Peter B Lloyd

Freelance writer, with particular interests in the philosophy of mind and graphic design. Teacher of English as a second language, lecturer, and language usage consultant. Based in London, England.

This web site contains a number of essays, and details of my published writings - including with my new book, the first instalment of my multi-volume history of the New York City subway map, being published in December 2012.

Profile photo by Christoph Mueller.

Seminar series: Science and NonDuality

A series of twelve, mostly weekly seminars, commencing 20th & 27th June 2013. 6:30 pm for 7 pm start: one-hour presentation by Peter B Lloyd and two hours of debate.
£7 entry. All welcome. Book here:
The Bertrand Russell Room, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, WC1R 4RL
Five minutes walk north-east from Holborn Underground Station.

These seminars examine the question of what consciousness is, what its relationship is to the brain. This is the well-known Cartesian Mind-Body Problem. We will then examine 'mental monist' theories that offer radical solutions to break the impasse that has locked down the Cartesian problem for three centuries. First, George Berkeley's 18th Century theory of 'subjective idealism', and then Shankara's 8th Century system of Vedanta, which provides a deeper theoretical underpinning than Berkeley's, but is less accessible to Western readers.

These are diffcult topics, not so much because of technical details, but because of the sheer strangeness of the concepts in relation to conventional Western thinking. Each seminar will therefore consist of about 45 minutes of illustrated presentation on one of the points, followed by up to two hours of discussion in which we try to get a firm grip on the ideas, and maybe reach some conclusions.

The emphasis is on understanding this philosophical battefield: What exactly are the problems? What are the main options? What are the pros and cons of the different proposed approaches? I will also, of course, be presenting my own conclusions about this philosophical problem. At the end, I hope you will at least have a clearer view of what the problem is, and the ramifications of different solutions.

Some questions to start with ...

What are you?
A lump of matter? A meat-machine? Are all your thoughts just tiny electrical impulses flickering around brain tissue in accordance with the laws of physics? Seriously?
What is your conscious mind?
And all the ineffable qualities of the colours you see, the tastes of bread and wine, the smell of freshly mown grass, the sensual touch of massage, the feel of being tickled: these are all -- what? Illusions produced by your brain tissue? And these ‘illusions’ are -- what? Real illusions that you actually experience, or illusory illusions? Seriously?
What is physicalism?
Physicalism is a philosophical theory, which holds that you and I are nothing but tangible stuff. Yet you know from direct experience that you are something more. But the alternative theory is -- what? That we have a supernatural soul? A ghost in the machine? A magical life-force? Consciousness?
If not physicalism then -- what?
Let’s talk about it, because you’re not going to like the answer.

Latest Book: "Vignelli: Transit Maps"

Vignelli: Transit Maps by Peter B. Lloyd, in collaboration with Mark Ovenden
Published by RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press,
Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, USA
ISBN 978-1-933360-62-1, December 2012
128 pp, 9"x12", richly illustrated in colour
US$34.99 (10% pre-pub. discount promo. code "Fall2012")
Purchase here:

The first in-depth study of Massimo Vignelli’s contribution to the design of transit maps.

The eminent designer Massimo Vignelli is well known for half a century of leading-edge design work with his wife, Lella Vignelli. Among his high-visibility creations are the logotypes for Bloomingdales and American Airlines.

In 1972, Vignelli designed a striking new map for the New York City subway, which became immensely popular but also highly controversial. After seven years, it was replaced by a map in the geographic style, which the Transit Authority used as their standard for the next three decades. In 2008 and 2011, however, Vignelli’s team reworked the map, which was then adopted on the MTA’s web site.

This is the first in-depth study of Massimo Vignelli’s contribution to transit maps, which examines in detail both the creation of the original 1972 map, and its re-creation in 2008 and 2011. The book also covers Vignelli’s designs for the maps of the Metro in Washington, DC, and the RER in Paris. It includes previously unpublished materials from the Vignelli Archives.

"For a long time New York communication culture has been afflicted by a fragmentation disease, where verbal rather than visual information has had the priority. When I had the assign¬ment of designing the New York subway map, that was the situation: fragmentation. In any case the map was done and it turned out to be beautiful but nevertheless short-lived. In 1979 it was replaced, and this book investigates its history, revealing interesting details about its demise. This book is also an oppor¬tun¬ity to celebrate the work done a long time ago by my collabo¬rators at Unimark and that done by my associates more recently." Massimo Vignelli, Vignelli Associates

"In Peter Lloyd’s thoroughly documented book, he uncovers the history of the Vignelli map and of the people who created and promoted this New York icon–as well as the people who hastened its demise. He explores in fascinating detail Vignelli’s dealings with the MTA when he was a principal at Unimark, the prestigious international design agency that won the commission to redesign the subway system signage and map. This book’s profiles of the diverse players, illuminating their contributions and conflicting philosophies, is invaluable for students of information design. Lloyd shows, for the first time, early development sketches of the famed map and of its recent successors. Rarely seen and graphically intriguing map studies, created by Unimark for the then brand-new Washington, DC, Metro are a valuable addition as well." Eddie Jabbour, Kick Design, Inc


Essays and papers





All material in this web site copyright © 2012 Peter B Lloyd.