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A Christmas card, from a small corner of Cambridge

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From the Fitzwilliam Museum So here we are. I don’t need to tell you that it’s been a troubling year in so many ways. Though as I have said before, compared with too many people, we personally are very fortunately placed — staying healthy (thanks for asking), no small children or very aged relatives to be deeply anxious about, in funds, well-housed, delightful walking on our doorstep (if you have to be locked down in a city, central Cambridge is one of the better options), and indeed with some gently lovely countryside still accessible not many minutes away. Friends and relations are there frequently on Zoom and FaceTime. The thing we miss most is being able to travel, and in particular to meet up in person with The Daughter who lives abroad. The weeks do drag, and the sameness can be enervating. But we mustn’t, and (mostly) don’t, complain. There is, in the circumstances, still much to be grateful for. But there is no question but that it is going to be a long,  long, winter. The last months have certainly concentrated the mind on what really matters. Family and being in closer contact with nature seem to be very high on most people’s list: they certainly have been on ours. Have any philosophers recently been writing particularly well on lockdown themes? I don’t know. But I wouldn’t entirely bet on it, given philosophers’ propensities for daftness of one sort or another. I was struck the other day by David Papineau’s report of Bernard Suits’s pretentious  The Grasshopper (a book I gave up on very quickly): “The overall argument of the book is that in utopia, where humans have all their material needs satisfied at the push of a button, what we would do would be play games, and therefore playing games is the ideal of human activity. Freed from all the necessities of having to do things we don’t want to do in order to get the material means of life, we’d do nothing but play games.” How profoundly silly is that? Not to say philistine.. . .

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News source: Logic Matters

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