Everyday Philosophy: Derek Parfit, Star Trek and the self

Nigel Warburton in The New European:

Philosophers can be quirky. Take Ludwig Wittgenstein. His rooms in Cambridge were bare except for two deck chairs, a camp bed, and sets of identical clothes in a wardrobe. When asked what he wanted to eat, he said he didn’t care just so long as it was the same thing every day. He refused to lunch at high table in Trinity College, not wanting to set himself literally above other people. But then he had a special table made at the same height as that of the students so he could sit alone.

The far less famous Oxford philosopher Derek Parfit, who died at the beginning of 2017, was even quirkier than Wittgenstein as readers of David Edmonds’ very readable biography published by Princeton University Press last week will appreciate.

By always wearing grey trousers, a white shirt, and a red tie, he avoided wasting time thinking about what to wear. He cleaned his teeth obsessively for over an hour a day, reading all the time.

More here.