Forty years ago, in the heyday of Oxford philosophy, two postgraduate students, Julius Kovesi and Anthony Kenny, edited a satirical philosophical journal called Why? Kovesi was a Hungarian exile at Balliol College; Kenny had recently migrated from the Gregorian University in Rome to St Benet's Hall. Both, from different backgrounds, found the prevailing philosophy congenial and went on to become academic professionals in the analytical tradition. But both felt that it took itself too seriously, and in the pages of Why? they made fun of it and encouraged others to do so.
Circulated in a villainously typed, cyclostyled and stapled, samizdat-style form Why? quickly became a cult publication. Some senior Oxford philosophers joined in the sport; of the two giants of the time Gilbert Ryle applauded, but John Austin was not amused. The ordinary-language philosophy of the nineteen fifties is no longer in fashion; but philosophical topics are perennial and the jokes in Why? have remained surprisingly fresh.
In this collection, selected by Janet Kovesi Watt, the best articles are reprinted to entertain a new generation of students and amateurs of philosophy.
Available from Green Bay publications.
Free with every copy, a game-board for playing Snakes and Ladders in the philosophical mode.
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