In Defence of Wonder by Raymond Tallis
Daryn Green wonders at Raymond Tallis’s collection.
Professor Raymond Tallis has an excellent prose style, and is highly adept at the essay form, so although one could hardly describe this book as a light read, what difficulties there are stem from the weight of the questions being tackled, not from the style of the writing. Refreshingly, in both content and style Tallis is clearly not one of those who think (or unthinkingly accept) that philosophy is only meant for a minuscule coterie of jargon-toting aficionados. Rather, it’s for all who wonder at their place in the world.
This book is an anthology of pieces, most of which were first published in the Philosophy Now column, ‘Tallis in Wonderland’, while some appeared elsewhere. Tallis covers a huge range of topics here, and in the process invokes a great many disciplines – philosophy, psychology, neurology, linguistics, maths, the natural sciences, medical science, literature – while maintaining the breadth of vision necessary to see the gaps and interdependencies between these fields.