Martin Cohen

Personal pages from The Philosopher

Martin Cohen is a British philosopher, an editor and reviewer who writes on philosophy, philosophy of science and political philosophy. He has edited The Philosopher since 1989 and is currently Visititng Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire(UK).

Martin studied philosophy and social science at Sussex University where his tutors included some of the early group of philosophers who launched the University's pioneering language and values programme, including Terry Diffey and Bernard Harrison. He obtained a teaching qualification at Keele University and his PhD in philosophy of education from the University of Exeter. After research posts at universities in Britain and Australia, Cohen moved to France to concentrate on his writing, which typically blend "psychological and social studies with philosophical theory ... eschewing technical jargon and using easily understood scenarios to demonstrate the theme". The first of these, 101 Philosophy Problems has been published in a dozen languages and is now in its third edition. His book on thought experiments, Wittgenstein's Beetle and Other Classic Thought Experiments was selected by The Guardian as one of its 'books of the week' and the Times Literary Supplement said that 'With its sense of history, Wittgenstein's Beetle provides the opportunity to consider which thought experiments last.'

Another element of Martin's style in presenting philosophy is to use simple and unpretentious line drawings both to break up the text (and make it less monolithic) and to illustrate specific issues under discussion, for example the 'Traditional Chinese Problem' of the turtle told to cross a pan of boiling water by balancing on a piece of bamboo.

Martin Cohen has been a frequent contributor and reviewer for the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES), the New Statesman (on environmental issues) and The Guardian (London) (on the role of computers in education) as well as occasional pieces on economics including the obesity issue. His writing frequently blends philosophy and social secince with a good dash of ethics, such as in this social scientific look at food and health, in a 2018 article for The Conversation called 'It’s poverty, not individual choice, that is driving extraordinary obesity levels'

An article in the New York Times (entitled Nuclear Power's Death Somewhat Exaggerated quoted his book on energy policy and ethics to illustrate how business interests can join forces with environmentalists to improve their public image, a point he also explored in an article for the Times Higher (London) entitled 'The Profits of Doom'.

Martin's book Mind Games was selected by France Culture as one of new philosophy books for dissection in the program essai du jour; Paradigm Shift: How Expert Opinions Keep Changing on Life, the Universe and Everything was featured on RTE Radio 1 in Ireland.

Over the years, Martin has given quite a few talks including ones to :
Liverpool University, Stapledon Society: Talk on Thought Experiments: Science or Philosophy?

QUT Brisbane (opening of the Applied Ethics Centre): How Indigenous Rights and Ecological Duties go Hand-in-Hand.

Conference on the Environment: Yunnan Province, China: How Indigenous Rights and Ecological Duties go Hand-in-Hand.

Malmesbury 'Philosophy Town' 2012: Editor's Presentation, for the Centenary of the Philosophical Society of England.

Dublin University 'Metafizz' Society: Great Philosophers and their Star Signs.

The School of Life, Antwerp, Belgium: Presentation: "What do the Personal Lives of the Great Philosophers Reveal about their Writings?".
House of Lords, London, Masterclass on Critical Thinking, (16 March 2017).

His current project is a sociological study of food and health, called 'I Think Therefore I Eat: the world's greatest mindstackle the food question',  to be published by Turner in the U.S. in November 2018. 

For rights inquiries, please contact me direct at twitter: @docmartincohen

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