Gulliver’s Travels (Jonathan Swift)

Swift’s (not-so-veiled) allusions to English liturgical troubles and the civil war are quite interesting.  Gulliver himself isn’t a particularly admirable character, as he often leaves his family. At first it was simply because he was a ship’s captain.  But methinks as time went on he wanted to stay on his travels and not go back to his family.

Swift is a good and funny writer, yet this really isn’t it. His essay on eating Irish children was funny.  This had occasional glimpses of wit but never enough. It is also quite crude in spots.

His comments on Lilliput are fairly well-known.

His satire of Laputa is probably most apt for today.  It shows what a scientific community left to its own would do.  The experiments are stupid, admittedly, but they are quite rational.  The brain transplant is actually a standard discussion in philosophy of mind and while Swift might not have intended this, it shows why physicalism is false.

I thought the description of the Houyhnhmns was far-fetched.  It sounded much like Rousseau’s rot. Sure, humans have done bad stuff, but it doesn’t follow that the state of nature is purer.

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One thought on “Gulliver’s Travels (Jonathan Swift)

  1. Pingback: Politically Incorrect Guide to English Literature | Architecture of the Mind

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