Stangroom, Jeremy

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Stangroom, Jeremy


Education: London School of Economics, Ph.D. Hobbies and other interests: Computers, travel, running, playing squash.


Office—Butterflies and Wheels, 98 Mulgrave Rd., Sutton, Surrey SM2 6LZ, England. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected].


Writer, Web site designer, and computer programmer.


Prospect magazine book of the year, 2006, for Why Truth Matters.



(Editor, with Julian Baggini) New British Philosophy, Routledge (New York, NY), 2002.

(Editor, with Julian Baggini) What Philosophers Think, Continuum (New York, NY), 2003.

(Editor, with Julian Baggini) Great Thinkers A-Z, Continuum (New York, NY), 2004.

(With Ophelia Benson) The Dictionary of Fashionable Nonsense: A Guide for Edgy People, Souvenir (London, England), 2004.

(Editor) What Scientists Think, Routledge (New York, NY), 2005.

The Great Philosophers, Arcturus (London, England), 2005.

(With Ophelia Benson) Why Truth Matters, Continuum (New York, NY), 2006.

(Editor, with Julian Baggini) What More Philosophers Think, Continuum (New York, NY), 2007.

(With Julian Baggini) Do You Think What You Think You Think? The Ultimate Philosophical Handbook, Plume (New York, NY), 2007.

Little Book of Big Ideas: Philosophy, Chicago Review Press (Chicago, IL), 2007.

Identity Crisis: Against Multiculturalism, Continuum (New York, NY), 2008.

Founder, with Julian Baggini, and new media editor of Philosophers' Magazine, 1997—. Editor, with Ophelia Benson, of Web site Butterflies and Wheels. Editor, with James Garvey, of "Contemporary Social Issues" series for Continuum. Contributor to periodicals.


Jeremy Stangroom's books include profiles of important thinkers in philosophy and science and attempts at debunking what he considers nonsensical thought. His work often aims to make seemingly arcane concepts accessible to general readers. Of What Scientists Think, for instance, he told Scientist magazine contributor Stephen Pincock: "The book should be comprehensible even to people who have no background in science."

What Scientists Think collects Stangroom's interviews with twelve leading scientists of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Some of the interviewees address contentious topics, with Steve Jones discussing Charles Darwin's theories, which remain unaccepted by adherents of some religions, and Colin Blakemore explaining scientific testing on animals. Others in the book include Steven Pinker on evolutionary psychology and Susan Greenfield on consciousness.

Stangroom, being an expert on philosophy, "takes a rather philosophical approach" in the book, Pincock reported, concentrating "on science that relates to the human condition." Pincock added that What Scientists Think "contains interesting material, although much of it is familiar," as the scientists interviewed have often addressed lay audiences. Still, some reviewers saw a need for a book like this one and thought Stangroom had succeeded in his aim of creating an accessible work on major scientists and their ideas. Sara Owen, writing in Nurse Researcher, deemed it "a well written and compact guide for anyone wanting to keep themselves informed about many of the key issues in contemporary science." MBR Bookwatch critic Diane C. Donovan welcomed Stangroom's approach of letting the scientists speak for themselves and remarked that his work "provides much food for thought."

Stangroom's critiques of what he considers irrational thought include two works written with Ophelia Benson, his coeditor on the philosophy Web site Butterflies and Wheels. The Dictionary of Fashionable Nonsense: A Guide for Edgy People challenges the meanings that have become attached to certain words, resulting in what the authors consider misuse: that "natural" almost always has a positive connotation, "judgment" and "hierarchy," negative ones. Stangroom and Benson make their case with humor, resulting in "an excellent contribution to the small but important genre of satirical dictionaries," related Phil Mole in the Skeptical Inquirer.

In Why Truth Matters, the two discuss the position held in some academic and political circles that everything is subjective and that truth is unknowable, so therefore unimportant. Stangroom and Benson take a stand for the possibility and the significance of objective truth. Some reviewers thought their book well-reasoned, with appeal to a broad audience. In an "accessible" fashion, the authors "expose the faulty thinking" present in a range of ideologies, commented a critic for the Reference & Research Book News. Jason Moore, writing in Library Journal, described the work is "superbly engaging" and "well argued." Moore added that while Stangroom and Benson assume the reader has some familiarity with their topic, their clear explanations make the book "easy to follow."



Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October 1, 2006, C.S. Seymour, review of Why Truth Matters, p. 309.

Library Journal, May 1, 2006, Jason Moore, review of Why Truth Matters, p. 89.

Mental Health Practice, December, 2005, Sara Owen, review of What Scientists Think, p. 33.

New Scientist, August 10, 2002, Mike Holderness, "Why Oh Why Oh Why?," p. 51; April 26, 2003, Mike Holderness, "Cry Freedom," p. 53.

New Statesman, May 27, 2002, Nicholas Fearn, "Truth Seekers," p. 52.

Nurse Researcher, September, 2005, Sara Owen, review of What Scientists Think, p. 91.

Publishers Weekly, June 4, 2007, review of Do You Think What You Think You Think? The Ultimate Philosophical Handbook, p. 46.

Reference & Research Book News, November, 2004, review of Great Thinkers A-Z, p. 2; February, 2007, review of Why Truth Matters.

SciTech Book News, March, 2006, review of What Scientists Think.

Scientist, June 20, 2005, Stephen Pincock, "What (Some) Scientists Say," p. 12.

Skeptical Inquirer, May-June, 2005, Phil Mole, "Nonsense in Vogue," p. 56.

Times Literary Supplement, January 31, 2003, Fiona Ellis, "They've Been Framed," p. 32; October 17, 2003, Fiona Ellis, "Therefore They Are," p. 11; January 28, 2005, Toby Lichtig, review of The Dictionary of Fashionable Nonsense: A Guide for Edgy People, p. 33; October 20, 2006, Jack Darach, review of Why Truth Matters, p. 32.

Times Educational Supplement, July 1, 2005, Victoria Neumark, review of What Scientists Think, p. 19.

Times Higher Education Supplement, October 25, 2002, Harry Gensler, "Detached Analysis, Engaged Nihilism," p. 29; December 24, 2004, Laurie Taylor, "The Hip and the Dead," p. 28.


Bookwatch, (December, 2004), review of Great Thinkers A-Z.

Butterflies and Wheels, (September 8, 2007).

California Bookwatch, (January, 2007), review of What Scientists Think.

Jeremy Stangroom Home Page, (September 8, 2007).

MBR Bookwatch, (January, 2006), Diane C. Donovan, review of What Scientists Think.

Philosophers' Magazine, (September 8, 2007).

Why Truth Matters, (September 8, 2007), brief biography.

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