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About me

About Martin Cohen

Twitter: @docmartincohen

I am an author specializing in popular books in philosophy, social science and politics.

More typical of my work perhaps is 101 Philosophy Problems or Critical Thinking Skills for Dummies or indeed my look at how scientists work - a book called Paradigm Shift. Maybe this last one sounds rather technical but is actually a great deckchair read, taking a look at many perplexed and perplexing issues in life, from religion to science, from food fads to black holes in space.. There's some awful warnings, sure, but also plenty of good news in debunking some of the diet myths - and in the wonders of foods like... chocolate.

Recent books include I Think Therefore I Eat, which I would call a kind of crossover book with a taste of philosophy certainly, and some psychology, but lots of food science. This has led to some popular articles in the press. See https://www.independent.co.uk/author/martin-cohen

In the past I have taught philosophy and social science at a number of universities in the UK and Australia, and I was involved in a research project exploring ways to shift philosophy teaching away from the the mere study of philosophical facts and toward a view of philosophy as an activity. I am currently a visiting research fellow in the philosophy department of the University of Hertfordshire, UK.

I'm also an activist environmentalist, and count stopping a bypass through the Wharfe Valley in Yorkshire as one of my proudest achievements. My contribution included, to be sure, evaluating and in this case dismantling the government arguments for the project. In green circles, Some years back, I wrote a discussion paper on environmental concerns for the European Parliament and separately was invited by the Chinese government to present a paper on ecological rights and indigenous communities. I am sometimes considered rather suspect though for having written an influential series of articles in the Times Higher (London) about the politics of the climate change debate.

As an editor and as a writer, my strategy has always been to allow space for as wide a range of ideas as possible - and I'm always open to articles by non-specialists with unusual and original ideas. If you'd like to suggest an article for me, please do drop me a line - twitter is usually quickest.

p.s. I am currently based in Aquitaine, France, but travel often to the US and UK.



Thanks to Neil Kerber for this great pic. I'm afraid I really DO look like this!

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Playing Mind Games

This is also one of my favorite books, with another wonderful cover by Zolumio (also artist for 101 Philosophy Problems edition 3 and 101 Ethical Dilemmas Edition 2) , and although it didn't have quite the impact of the 101s, it does nonetheless have a very enthusiastic and dare I say, select following across numerous international editions. Indeed, it was translated into French (the French are very picky about ‘their’ philosophy books) and featured on their much-admired station, France Culture. (French speakers can enjoy the show  here . ) The point about Mind Games , and hey, does the title give a clue or does it just sound like the Joh Lennon song? is that it is about how the mind works, and this is a very interesting area and particularly so when approached non-technically and with a philosophical spirit of openness to ‘possibilities’. This is thus, philosophy but with a very different set of experts along with some of the usual philosophical names. There's Fre

Puzzling over Philosophy Problems

When it first came out way back in the last century (sighs) 101 Philosophy Problems was quite an iconoclast. Up to then, the most radical book of philosophy was Bertrand’s Problems of Philosophy , and that book splits the problems into boring categories like logic and epistemology ... So I knew, as a young(ish) philosophy teacher, there was room for a new look at the subject, and 101 PP was it. In time it went on to  sell (I think) about 250 000 copies in about 20 languages. I don’t know for sure as the publisher, Routledge, seemed to think it was a bit vulgar to keep track of things such as sales figures, although they gave me a nice lunch in London! Here's a taste of the book, a problem that up to then had been summed up as a  landmark philosophical problem concerning our understanding of descriptive knowledge situated somewhere the field of epistemology ... but I reinvented as simply the Problem of the Cow in the Field: Farmer Field is concerned about his prize co

Chewing over FOOD!

Readers who know my strong slant towards FRUIT AND VEG in I Think Therefore I Eat, will maybe be puzzled to find me taking on the vegans recently. Nonetheless, that is where I felt the truth of the extraordinarily complex food arguments lies and philosophy takes us where the truth is whether we like it or not! The Observer (London) even accused me of waging ‘culture wars’ and wondered: Is it possible that a combination of well-meaning philanthropists and large agricultural concerns have united to exploit health fears for financial gain, while neglecting the nutritional shortcomings in their recommendations? Anyway, in the event I was delighted to work with the brilliant Frédéric Leroy on this article, which basically follows up a request he received from the influential European Food Agency to raise public awareness about the complexity of food issues and the implicatons of simple ‘one size fits all’ solutions. Our piece kicked off a public information campaign which i