Guardian blogger Lee Rourke has his say.
Deeply conservative: the 2008 Booker prize shortlist. Photograph: Lefteris Piterakis/AP
Recently, the British philosopher Simon Critchley gave a lecture at the inaugural Speakers' Corner held at the Paradise Row gallery in East London. There's something a little out of the ordinary right there. It's that juxtaposition of the words "British" and "philosopher".
It sits uncomfortably with me. Why is that? Is it because of the way that ever since Hume, British philosophers have headed off down the blind alley of analytical philosophy, the foundation for our current avoidance of anything that might seem esoteric, or – dare I say it – continental? Or is it because we are force-fed something else in its place: a slick, concise, quick-fix philosophising that's grounded in fact and not too time-consuming to read? Whatever it is, I'm positive such inert scepticism governs our philosophical and literary judgment in this country. It's the reason that the recent Booker prize shortlist, which reflects our deeply conservative, philosophy-lite tastes, is such an embarrassing failure.
Read Lee Rourke's full essay at the Guardiian online.