Raymond Tallis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Raymond C. Tallis
Born (1946-10-10) 10 October 1946 (age 77)
Alma materKeble College, Oxford
Scientific career
FieldsMedicine, geriatrics, philosophy of mind
InstitutionsUniversity of Manchester

Raymond C. Tallis FMedSci FRCP FRSA (born 10 October 1946)[1] is a philosopher, poet, novelist, cultural critic and a retired medical physician and clinical neuroscientist.[2] Specialising in geriatrics, Tallis served on several UK commissions on medical care of the aged and was an editor or major contributor to two key textbooks in the field, The Clinical Neurology of Old Age and Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology.

Medical career[edit]

Keble College, Oxford

On leaving Liverpool College, Tallis gained an Open Scholarship to Keble College, Oxford, where he completed a degree in animal physiology in 1967. He completed his medical degree in 1970 at the University of Oxford and St Thomas' Hospital in London. From 1996 to 2000, he was Consultant Adviser in Care of the Elderly to the Chief Medical Officer. In 1999–2000, he was Vice-Chairman of the Stroke Task Force of the Advisory Group developing the National Service Framework for Older People. He has been on the Standing Medical Advisory Committee and the Council of the Royal College of Physicians and was secretary of the Joint Specialist Committee of the Royal College on Health Care of the Elderly between 1995 and 2003. He was a member of the Joint Task Force on Partnership in Medicine Taking, established by Alan Milburn, the Secretary of State for Health, in 2001. For three years he was a member of one of the appraisal panels of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence. He retired in 2006 as Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Manchester.[3]

Philosophical works[edit]

Tallis attacked post-structuralism in books such as Not Saussure[4] and Theorrhoea and After,[5] and he contested assumptions of artificial intelligence research in his book Why the Mind is Not a Computer: A Pocket Dictionary on Neuromythology.[6] He denies that our appreciation of art and music can be reduced to scientific terms.[7] His philosophical writings attempt to supply an anthropological account of what is distinctive about human beings. To this end he has written a trilogy of books entitled The Hand;[8] I Am: A Philosophical Inquiry into First-Person Being;[9] and The Knowing Animal.[10] He has also argued extensively about the perceived misuse of scientific language and concepts to explain human experiences.[11]

In 2007 Tallis published Unthinkable Thought: The Enduring Significance of Parmenides. His book The Kingdom of Infinite Space: A Fantastical Journey Around Your Head, which explores the range of activities that go on inside the human head, was published in April 2008.[12] Michelangelo's Finger: An Exploration of Everyday Transcendence was published in 2010.[13]

Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity was published in 2011.[14] In Defence of Wonder and Other Philosophical Reflections, a collection of essays from The Reader and elsewhere, was published in April 2012.[15]

Other work[edit]

Tallis is among the Distinguished Supporters of Humanists UK.[16] Tallis is also a Patron of Dignity in Dying. On 15 September 2010, Tallis, along with 54 other public figures, signed an open letter published in The Guardian, stating their opposition to Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to the UK.[17] In a 2010 interview with author Jesse Horn, Tallis declared that he is an optimistic humanist and an atheist. "Given that I was born a few months after Auschwitz was liberated, it is hardly surprising that I have a strong sense of the evil that humans – individually and collectively – do. My position is that of cautious and chastened optimism, a belief that, if we are ourselves well-treated by others, we will usually treat others reasonably well."[18]


  1. ^ "Birthdays". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media. 10 October 2014. p. 41.
  2. ^ 'Tallis is a medical doctor, author, poet and philosopher', according to the item "Tallis Wins 'Against Stupidity' Award" news article in the September/October 2013 issue of Philosophy Now magazine, accessible at the bottom of the page, here
  3. ^ Andrew Brown "The ardent atheist", – interview with Raymond Tallis in The Guardian, 29 April 2006. Retrieved on 21 July 2007.
  4. ^ Raymond Tallis, Not Saussure: A Critique of Post-Saussurean Literary Theory, Macmillan Press 1988, 2nd ed. 1995.
  5. ^ Raymond Tallis, Theorrhoea and After, Macmillan, 1998
  6. ^ Raymond Tallis, Why the Mind is Not a Computer: A Pocket Dictionary on Neuromythology, Imprint Academic, 2004.
  7. ^ Raymond Tallis, "Neuroscience and the Mystery of Music" – How The Light Gets In, 2 June 2012
  8. ^ Raymond Tallis, The Hand: A philosophical inquiry into human being, Edinburgh University Press, 2003
  9. ^ Raymond Tallis, I Am: A Philosophical Inquiry into First-Person Being, 2004, Edinburgh University Press
  10. ^ Raymond Tallis, The Knowing Animal: A Philosophical Inquiry into Knowledge and Truth, Edinburgh University Press, 2005.
  11. ^ See Thinking Straight About Curved Space by Raymond Tallis, June 2015, here accessed 9 June 2015.
  12. ^ Catherine O'Brien, "Why we kiss, laugh, yawn and cry" – interview with Raymond Tallis in The Times, 25 March 2008.
  13. ^ Tallis R. Michelangelo's Finger: An Exploration of Everyday Transcendence. 2010 (1 Feb), Atlantic Books. ISBN 1-84887-119-8 ISBN 978-1-84887-119-9
  14. ^ Tallis R. Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity. 2011 (30 Jun), Acumen. ISBN 1-84465-272-6 ISBN 978-1-84465-272-3
  15. ^ Tallis R. In Defence of Wonder and Other Philosophical Reflections. 2012 (26 April), Acumen. ISBN 1-84465-525-3 ISBN 978-1-84465-525-0
  16. ^ Humanism.org – distinguished supporters
  17. ^ "Letters: Harsh judgments on the pope and religion". The Guardian. London. 15 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  18. ^ "Chasing Demons". The Mogollon Connection. Retrieved 21 March 2012.

External links[edit]