Frank is a retired Engineer. He spent most of his working life in England where he was employed by UK based multi-national companies. He always wanted to write but has only found the freedom to do so since retiring to Ireland in October 2006. Formerly resident in Portlaoise, he now lives with Freda, his wife since 1963, in Stradbally, Co. Laois, Ireland.
To date he has 4 e-books available on Smashwords, 2 novels and 2 collections of poems and short stories.
He writes about people facing the challenges of history: The Norman conquest of Ireland, the dramatic changes in attitudes to sex and sexuality of the 1970s. He is currently researching and writing about the famine that struck Ireland between 1845 and 1852.
Where to find Frank Parker online
by Frank Parker
A soap star, a member of the British Parliament and a forty year old secret feature in this contemporary novel exploring changes in attitudes to sex and sexuality since WWII.
by Frank Parker
She was 14 when her father gave her in marriage to a foreign warrior in return for the restoration of his kingdom. Her daughter would marry a man who served three English kings and ended his life as Regent. What was it like to be Strongbow's wife and, later, his widow? Could she forgive her father or his arch-enemy O'Rourke? What became of her after Strongbow's death?
A Way With Words
by Frank Parker
A collection of short stories and poems, some funny some tragic; some topical some nostalgic; all exploring aspects of the human condition.
Frank Parker's tag cloud
Smashwords book reviews by Frank Parker
Don't Tell Anyone
on March 11, 2013
In a recent blog post on Indiesunlimited (http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2013/03/05/nobody-wants-to-talk-about-that/), Laurie Boris expressed concern about the appeal of the subject matter of this excellent novel. I believe her concern is unwarranted. When I started reading “Don’t Tell Anyone” I had not long finished reading Colm Toibin’s 1999 Booker nominated “The Blackwater Lightship” which centres on a young man dying of AIDs. Not many months earlier I had read Lionel Shriver’s “For What it’s Worth”. As you would expect, each of the three writers has a different approach to the subject of the impending death of a close relative suffering from a debilitating and ultimately fatal illness. What each has in common is a thorough analysis of the impact of such an event on those close to the patient. (This is the first paragraph of a longer review on Goodreads.com (http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2013/03/05/nobody-wants-to-talk-about-that/))
Fifteen Women Philosophers you should have learned about in school (but probably didn’t)
on Nov. 30, 2014
It's a long time since I was in school but I can barely remember learning about any philosophers of either gender back then. If they entered the curriculum it was more for their contribution to fields other than philosophy – mathematics, science, literature. Partly that is because the words “philosopher” and “philosophy” have broader meanings than that implied by the title of this book. My 60+ year old edition of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines philosophy as “Love of wisdom or knowledge” and a philosopher as a “Lover of wisdom”. Cameron's book is more specifically concerned with the study of ethics and morals; of our origins and the meaning of life. In Western societies those subjects traditionally fall into the realm of religious education. Indeed it is only comparatively recently that general education has ceased to be principally the responsibility of religious bodies.
The idea of a person devoting him- or herself to the study of such questions outside the auspices of a Church, Synagogue or Mosque is a very modern concept. Little wonder then, that those who did so in the past, of whatever gender, were often shunned or reviled by their contemporaries. When the ideas they formulated and promoted were at odds with the teachings of Rabbis, Priests and Imams we ought not to be surprised that they have been marginalised by the institutions of orthodox education.
Nor ought we to be surprised that only five of the 15 women covered by this volume practiced their art before 1900 for it is only in the twentieth century that religion ceased to dominate every aspect of our lives. And there are, of course, many whose lives are still tragically constrained by the beliefs of followers of fundamentalist branches of all three of the religions born in the Mediteranian region.
Why, then, should we have learned about these women in school? According to Cameron because “Their work has had impact on politics and how we endeavour to live the best lives we can today.” Her book as an attempt to demonstrate the truth of that statement. For me it succeeds in that endeavour. It made me want to read more about each of these extraordinary women and Cameron offers an extensive list of sources for further reading.
If I have one complaint it is that each of the fifteen essays is frustratingly short. At times the book reads like a set of notes for a fifteen week series of lectures. If Cameron ever presents such a series anyone living close to the venue would be well advised to attend. The rest of us must wait for publication of the full set of lecture transcripts which would make a much larger and, in my humble opinion, far better book.
Big Issues in Ethics – A Philosophical Enquiry
on March 04, 2015
Understanding the Argument.
Janet Cameron is intent on convincing those who believe that philosophy is “airy-fairy stuff”, of no practical use, they are wrong. She does so by explaining how philosophy can help us reach informed conclusions about specific current moral and ethical issues. She examines six from the perspecitive of particular philosophical ideas: animal rights; the desirability of immortality; the pursuit of happiness; the preference in some cultures for sons over daughters; the way language can be used to reduce the emotional impact of a proposition; whether punishment should fit the crime, the perpetrator's background or the needs of the victim.
On the subject of animal rights she turns on the one hand to the philosopher Peter Singer who argued that all sentient beings are capable of suffering and that, therefore, animals have the same right as humans to be protected from suffering. On the other hand are those, like Howard Darmstadter, who argue that the relief of human suffering should take precedence; if the greater good of humankind can be served by the suffering of animals, for example using them for food or in testing pharmaceutical products, then the suffering of the animals is acceptable. Cameron concedes there are complicating factors: doubts about whether animals' really do experience suffering; whether the suffering endured in order to satisfy human needs is worse than the suffering that is part of their lives in nature; whether animal tests to verify the safety of cosmetic products are of a different order to those aimed at finding cures for diseases.
The problem, as Cameron points out, is that philosophers like Singer tend to deal in absolutes, in black and white, rather than the grey that permeates each of these dilemmas. She cites David Hume who argues for human instinct over pure reason when considering such questions. It might seem that this runs counter to her central argument. Because we are free to choose we can dismiss Singer and put our own interests ahead of those of animals, we can follow our hearts and do everything in our power to avoid causing suffering in animals – become vegetarian, refuse to buy products tested on animals – or we can steer a middle way, eating only meat we know has come from farms that treat their animals well. Whichever choice we make, consideration of the philosophies underlying the possibilities will, according to Cameron, help us in that choice.
And so it is with the other dilemmas. She is especially good when considering the use and miss-use of language, including the use of racial insults. The final chapter is an interview with Adam Croom who argues that the effect of the insult depends crucially upon the relationship between the person delivering the insult and the person on the receiving end. Good friends can use all manner of insults between themselves that would, if used in a dispute with an enemy, have a very different impact.
I do have a problem with her discussion of cultural issues, the problem being that culture and philosophy are so closely intertwined. We may pay attention to the teachings of modern philosophers but the core of our beliefs, our moral certainties in Western civilisation, are based on Judeo-Christian teachings. How far should we go in imposing those ideas on other cultures that are based on a different set of moral values? It is here that we come back to the “airy-fairy” nature of philosophy and religion: both are based on belief rather than scientifically observable fact. That does not distract from the value of Cameron's latest offering which will appeal to anyone with an enquiring mind who is perplexed by the complexity of our twenty-first century lives.