By Heaven, I’ll Know Thy Thoughts

I realise to my surprise that I never got around to posting my APS paper “Shakespeare, Godwin, Kafka, and the Political Problem of Other Minds.” Okay, now I have.

Othello & Iago

Here’s the abstract:

Colin McGinn maintains that Othello is about the problem of other minds. But Othello’s version of the problem – the inaccessibility of particular others in particular respects, not of other minds per se – might seem to lack the generality needed to count as philosophical. Drawing on examples from Othello, Caleb Williams, and Amerika, I argue that Othello’s problem, while distinct from the traditional problem of other minds, is indeed a genuine philosophical problem, but one produced and sustained by alterable features of human society (specifically, race, gender, and class distinctions) rather than by unalterable features of cognition as such.

And speaking of Shakespeare, check out this neglected masterpiece.

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