Etonian and graduate of the University of Oxford. The work was crisply and provocatively written. It... Continue Reading →

The Curious Persistence of Cold War Thinking

by Mark English ___ Great powers in decline are often more dangerous than rising powers. The leaders of such countries (today's United States?) may be tempted to take drastic action in an attempt to stem perceived decline and restore the status quo ante or simply to distract from domestic problems. Mark English argues that, though... Continue Reading →

Chinese General’s Daughter

by Mark English ____ Mark English recounts some details of the life, character, beliefs and attitudes of a remarkable woman. Her father was a Chinese general and a colleague of Mao Zedong. As a very small child -- during the chaos of the Cultural Revolution -- she was sent to the countryside for a time... Continue Reading →

The Spirit of the Game

by Mark English ____ Though I was not a natural sportsman, forces associated with school and family pushed me into various sporting activities which (as I see even more clearly in retrospect than I did at the time) I endured rather than enjoyed. Back then I pooh-poohed the idea that sports, especially team sports, were... Continue Reading →

These Books Corrupted Me

by Mark English ____ Recent discussions concerning purportedly unacceptable content in children’s books from past decades got me thinking about my own childhood literary encounters. I was not taught to read and write until my first year of formal education and even then (at the advanced age of six), I had misgivings about learning to... Continue Reading →

The Metaphysics of Liberalism

by Mark English I have long felt that there was something problematic about the modern concept of religion, but have only recently started to articulate these concerns and to draw out their potential implications for understanding the rise and decline of Western liberalism. My focus here is a particular tradition of 20th-century liberal thought. As... Continue Reading →

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