Welcome !

This website contains a selection of Henry Thompson’s (1937 --     ) writings.  Among other things, I write here on philosophical topics.  The writings on this website are arranged in categories.  I invite you to select, from the sidebar or top bar, a category or image of interest.  This will take you to a list of items, in the selected category, available on the website.  If you wish, select any item from the list.  The item will open for reading, etc.  I also invite you to contact me with questions, comments, suggestions, support, rebuttals and/or whatever is on your mind.


Writing in the fall of 2011, I’m in my fourth year of teaching philosophy courses for Elderhostel’s Lifelong Learning Institute at Charlestown (ELLIC). I have offered five different courses at Charlestown so far. For access to some of the material used in these courses select the image to the left. When I chose the Harmony of Creatures image, I was thinking of a certain philosophy of goodwill, a philosophy I promote in all my courses. In January of 2012 I’m scheduled to repeat my “Philosophy and Jane Austen’s Persuasion” course.

Short Stories and Plays

The vast majority of my writing to this point, fall 2011, has been nonfiction. I am basically a nonfiction writer. But I have written some fiction. In my short story, Grow Up, Eddie, I aim for realism. In other stories, such as Honey Gets His Comeuppance, my goal is comedy. Similarly, in Not Really, my only play, musical comedy is what I’m trying to present. When I selected the image, The Progress of Love, I was thinking about Jenny and Hal, the main characters in the play.


This is a selection of more than twenty essays. Several of the essays are obviously on philosophical topics. But all of my essays are philosophical in intent. That is, my essays often promote a certain values orientation. My own values orientation has changed considerably over the years from left-leaning to right-leaning and back again. In this regard, some of my essays promote a conservative position that I no longer hold. At the time of writing, fall 2011, I find myself comfortably left-of-center. The Tree of Life image is intended to bring to mind the notion of human growth and development.

Book Reviews

Most of my book reviews were presented at Charlestown Retirement Community. I offer here a selection of these reviews, on fiction and nonfiction. Some of my reviews are intended to be entertaining. For example, I present some of the poetry of Robert Service, the wonderfully entertaining bard of the Yukon. Other reviews have a serious philosophical intent. For example, when I question, in my review of Willa Cather’s A Lost Lady, what I take to be, Capt. Forrester’s horrible treatment of his wife, Marian, when he loses his fortune. The image, Vom Winde Verweht, is intended to remind the reader of Margaret Mitchell’s story Gone With the Wind.


Most of my cartoons are insider cartoons, drawn for the residents and staff of Charlestown Retirement Community. The cartoons are about imagined telephone interaction with Charlestown’s in-house Community Television Station, which in 1996 when the cartoons were drawn was known as Channel 6. Most of these cartoons were published in The Charlestown Times.


This is mostly a selection of poetry articles I wrote in 1996/97 for The Charlestown Times. At this time I was coordinator of the Charlestown Poets’ Corner, a group of residents who meet monthly for poetry presentations. I have fond memories from these years of Roland Flint, Nelda Creagh, Peggy Plonk, Phyllis Rowe, Bill Rowe, Thelma Henry, Faith Logan, Bob Richards, Diane Scharper, Marlene Morrisey, Harriett Fisk and Jean Armstrong. I make special mention of resident Phyllis Rowe, the coordinator of the Poets’ corner since 1997 and still, in the fall of 2011, going strong. In the image a poet is looking for inspiration. Near him sits his wife, surprised by a milkmaid who demands payment.


I have selected only one correspondent in this category, namely, fellow resident Norman Henley. Norman is a Harvard Ph.D. and Prof. Emeritus of the Johns Hopkins University English Dept. Here I include correspondence on plays, (translated and edited with an introduction by Norman) by Alexander Ostrovsky; my essay entitled, Love; my essay Levin’s Choice; comments on Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov; and my essay Why Be Moral?. When I look at Pissarro’s image, I entertain the hope that the interlocutors—when they grow up—will have conversations as interesting and helpful as I had with Norman.


In January of 1996 the first monthly issue of The Charlestown Times, A Publication By and For the Residents of Charlestown Retirement Community was published. The editor was staffer Tim Bracken. I, along with fellow residents Jean Armstrong, Annette Burrier, Bill Engel, Mary Fuller, Laura Kestle, Eleanor Mansolillo, James Merritt, Phyllis Rowe, and Shirlee Stern, was a Resident Reporter. I recall writing a front-page story, Resident Resolutions for a New Year, for the first issue. Select the image on the left for a list of miscellaneous pieces, including this one. The image is intended to invoke the notion of a marketplace of ideas.