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Roger Williams

Pathways Mentors: Roger Williams

The first philosophy book Roger read was, very fashionably for a teen in the 1970s, the Tao Te Ching, which despite later studying Analytic and Western Philosophy, has continued to be important. Robert Musil's The Man without Qualities was another early influence. He started an economics degree at the London School of Economics, but quickly became disillusioned, as his views differed from his tutors, which guaranteed zero marks. He then decided to study philosophy at Sussex University, which was an inspired choice, it turned out. In philosophy, he found that although he had to keep to the questions, he could give fully honest answers, and the material was fascinating. He went on to specialize in formal logic, analytic philosophy, moral philosophy, Wittgenstein, Saul Kripke and John Searle.

After graduation, he worked in a legal advice centre in Brighton, took another degree in law, and lectured at a technical college. He went on to teach English and translate legal and financial documents in Japan, then returned to the UK and talked his way into the IT business. Recently, several years on, he has done some voluntary work for a university in Thailand.

He's keen to introduce philosophy to new people, and do some original philosophical research work.

Interests

Roger is currently particularly interested in formal logic, and the rationalist classical and enlightenment philosophers.

He has a particular interest in the problems that Russell and Frege encountered when trying to develop a new system of logic to handle universals and existence. Their attempts to deal with terms like 'all' and 'some' and 'exists' has been the only advance in logical theory since Aristotle, but brings new problems of its own.

He is also interested in Hume and Kant's attempts to understand the external world, and the puzzle of its existence and our knowledge of it. He is also interested in those philosophers' search for a basis to morality, as well as the moral philosophy the Stoics, Adam Smith, Wittgenstein and others. Another major area of fascination is the question of consciousness, and the work of Daniel Dennett.

He is also interested in how researchers in psychology and economics intrude into philosophy by attempting to replace it with science. In particular, Robert Frank, Daniel Wegner, Thomas Szasz and George Ainslie have fascinating insights to present on morality and consciousness.