Biography

I studied PPE at Balliol College, Oxford, and the blend of philosophy, politics and economics was perfect for me. I learnt Wittgenstein at the feet of Tony Kenny, Peter Hacker, Gordon Baker and Stephen Mulhall, and took a First. I determined to subject what I had learned (the philosophy of Wittgenstein) to the severest possible challenge, and so I took the rather bold course of turning down a British Academy scholarship and studying for several years at Rutgers University (NJ, USA), where my teachers such as Jerry Fodor and Colin McGinn taught me ‘mainstream’ philosophy of language and mind – but did not sway in the least my conviction that Wittgenstein had revolutionised philosophy, and had in effect pre-emptively dissolved ‘analytical’ philosophy. I pursued and broadened my interest in Wittgenstein by working with James Guetti, Louis Sass, Saul Kripke, Alexander Nehamas, Cora Diamond and others at Rutgers and Princeton, and took my Ph.D in a Wittgensteinian exploration of the relationship between Kripke’s ‘quus’ problem and Nelson Goodman’s ‘grue’ problem. My time in the States also politically radicalised me, as I saw first-hand the dire cultural and ethical consequences of more or less untrammelled capitalism.

I lectured for two years at Manchester, encountering properly for the first time the impressive Wittgenstein-affiliated ethno-methodological critique of sociology. I landed a permanent job at UEA in 1997, where I have stayed for the last two decades, working to grow the philosophy post-grad community, the Department as a whole, and the Wittgensteinian side of the Department in particular. All three goals have been successfully realised. And I have published a very substantial number of books and papers while at UEA, perhaps notably the epoch-marking collection, ‘The New Wittgenstein’. I have developed the new field of ‘film as philosophy’ in my teaching: and my latest book is ‘A film-philosophy of ecology and enlightenment’, with Routledge, out later this year. In recent years I have become increasingly involved in politics, having sat as a Green Party councillor in Norwich from 2004-2011, and having stood for both national parliamentary and European elections. I am also currently chair of the ecological think tank Green House (https://www.greenhousethinktank.org/). I write for the Guardian, the Independent, the New Statesman, Resurgence / The Ecologist, and I appear semi regularly on Radio 3, Radio 4 and the World Service, on programmes such as ‘Free Thinking’.

You can find out more about me and my work at: www.rupertread.net & www.researchgate.net/profile/Rupert_Read

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