Browsing Archive: September, 2009

Returning to Edward Gibbon's 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

Posted by Edward Willatt on Tuesday, September 22, 2009, In : Literature and History 

I am currently reading volume 2 of Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.  A very rich commentary on this work has been in progress over at Object-Oriented Philosophy and this prompted me to return to this text after some years.  The refreshing nature of Gibbon’s history, his humour and scepticism, makes it a joy to read.  The influence of Montesquieu is something I recently learnt about and this adds a great deal to my understanding of this ‘philosophi...


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Storing Ideas?

Posted by Edward Willatt on Tuesday, September 22, 2009, In : Libraries 

When considering the current debate over the role of public libraries one is constantly aware of the danger of being a reactionary.  I hear debates on Radio 4 where one side talks about the need for equality and for more inclusive libraries that are less stuffy and provide room for ‘coffee and conversation’.  On the other side the ‘traditionalist’ comes across as out of date or elitist in their concern with silence, musty smells and ambience.  The point is made that people don’t rea...


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Being Inter-Disciplinary

Posted by Edward Willatt on Monday, September 21, 2009, In : Interdisciplinary 
An ongoing and vital debate is touched upon by Robert Eaglestone's review of Alex Danchev's On Art and War and Terror in the Times Higher Education Supplement:

While academics are frequently exhorted to aspire to interdisciplinary work, this often boils down to tacking a discussion of a novel on to a piece of historical writing, or making reference to a few events to contextualise a picture.  Real interdisciplinary work goes on when there is something unique and unifying beyond, or perhaps be...

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Reading Alain Badiou's 'Being and Event'

Posted by Edward Willatt on Monday, September 14, 2009, In : Badiou 

Being and Event is comprehensive and systematic in its engagement with the history of philosophy.  Badiou seeks the void in the work of great philosophers and shows how it is both developed and suppressed in their works - Christopher Norris calls this a 'diagnostic' method for reading philosophical texts in his guide to Being and Event.  In part 1 Plato and Aristotle are the two poles of the debate over fullness and the void.  In part 2 Spinoza appears and is shown to locate the threat of the...


Continue reading ...
 

What is Meta-Philosophy?

Posted by Edward Willatt on Saturday, September 12, 2009, In : Architectonics 
A recent request for information on courses being taught on 'meta-philosophy' on philos-l (the philosopher's mailing list) gave rise to a number of responses.  I found this interesting because of philosophy's singular concern with the foundations of other disciplines but also with its own - this is the job of philosophy if it is concerned with architectonics.  For Kant philosophy must provide an account of knowledge as such (propaedeutic) and then provide an organon of principles for other di...
Continue reading ...
 

New Disciplines, Old Problems

Posted by Edward Willatt on Saturday, September 5, 2009, In : Education 

A debate is going on in the Times Higher Education Supplement over the value of teacher training in Higher Education.  It is a debate that is of course always going on but a letter in response to a recent article is particularly striking.  I have heard teacher training described as ‘self-perpetuating’ by some.  It is a criticism also levelled at management theory and seems to concern disciplines that have emerged relatively recently and whose claims to importance conflict with those of ol...


Continue reading ...
 

Abstraction and Concretion

Posted by Edward Willatt on Thursday, September 3, 2009, In : Abstract and Concrete 

I recently attended a paper and discussion concerned with the teaching of philosophy at which the notion was put forward that philosophy has everything to do with abstraction and the abstract.  This is one of those notions that seems obvious but then suddenly appears to be really a big assumption.  If we consider the work of Gilles Deleuze, in the 1975 book on Kafka that he wrote with Felix Guattari and also in their other joint works, the concrete comes to define philosophy.  One notion or p...


Continue reading ...
 
 

Browsing Archive: September, 2009

Returning to Edward Gibbon's 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

Posted by Edward Willatt on Tuesday, September 22, 2009, In : Literature and History 

I am currently reading volume 2 of Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.  A very rich commentary on this work has been in progress over at Object-Oriented Philosophy and this prompted me to return to this text after some years.  The refreshing nature of Gibbon’s history, his humour and scepticism, makes it a joy to read.  The influence of Montesquieu is something I recently learnt about and this adds a great deal to my understanding of this ‘philosophi...


Continue reading ...
 

Storing Ideas?

Posted by Edward Willatt on Tuesday, September 22, 2009, In : Libraries 

When considering the current debate over the role of public libraries one is constantly aware of the danger of being a reactionary.  I hear debates on Radio 4 where one side talks about the need for equality and for more inclusive libraries that are less stuffy and provide room for ‘coffee and conversation’.  On the other side the ‘traditionalist’ comes across as out of date or elitist in their concern with silence, musty smells and ambience.  The point is made that people don’t rea...


Continue reading ...
 

Being Inter-Disciplinary

Posted by Edward Willatt on Monday, September 21, 2009, In : Interdisciplinary 
An ongoing and vital debate is touched upon by Robert Eaglestone's review of Alex Danchev's On Art and War and Terror in the Times Higher Education Supplement:

While academics are frequently exhorted to aspire to interdisciplinary work, this often boils down to tacking a discussion of a novel on to a piece of historical writing, or making reference to a few events to contextualise a picture.  Real interdisciplinary work goes on when there is something unique and unifying beyond, or perhaps be...

Continue reading ...
 

Reading Alain Badiou's 'Being and Event'

Posted by Edward Willatt on Monday, September 14, 2009, In : Badiou 

Being and Event is comprehensive and systematic in its engagement with the history of philosophy.  Badiou seeks the void in the work of great philosophers and shows how it is both developed and suppressed in their works - Christopher Norris calls this a 'diagnostic' method for reading philosophical texts in his guide to Being and Event.  In part 1 Plato and Aristotle are the two poles of the debate over fullness and the void.  In part 2 Spinoza appears and is shown to locate the threat of the...


Continue reading ...
 

What is Meta-Philosophy?

Posted by Edward Willatt on Saturday, September 12, 2009, In : Architectonics 
A recent request for information on courses being taught on 'meta-philosophy' on philos-l (the philosopher's mailing list) gave rise to a number of responses.  I found this interesting because of philosophy's singular concern with the foundations of other disciplines but also with its own - this is the job of philosophy if it is concerned with architectonics.  For Kant philosophy must provide an account of knowledge as such (propaedeutic) and then provide an organon of principles for other di...
Continue reading ...
 

New Disciplines, Old Problems

Posted by Edward Willatt on Saturday, September 5, 2009, In : Education 

A debate is going on in the Times Higher Education Supplement over the value of teacher training in Higher Education.  It is a debate that is of course always going on but a letter in response to a recent article is particularly striking.  I have heard teacher training described as ‘self-perpetuating’ by some.  It is a criticism also levelled at management theory and seems to concern disciplines that have emerged relatively recently and whose claims to importance conflict with those of ol...


Continue reading ...
 

Abstraction and Concretion

Posted by Edward Willatt on Thursday, September 3, 2009, In : Abstract and Concrete 

I recently attended a paper and discussion concerned with the teaching of philosophy at which the notion was put forward that philosophy has everything to do with abstraction and the abstract.  This is one of those notions that seems obvious but then suddenly appears to be really a big assumption.  If we consider the work of Gilles Deleuze, in the 1975 book on Kafka that he wrote with Felix Guattari and also in their other joint works, the concrete comes to define philosophy.  One notion or p...


Continue reading ...
 
 

 

 
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