Stephen Mulhall

Stephen Mulhall teaches philosophy at New College, Oxford.

Derek Parfit was what is sometimes tactfully called a philosopher’s philosopher. He held no brief for philosophy as a spiritual exercise, and had no interest in contributing to conversations about morality and politics outside the seminar room. He gave no media interviews, wrote no op-ed pieces for newspapers or websites, and had no social media presence of any kind.

How complex is a lemon? Object-Oriented Ontology

Stephen Mulhall, 27 September 2018

Early on​ in his Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein imagines an interlocutor who claims that every word in language signifies something – where ‘signifies’ means something like ‘names an object’. Wittgenstein gives an indirect assessment of that claim by discussing a second, analogous one. He imagines someone saying: ‘All tools modify...

Although this is a work of art theory, its primary concern is not with beauty, or aesthetic value more generally, but rather with the nature of pictorial representation. After all, before we can judge whether a representational painting achieves aesthetic excellence in the way it depicts something, we must first perceive what it depicts. And John Hyman is interested in how depiction is even...

Not to Worry: the Stoic life

Stephen Mulhall, 21 September 2006

Why should we take anything other than an antiquarian interest in the doctrinal intricacies of a school of Ancient Greek ethical thought that passed its zenith in 200 AD? The dust-jacket copy on Tad Brennan’s book claims that it will explain not only how to live the Stoic life, but also why we might want to, the reason being that Stoic ideas remain valuable today, both intellectually...

God without God: How we can ground our values?

Stephen Mulhall, 22 September 2005

When Nietzsche’s madman tries to proclaim that God is dead, he soon realises that his intervention is premature. Although his audience already think of themselves as atheists, the madman sees that they don’t really understand what that means; self-comprehension is still on its way to them, like light from a remote star. Nowadays, many philosophers who take this aspect of...

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