View Full Version : Sophie's World and UK Skeptics
15th October 2005, 02:49 AM
Hello! Has anyone read Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy? The reason I ask is that, towards the end of the story, the author records that - years ago, a skeptics group in England had a challenge similar to the JREF Challenge. Can anyone verify this for me? (Sophie's World... was first published in 1994.)
15th October 2005, 05:12 AM
Yes - it's used as a first year textbook for many intro Philosophy classes here and I've used it in a Year 10 Philosophy class. The part you're referring to is where the author discusses Freud... page 469 of the Farrar, Straus and Giroux edition.
'...In any case, it's healthier to approach such books with a decent proportion of skepticism. Not least if one is a philosopher. There is an association in England for skeptics. Many years ago they offered a large reward to the first person who could provide even the slightest proof of something supernatural. It didn't need to be a great miracle, a tiny example of telepathy would do. So far, nobody has come forward.'
Perhaps being by a Norwegian author, he was more familiar with the British skeptical movement than the American? At any rate, http://www.skeptic.org.uk/ might be a good place to start looking as they appear to be one of the oldest groups out in the UK... their magazine only seems to start around 1987, however. Maybe their webmaster could help?
I like that the quote I just cited is followed soon after by: 'All true philosophers should keep their eyes open... and one day, even a skeptic like me could be obliged to accept a phenomeon I did not believe in before. If I did not keep this possibility open I would be dogmatic and not a true philosopher.' :)
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