Owen Flanagan

Owen Flanagan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy at Duke University, is the author of Self Expressions: Mind, Morals and the Meaning of Life.

No Talk in Bed: Confucius

Owen Flanagan, 2 April 1998

According to the best estimates, Confucius lived from 551 to 479 BCE. The Analects is the name given to the short book of his wisdom, consisting of proverbs, maxims, memorable advice, short parables and keen observations about how best to live. The text is the result of an editing and compilation process involving two generations of Chinese disciples, and completed around 400 BCE, possibly in the same year that Socrates met his end in Athens. Analects, meaning ‘literary gleanings’ or ‘miscellaneous pieces and passages’, was chosen as the title for this collection of Confucius’ sayings by a 19th-century British translator, James Legge. The title is obscure, but it has stuck. Chichung Huang, in his literal translation, makes a strong case that the original title, Lun Yu, is best translated as Ethical Dialogues. Thinking of it in this way, as a book of ethics, presented mostly in the form of sayings that begin ‘The Master says’ or with questions followed by answers from the Master or one of his disciples, on matters of virtue and vice, moral education, the way of life of the good person, seems just right.‘

I am not a computer

Owen Flanagan, 7 September 1995

Years ago, a colleague of limited intellectual powers accosted me with the charge that I had been telling students that the ‘mind was meat’. This was my colleague’s way of putting things. I then fell for the question which the charge led up to: ‘So you’re a materialist?’ ‘Yes,’ I answered. To which my normally witless interlocutor responded: ‘Pray tell, what is the nature of the material world?’

Marketplace Atheism: The Soul Hypothesis

Stephen Mulhall, 11 September 2003

Nietzsche’s most famous proclamation of the death of God is voiced by a madman, and directed not at believers but at unbelievers, who mock the madman’s claim to be seeking God by the...

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