This blog gathers together resources relating to Irish philosophy from around the net. It is edited by C. M. Barry.
Defining what Irish philosophy is complex. As a first approximation, the term includes everyone mentioned in the Dictionary of Irish Philosophers. If Thomas Duddy, David Berman and M. A. Steward have already thrashed this out, why re-invent the wheel? I’m also including those listed in A History of Irish Thought.
As Thomas Duddy points out in his History of Irish Thought, an imperially nationalistic definition of “Irish” is not possible. Any definition has to be inclusive, reflecting the “conflicting vocabularies and shattered frameworks, sporadically and irregularly exploited by gifted individuals” (xii). Even Eriugena did his work abroad, in the court of Charles the Bald. The history of Irish philosophy has been peripatetic ever since.
The Logo: why a fish?
The salmon was a symbol of wisdom and knowledge in Irish myth. The Fiannaidheacht (Fenian cycle of stories) include a tale where Fionn mac Cumhaill (anglicised to Finn McCool) was set by his master, the druid Finnegas to catch the salmon of knowledge who lived in a pool on the Boyne. Whoever ate the salmon would gain all the world’s knowledge. Finn caught the fish and was set to cook it for his master. However Finn burned his thumb on the fish and instinctively put the thumb into his mouth, swallowing a tiny piece of fish, and gaining the knowledge.
The image is based on a drawing in a manuscript (Royal MS 13 B VIII, c. 1196-1223) in the British Library. The manuscript is a copy of Gerald of Wales’ Topography of Ireland (pdf), with other works of his, dedicated to King Henry II. Read more in the blog post here, which includes the original image of a salmon leaping on which the logo is based.
Articles are by C.M. Barry, unless attributed to a guest author, who will be named at the top of the piece. This is a site intended for public information rather than academic research so may be silently updated. It is recommended that blog posts to be referenced are saved on Archive.org to ensure continuity of referencing.