Edmund Griffiths  

E d m u n d   G r i f f i t h s




On this page you’ll find links to some articles as well as a handful of talks, poems, translations, cartoons, computer programs, etc.

Please email me with any queries or commissions.

You may also like to follow @EdmundGriffiths on Twitter.

Recently added

Moderate Labourism: an informal descriptive sketch
in Belief systems and descriptive logic

New mobile icon for the Coptic vocabulary drill web app
in Languages, linguistics, and pseudo-linguistics

‘The Spider’, by Maxim Gorky
in Translation

Towards a Science of Belief Systems

Palgrave Macmillan, 2014 — now in paperback

    “Fascinating... a joy to read”
                — Morning Star

    “Very useful and informative... a significant contribution”
                — Socialist Standard

People believe in a great many things: the New Age and the new atheism, astrology and the Juche Idea, the marginal utility theory and a God in three persons. Yet most of us know almost nothing about why other people believe the things they do—or indeed about how it feels to believe them. This book presents an objective method for understanding and comparing belief systems, irrespective of their subject matter and of whether or not the investigator happens to agree with them. The method, descriptive logic, is illustrated through analyses of various phenomena, including Zoroastrianism, Dawkinsism, Fabianism, 9/11 Truth, ‘alternative’ Egyptology, Gnosticism, flying saucer sightings, and the hymns of Charles Wesley. Special attention is given to beliefs that are not supposed to be wholly believed, and to how descriptive logic relates to the materialist conception of history. The book also outlines a new theory of superstition.

Table of Contents
Introduction. The Idea of a Science of Belief Systems
1. You Don’t Know What It’s Like!
2. A Descriptive Science of Logic
3. Some Notes on Affect
4. Elements of Comparative Method
5. Belief Systems and the Materialist Conception of History
6. Beliefs That Are Not Supposed To Be Wholly Believed
7. A Theory of Superstition, in Thirteen Paragraphs
8. Believing in Fictional Beings
Instead of a Conclusion
Appendix. The Use of Symbolic Notation in Descriptive Logic
Bibliography
Index

Order direct from Palgrave: £16.50 inc. p&p paperback or £12.99 ebook (PDF and EPUB formats)

Translation

Forthcoming in 2017—my translation of Naum Kleiman’s book Eisenstein on Paper: Graphic Works by the Master of Film (Thames & Hudson)

‘The Spider’, by Maxim Gorky

I am available as a freelance translator from Russian into English. Please email me for more information or for a quote.

Belief systems and descriptive logic

Descriptive logic: a summary account

Infrequently questioned answers

What the conspiracy theories aren’t telling you AUDIO
Talk hosted by the Socialist Party of Great Britain, 22 February 2015

Can Aleksandr Dugin be called a religious thinker? AUDIO
Talk at St Antony’s College, Oxford, 1 June 2015

Why doesn’t Robert Temple think the Dogon were ever visited by aliens?

Moderate Labourism: an informal descriptive sketch

Stalini teine tulemine. Uus Vene “patriotism” ja salatõdede otsing
(unauthorized Estonian translation of one of my articles)

Languages, linguistics, and pseudo-linguistics

Some remarks on the etymology of literary Martian

An anonymous translation of the last few lines of the Bacchae

SAL BER YON ROSH: Nikolai Marr and the dream of a new linguistics AUDIO
Talk to the Oxford Communist Corresponding Society, 25 February 2016

Sahidic Coptic vocabulary drill
A web app for learners of Coptic

Politics and socialism

Socialism: Utopian and scientific

Quality and consumerism

Defective and False Opinion Polls Need Scientific Rigour
Morning Star, 18 December 2015

Heritage of Radical Philosophy Under Threat
Morning Star, 19 March 2016

Rough notes towards The Modern Discorsi

Some criteria for assessing how democratic a system is

Seven potential problems with sortition

Factionalism at the centre, confusion in the branches

The transition from elective monarchy to hereditary monarchy

Inaction as a weapon in factional struggles

Aleksandr Prokhanov and Post-Soviet Esotericism

Forthcoming from ibidem-Verlag

Aleksandr Prokhanov (born 1938) is a prizewinning novelist and also, as editor of the weekly newspaper Zavtra, a leading figure in Russian ‘imperial patriotism’. Ever since 1991, when he signed (and reputedly wrote) the manifesto for the failed putsch against Mikhail Gorbachev, he has been an influential voice in Russian political culture—helping to turn the ‘irreconcilable opposition’ of the 1990s towards Empire, grappling with the difficult question of whether to endorse Vladimir Putin as a saviour or expose him as a fraud, and promulgating a bewildering series of ‘conspiracy theories’ in which Russian and international affairs are explained in the most extravagant terms. He has also been a remarkably prolific writer, and the best of his novels are real works of literature, at once muck-raking and lyrical, with Moscow scandal interwoven so tightly with the mystical yearnings of ‘cosmism’ that the reader can hardly prise them apart. The same themes flow backwards and forwards between Prokhanov’s fiction and his non-fiction: world conspiracies, space exploration, the resurrection of the dead, Stalin as a supernatural redeemer–these and other preoccupations recur again and again in his leading articles as well as his novels.
    This book does not seek either to justify Prokhanov or to denounce him: it seeks to understand him as perhaps the most eminent representative of a school of thought that is here defined as ‘post-Soviet esotericism’. Esotericist ideas, some of them strikingly reminiscent of beliefs that flourished in the early Christian centuries, have acquired wide resonance in Russia since the collapse of the USSR. Post-Soviet esotericism thus represents a rare and valuable opportunity to examine a belief system of this nature in the process of its emergence. The book will be of interest to anyone concerned with modern Russian literature or politics, and also more broadly to descriptive logicians and students of negative esotericism.

Bogdánov, Estrella Roja. Prólogo

Introduction to the Spanish translation of Aleksandr Bogdanov’s novel of 1908, Red Star (trans. James and Marian Womack, Madrid: Ediciones Nevsky)

Second edition out now, priced at €13.30

Poems

Neolithic Revolution

Midas

‘Perhaps I should have...’

Utgardaloki

The summer of 1990

My poems are not real poems

Computing

JsSSEM
Emulates the first modern computer, the Manchester SSEM of 1948

Programming degree zero
Machine code programming for the absolute beginner

Just another COBOL program

Reviews

Francis Spufford, Red Plenty PAYWALL
TLS, 1 October 2010

Manifold Greatness
(Bodleian summer exhibition, 2011)

Magical Books. From the Middle Ages to Middle-earth
(Bodleian summer exhibition, 2013)

Kirill Medvedev, It’s No Good PAYWALL
TLS, 18 November 2015

Charles Clover, Black Wind, White Snow PAYWALL
TLS, 29 June 2016

Cartoons

‘Instead of analysing his dreams...’

‘I think I actually preferred it...’

‘Professor French had decided...’

‘They always seemed excited...’

‘Just one more game...’

‘Three hours in, Harold wasn’t sure...’

Contact

You can get in touch with me by email or on Twitter.