Archives for posts with tag: post-grad

The above quote is a line from The IT Crowd, a very funny British comedy series. But it made me laugh because we recently worked on Emmanuel Levinas in my Contemporary Philosophy course. I do not always find myself aligned with his ideas, and actually generally dislike his disposition and writing style. (Another French philosopher, hmf.) If I had to align myself with an ethical philosophy, it would (obviously) be that of Arthur Schopenhauer. I would like to maybe someday compare Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics of Ethics (where the premise is recognizing sameness) with Levinas’ concept of the Other. My lecturer however, objected to this idea (among many others). It wasn’t really a fun module… Nonetheless, I still learnt a great deal.


My university is hosting an event this summer that invites various disciplines to take part.

What is the CULTure of (IN)difference?

“Our dream is to allow artists, musicians, thespians, poets, scholars, and others to engage with and learn from one another.

The nature of the event is in the hands of the participants. We imagine an eclectic coming together of all the Arts in an explosion of creativity and a synergy of ideas.
The event is scheduled for 30th September and 1st October 2011 in the Visual Arts building on Main Campus. We welcome participants and attendance from all disciplines.
Are the Arts simply governed by a trendy elite; a “Cult of In?” Or are the Arts in South Africa meant to articulate political understandings in our “Culture of Difference?” Are South Africans “indifferent” to the Arts for any particular reason, if they are at all?

These and other questions were the motivation behind the title. However, we welcome all interpretations of the event since the organisers were few, and the participants will be many. This is a postgraduate initiative; we aim to give postgraduate students who touch on the arts a space in which to express themselves. However, this by no means excludes everybody else.”

– Extract from the oh so pretty CULT/ure of IN/diffference website, you can interact with users, students and participants by registering online.

“The racist/fundamentalist parents of our students say that in a truly democratic society students should not be forced to read books by such people – black people, Jewish people, homosexual people. They will protest that these books are being jammed down their children’s throats. I cannot see how to reply to this charge without saying something like: ‘There are credentials for admission to our democratic society, credentials which we liberals have been making more stringent by doing our best to excommunicate racists, male chauvinists, homophobes and the like. You have to be educated in order to be a citizen in our society, a participant in our conversation, someone with whom we can envisage merging our horizons. So we are going to go right on trying to discredit you in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable. We are not so inclusivist as to tolerate intolerance such as yours.
– Richard Rorty

A colleague of mine presented a paper on Rorty and Habermas at our post-grad colloquium, and this quote caught my attention. The papers that were presented were all excellent, I spoke on Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics of Morals which was a bit abstract in comparison. But one paper blew us all away, a friend of mine spoke on Nietzsche, Marx and the development of the Blues. I actually managed to listen to the entire presentation (I struggle to concentrate if people just read their papers) the title was: “I asked her for water, but she gave me gasoline.”…What a rock star! He’s gonna do a lot for philosophy someday, I’m sure of it!

My first post-grad module is the history of political philosophy, and my first assignment is on the classics. I’m doing Plato’s Republic. Whilst doing some research I came across a sentence which made me understand why people might avoid speaking to me at parties.

“Thus the philosopher’s pattern of an F simply specifies the features an F must have, or must lack, if it is to be good. It isn’t a blueprint for an actual F, and it certainly isn’t an F of any kind (paradigm or otherwise).”

– Boucher, D & Kelly, P. 2009. Political Thinkers, From Socrates to the Present, Second Edition. New York: Oxford University Press.

No wonder people think philosophers are weird!

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