About Duncan Simpson

a Londoner who writes on philosophy, history, politics and theology. Simpson originally trained in the natural sciences before taking up post-graduate studies in philosophy at Birkbeck College London specialising in modern political thought. He has worked in the biotechnology sector for over nine years. Current focus includes the intersection between the history of religion and contemporary current affairs and the legacy of ancient Roman political and legal thought. He maintains the Askesis blog.

Beyond the Circus: The EU Referendum

With the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU less than two weeks away and after a brutal campaign that feels like it’s been going on forever it’s perhaps not surprising that a degree of fatigue is setting in. Indeed the public “debate” has been continually marred by the suspicion that this has more to do with factionalism within the Tory party than any genuine popular will, and the continued spectacle of government ministers tearing strips off each other in public is about as politically engaging as an episode of Jeremy Kyle. Exasperated audience members on Question Time cry “I … Continue reading

Reframing the Present: Secularisation and the Rule of Law

Francisco_de_Goya_-_Escena_de_Inquisición_-_Google_Art_Project

“God is himself law; therefore law is dear to him” Sachsenspiegel (Saxon Law) of Eike von Repgau, Early 13th Century Of all the grand narratives supposedly put to the sword during the era of post-modernity secularisation seems peculiarly resistant. While we are familiar with critiques of Western progress, cultural superiority and ethics, the narrative that would have us believe we in the West live in predominantly irreligious societies, and thus have passed through some process by the name of secularisation remains common wisdom. This idea is implicit in the way we see ourselves and how we frame our dealings with … Continue reading

Agonism and Apocalypse: the Leviathan in William Blake

William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, a poem conceived at the time of the French Revolution, consisting of equal parts prophetic, dialectic, wild fantasy, and political commentary, contains many startling and ambiguous images: angels and devils conversing in space, huge spiders stalking the cosmos, and the famous section titled Proverbs of Hell, many lines of which have passed into popular consciousness. One of the images that is paid less attention, perhaps because it is at once a familiar image both in Blake and apocalyptic literature generally is that of Leviathan; specifically the Leviathan that appears in the phantasmagorical … Continue reading