Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Metaphysics and murder

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 21 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3531
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

Metaphysics, said the philosopher F H Bradley, is the finding of bad reasons for what we believe upon instinct. Nowadays, however, it seems more to be the finding of bad reasons for what we disbelieve on instinct.

In my youth I used to read metaphysics with an excitement that now seems to me strange and that I cannot recapture. Nevertheless, I have returned a little to philosophy, reading it in a desultory fashion according to what books I find in charity or second hand bookshops. Recently, for example, I found Peter Singer’s The Expanding Circle: Ethics and Sociobiology, published in 1981.

Singer is an Australian philosopher (whose mother was a doctor) who sprang to …

View Full Text

Sign in

Log in through your institution

Free trial

Register for a free trial to to receive unlimited access to all content on for 14 days.
Sign up for a free trial