A Terribly Serious Adventure


Author: Nikhil Krishnan
ISBN: 9781800812383
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Profile Books

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Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year 2023
A New York Times ‘Critics’ Pick’ Book of 2023

‘A real achievement’ New Statesman
‘Beautifully portrays – and exemplifies – the combined wit and profundity, exuberance and rigour, of Oxford analytic philosophy’ TLSA Country Life Best Book of 2023

What are the limits of language? How to bring philosophy closer to everyday life? What makes a good human being? These were among the questions that philosophers wrestled with in mid-twentieth-century Britain, a period shadowed by war and the rise of fascism. In response to these events, thinkers such as Gilbert Ryle, J. L. Austin, Elizabeth Anscombe and Iris Murdoch aspired to a new level of watchfulness and self-awareness about language. Being vigilant about their words was their way to keep philosophy true to everyday experience. A Terribly Serious Adventure traces the friendships and the rivalries, the shared preoccupations and the passionate disagreements of Oxford’s most brilliant thinkers.

Nikhil Krishnan brings his knowledge and understanding of philosophy to bear on the lives and intellectual achievements of a large and lively cast of characters. Together, they stood for a compelling moral vision of philosophy that is still with us today.