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Perceptions of Anscombe's "style" tend to be based on her most influential works (notably "Intention" and "Modern Moral Philosophy"), which can admittedly be frustrating to read and interpret. But not all of her work is like that. "Under a Description", which responds to what she felt were misinterpretations of "Intention", is both readable and clear. And although it is a different kind of work, I find her guide to the "Tractatus" to be very well written, so much so that I think anyone undertaking that kind of project should take a look.

So taken as a whole I think her writing supports the possibility you raise: the best known works are difficult not because of her style, but because of the difficulty in what she was trying to accomplish with them.


Well, is it worth philosophically engaging with the Telegraph? Knowing the readership of this paper (which of course includes many dons who voted against the admission of women at various Oxbridge colleges in the days), I find this offhand condescension towards women in academia not at all surprising...

Eric Schliesser

Well, this obituary was forwarded two philosophy list-servs.
But I don't think of the post above (unlike most others on my new blog--I am glad you found it, Bence!) as philosophical engagement.


Thank you for this. I was very upset when I read the telegraph article. I am wondering whether the author of the original article would react the same way when a prominent male philosopher died who is married to a less well-known female philosopher. I sincerely doubt it.


I think that the contribution made to anyone's work by having a life partner who is able to discuss and occasionally improve it is worth considering.

This headline raises hackles - as, surely, it was intended to do - but if it was framed the other way and dropped the ridiculous "every" and narrow-minded assumption that peoples' life-partners have to be of the opposite sex, then fewer people would be upset.

Consider the headline "Behind many eminent Philosophers stand life-partners (and other supporters) who contribute to their success"

Few people would try to deny or dispute this.

In my opinion it is a fact, and a fact to be celebrated, that achievement is rarely in a vacuum. We should make more of those acknowledged at the front of books or in acceptance speeches, as well as the unknown ranks of muses, tutorial assistants, researchers, squash-partners, willing unpaid editors and typists etc. whether they are male or female. Undoubtedly, without their contributions advances would be slower in coming.

We should also stop this corrosive approach which compares successful partners' achievements with the apparent intention of belittling one or both.

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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