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July 10 , 2010

Epimethean Imaginings

Philosophical and Other Meditations on Everyday Light


These essays, written in the spirit of Goethe’s Epimetheus who "traces the quick deed to the dim realm of form-combining possibilities", display the depth and breadth of Tallis’s fascination with our lives. Whether discussing philosophical "hardy perennials" like time, or a mundane artefact like ink, Tallis challenges us to think differently about who we are and why we are.

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The first part of the book – Analysis – dives into the deep-end to explore some of the big questions in philosophy: perception, knowledge and belief; time; the relationship between mathematics and reality; and probability and causation. The middle section – Tetchy Interludes – takes a wry look at some aspects of contemporary art; stupidity (including the author’s own); and Christmas. The third part – Celebration – is more experimental in both its subject matter and treatment. It celebrates the complexity of ordinary, everyday consciousness by contemplating the miracle of speech, artefacts that have transformed our lives (and what they reveal about our cognition) such as the wheel, the sail, and ink; and ‘snapshots’ of the author’s own consciousness on an ordinary day, of past consciousness, as captured in historical memory.

Notwithstanding their diversity in theme and style, these essays share the common aim of discovering and celebrating the submerged riches in the "quick deeds" of our everyday lives and perceptions.

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