Friday, May 21, 2010

Middlesex to The Stone

A new occupation at Trent Park Posted on 20 May 2010
This evening around 50 students and staff from half a dozen different programmes at Middlesex University’s School of Arts and Education occupied the library at Trent Park campus.
This building is full of books on philosophy, literature, art criticism, music and culture. These books – and the courses and departments associated with them – are severely endangered by management cuts. We are determined to preserve them.
The Campaign to Save Philosophy at Middlesex Thursday 20 May 2010, 7:30pm

Simon Critchley has a new column, The Stone, in the New York Times. He asks "What Is a Philosopher?":
Philosophy should come with the kind of health warning one finds on packs of European cigarettes: PHILOSOPHY KILLS. Here we approach the deep irony of Plato’s words. Plato’s dialogues were written after Socrates’ death. Socrates was charged with impiety towards the gods of the city and with corrupting the youth of Athens. He was obliged to speak in court in defense of these charges, to speak against the water-clock, that thief of time. He ran out of time and suffered the consequences: he was condemned to death and forced to take his own life.
A couple of generations later, during the uprisings against Macedonian rule that followed the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C.E., Alexander’s former tutor, Aristotle, escaped Athens saying, “I will not allow the Athenians to sin twice against philosophy.” From the ancient Greeks to Giordano Bruno, Spinoza, Hume and right up to the shameful lawsuit that prevented Bertrand Russell from teaching at the City College of New York in 1940 on the charge of sexual immorality and atheism, philosophy has repeatedly and persistently been identified with blasphemy against the gods, whichever gods they might be. Nothing is more common in the history of philosophy than the accusation of impiety. Because of their laughable otherworldliness and lack of respect for social convention, rank and privilege, philosophers refuse to honor the old gods and this makes them politically suspicious, even dangerous. Might such dismal things still happen in our happily enlightened age? That depends where one casts one’s eyes and how closely one looks.]

Today we reached a huge milestone in blog traffic: 500,000 visits… Comparing the same months in 2009 and 2010, we’re on pace to double our traffic this year again, and our subscriber numbers in Google Reader and Bloglines are generally on par with leading theology blogs.]

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May 20, 2010 ... Alert readers will have gnosissed that Petey makes reference to this in the Cosmobliteration section of One Cosmos:]

Philosophy moving out of the confines of universities to newspapers and blogs is certainly not a bad idea. [TNM]

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