Semantron 23 Summer 2023

Editor’s introduction

members of our family and the people we count as friends are imperfect, capable indeed of terrible things, yet we can still love them. There is a sort of moral calculus at work here. With friends and family, we normally like to think that the good outweighs the bad. Dederer, though I don’t think she wants to admit it, is arguing for a similar approach to artists, where the sublime of their art trumps the monstrosity of their behaviour. In the end, then, it appears that Dederer has not quite moved us onto new ground. That said, the book can stand as a welcome invitation to reflect further on this central problem of appreciation. 6 It is also worth noting that, as is so common, the ancient Greeks, in their concept of the hero, were already onto the tragic ambivalence I have been describing. Greek myth and tragedy is full of heroes whose extraordinary qualities of power, resilience and astonishing violence are used to defend and promote a civilization which then in turn finds it cannot accommodate those same qualities. For the Greeks, heroes were always a problem, as well as a solution. 7

It is worth noting that that the following essays were commended in various ways in various competitions, as follows:

• Daniel Kamaluddin ’s essay on Christianity and environmental ethics, and Alex Gerasimchuk’s on philosophy and the environment were awarded first and third places respectively in the inter-schools Erasmus essay competition; • Sujaan Singh Kochhar’s essay on promises in law wa s highly commended in the Peter Cane Legal Reasoning Prize run by Corpus Christi College, Oxford; • Wentao Liu’s essay on inequality saw awarded equal first prize in the inaugural Popper Prize for Year 10 students held at the College; • Calvin Dean’s essay on d esigning a space elevator was highly commended in the Aristotelian Award for Year 9 students organized by the Perse School, Cambridge.

I hope, dear reader, that you will be as impressed and I am by the range and sophistication of the essays contained in this volume of Semantron .


Barthes, R. (1977) Image, Music, Text . London Dederer, C. (2023) Monsters: a fan’s dilemma . Sceptre Eliot, T.S. (1932) Selected Essays . London Foucault, M. (1979) ‘What is an author?’, in Harari, J. ed. Textual Strategies . Ithaca Knox, B. (1964) The Heroic Temper . Cambridge Searle, J. (2005) Mind: a brief introduction . Oxford Vernant, J-P. & Vidal-Naquet, P. (1981) Tragedy and Myth in Ancient Greece. Harvester Wimsatt, W. & Beardsley, M. (1946) ‘The intentional fallacy’, The Sewanee Review 54.3: 468-88 Wimsatt, W. (1954) The Verbal Icon . Kentucky

6 I would argue that a lot of work also needs to be done on the notions of ‘intention’ and ‘intentionality’; on the latter, see, for instance, Searle 2005. 7 The formulation that the hero is a problem is Vernant’s (see Vernant & Vidal -Naquet 1981, ch. 1). A similar view of the Greek hero can be found in Knox 1964.


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