Jim Holt (philosopher)

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Jim Holt (born 1954) is an American journalist, author in popular science and essayist. He has contributed to The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The American Scholar, and Slate. In 1997, he was editor of The New Leader, a political magazine. His book Why Does the World Exist? was a NYTimes bestseller for 2013.


Holt hosted a weekly radio spot on BBC Wales called "Living in America, with Jim Holt" for ten years. He has appeared on William F. Buckley's Firing Line, NBC News with Tom Brokaw, CNN, and had a brief appearance in an episode of Billy on the Street in which he ended an impromptu interview after the interviewer insisted he reveal his sexuality.


Holt attracted controversy while chairing the "Pondering the Imponderable: The Biggest Questions of Cosmology" panel at the 2017 World Science Festival. He spoke over the only female member of the panel, Veronika Hubeny, as she attempted to answer his questions,[1][2][3] leading some to accuse Holt of mansplaining. Hubeny later downplayed the impact of sexism in science and encouraged women to pursue their scientific interests in spite of it.[4][5]

Awards and honors[edit]


  • Stop Me If You've Heard This: A History and Philosophy of Jokes New York: W.W. Norton, 2008. ISBN 9780393066739, OCLC 181139422
  • Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story London: Profile, 2011. ISBN 9781846682445, OCLC 749995335[7][8][9][10]
  • When Einstein Walked With Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2018. ISBN 9780374146702, OCLC 1033594308


  1. ^ Timmins, Beth (June 13, 2017). "Woman Calls Out Male Author For Speaking Over Female Physicist At World Science Festival". The Independent. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  2. ^ Herreria, Carla (June 9, 2017). "A Male Host Interrupted A Female Physicist So Much The Audience Intervened". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  3. ^ Elizabeth, De. "This Mansplaining Science Panel Moderator Will Make You Want to Scream". Teen Vogue. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  4. ^ Bonazzo, John (June 6, 2017). "A Physics Expert Had Her Own Theories Mansplained Onstage—Until One Person Stood Up". New York Observer. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  5. ^ "Academic 'Mansplaining' 101 | Inside Higher Ed". Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  6. ^ John Williams (January 14, 2012). "National Book Critics Circle Names 2012 Award Finalists". New York Times. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
  7. ^ Christensen, Lauren. "Philosopher Jim Holt on Nothingness, the God Wars, and His New Book: "I'm a Little Unhinged"". Vanity Fair. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Bakewell, Sarah. "'Why Does the World Exist?' by Jim Holt". Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  9. ^ "Why Does the World Exist?: Jim Holt's "Existential Detective Story" – Los Angeles Review of Books". Los Angeles Review of Books (in American English). Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  10. ^ Rosenbaum, Ron (July 23, 2012). "Has the Meaning of Nothing Changed?". Slate (in American English). ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved August 5, 2018.

External links[edit]