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About me

Talking at the Institute of Art and Ideas festival at Hay-en-Wye in 2023

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

In the past I have taught philosophy and social science at a number of universities in the UK (Leeds and York), France (University of Pau) and Australia (QUT), and I was involved in a research project at Leeds 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'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!

Popular posts from this blog

Rethinking Thinking

By Martin Cohen I’ve been thinking  lot about thinking a lot! This book is pretty much a summary of my thoughts over thirty years… Tip One , via Sun Tzu’s classic text,  The Art of War , is don’t do things the clever way, nor even  the smart way: do them the easy way. Because it doesn’t matter what you’re wondering about, or researching or doing - someone else has probably solved the problem for you already. Google it, get the book, find the answer. Tip Two is to avoid ‘black and white’ thinking, binary distinctions, ‘yes/no’ language and questions, and instead take the tip from ‘design thinking’ that approaches rooted in notions of questions and answers are themselves limiting insight and that it is sometimes better to go for narratives. Tip Three , which, yes, is connected to the previous tips, and that’s a good thing too,  is to look for the pattern in the data. However, there’s a caution that has to come with advice to  pattern match, because as we become attentive to some characte

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

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