I’m about to start a final draft of my PhD thesis on Lewis Carroll as philosophical provocateur, supervised by Iain Grant and Charlotte Alderwick at UWE. At a time when speculation and controversy brewed around what language, logic and mathematics could say about reality, Carroll’s academic interests informed a series of thought-experiments that we see scattered throughout his literary work.
Ever since stumbling across a copy of The Hunting of the Snark and an ancient edition of Carroll’s logic textbook when I was supposed to be revising stuff, at the very last minute, that was actually on the reading list for finals, I’ve been a bit obsessed with the Snark. Alongside its many strangenesses, it has a profoundly metaphysical streak, and that is what I’m digging into.
I also explore what might be going on with sense and nonsense and humour, and the unlikely relationship between comedy and metaphysics. I get to write about koans, Deleuze’s barely readable The Logic of Sense and endless back copies of Mind, which was much better in the late nineteenth century.
I’ve presented at the European Society for Literature and Science and British Society for Literature and Science annual conferences, at London Critical and at many others. I expect to get a few Snark-related papers out as I work on my final draft. Recent Snark piece in Aeon here.
Outside of my doctoral work, I am also interested in the intersections of philosophy, culture and the mind. I’m currently working on a chapter on comedy politics and weaponised illogic for a forthcoming book on the Free Speech Wars.
I recently co-presented a Logic of Sense-themed trip report at the brilliant biennial psychedelic science and culture conference, Breaking Convention, with a version due for publication this summer in their forthcoming book, and there will be more to come on the philosophy of psychedelics. I am collaborating on a chapter to be published in Revisioning Existential Therapy (Routledge, forthcoming) which explores the epistemological uses — and limitations — of the psychedelic experience in making sense of existential and phenomenological frameworks of the mind. I have also co-published on Nietzsche, gender and sexuality-policing on Mumsnet and the RedPill manosphere in Existential Analysis.
I’m slowly putting together a selection of disparate essays about our handle on the mind. It will be about the nature of ceremony and where we find it now, what the philosophy of technology can tell us about the current political trope of the left-behind, the draw of magical thinking, and executive function and the sad passions, among other things. I hope to resume work on this later in the year.