Martin Cohen


Martin Cohen is a well-established author specializing in popular books in philosophy, social science and politics.

He is best known for his two introductions to philosophy, 101 Philosophy Problems (Routledge 1999, 2001, 2007) and 101 Ethical Dilemmas (Routledge 2002/2007) which despite being originally aimed at the academic market, between them have sold over 250,000 copies and been translated into 20 different languages. He also published an "anti-history" of great philosophers, Philosophical Tales (2008) for Blackwell.

His most recent projects include the UK edition of Philosophy for Dummies (Wiley June 2010); Mind Games: 31 days to rediscover your Brain (Blackwell, July 2010) and The Doomsday Machine: The High Price of Nuclear Energy, the World's Most Dangerous Fuel (co-authored with Andrew McKillop). A project with Richard Stanyer developing resources for Philosophy for Children has led to a beautifully illustrated children's book called Milo and the upside-down Goggles. (The project website is http.//

A book on Thought Experiments was well-reviewed despite being entitled (confusingly perhaps!) Wittgenstein's Beetle, (2004) and other more academic books include a mini book on Adam Smith; and a reference guide to philosophy and ethics for Hodder Academic.

Martin now writes full-time, but in the past has taught philosophy and social science at a number of universities in the UK and Australia, and was involved in a research project at Leeds University under George MacDonald Ross exploring ways to shift philosophy teaching away from the the mere study of philosophical facts and toward a view of philosophy as an activity.

A respected environmentalist, he wrote an influential series of articles in the Times Higher (London) about the politics of the climate change debate. He has written discussion papers on environmental concerns for the European Parliament and been invited by the Chinese government to discuss ecological rights and indigenous communities.

[Martin, be creative - include an anecdote - website editor]

Martin's PhD is actually in computers and education - not 'pure philosophy' - a fact that has often led to him being sneered at in philosophy circles, and the most-important-job-that-he-never-got was to be head of the UK's quango responsible for implanting information technology into schools.. He was invited to the organisation's headquarters for interview with a shortlist of one - and asked his research influenced his view of the use of computers in school. Naturally the questioners expected him to paint a very rosy picture, but being not only honest but a little contrarian, Martin instead described how in school after school that he had visited, he had seen computers reducing creativity, stifling learning and generally being very badly used.The moral of the tale? Honesty is rarely the best policy.

He is also the editor of THE PHILOSOPHER, a journal founded in 1923, which counts some of the best known names in Twentieth Century philosophy amongst its contributors. His editorial strategy is to allow as wide a range of ideas as possible a forum in the Journal, and this often prints papers by non-specialists with unusual and original ideas. He is currently based in Normandy, France, but travels often to the US and UK.

Smashwords Interview

Describe your desk
My desk is always full of objects. I mean 'things' - not paper, pens and stuff like that. At the moment, I have a broken down diesel model train, five handmade glass doorhandles (thanks Liam!) and a rather nice woven cloth I found on my travels somewhere in the Far East.

They say that your desk reflects the contents of your mind. A disorganised desk reflects a disorganised mind. Tut tut, then for me. Hurrumph! Who is the judge!
What's the story behind your latest book?
My last book (How to Live: Wise and not so wise advice from the Great Philosophers) is a bit of a departure for me. It is not really very educational, more just for pleasure.

I think I've got tired of trying to 'make sense' of things, and now I am just chatting to what I hope will be people with shared interests and yes, values. So this book is sort of philosophy as it might crop up in conversation - maybe it IS trivia, but what's wrong with that? What to eat for dinner? Were the great philosophers great lovers - or just great hypocrites? Why are there so many films quoting Nietzsche?

After all, as the old saying goes, it is often the little things that are most important.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Martin Cohen online

Where to buy in print


Milo and the Upside-Down Goggles
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 20. Language: English. Published: March 3, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Concepts / General
This fun and original book, inspired by a philosophical mind-game, will stimulate and amuse children and grown ups alike. 'Milo and the Upside-Down Goggles' is the first in a series of books for children by the bestselling author Martin Cohen and celebrated French artist Judith Zolumio, all inspired by philosophical problems and paradoxes.

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