on 24 March 2011
I was disappointed by this collection of essays by academics with an interest in climbing. Although they all started off on a climbing topic, the subsequent reframing into philosophical concepts typically became rather dull and difficult to follow, quite often general with only seemingly token references to climbing, and with little of the accessibility of - for example - Alain de Botton's or Erling Kagge's books on practical philosophy. The articles generally had the feel of academics writing for other academics. In some cases one is left none the wiser about a particular question, apart from a feeling that the philosophical analyses have thrashed around challenging and undermining conventional assumptions, but have not been able to progress from that to derive helpful or useful practical consequences or recommendations. That of course can be the profile of much philosophic discussion - e.g. "how can we know anything?" - and here this tendency gradually drains the life out of the normally exciting and interesting subject of climbing.