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[Sep. 7th, 2006|05:11 pm]
Philosophical Parables
A course of eight evening classes, organised by the South Place Ethical Society (Humanist educational charity), presented by David Murray.
Beginning 10 October 2006
We will consider some of the most powerful images in European philosophy, as a way of thinking about linked themes around the nature of knowledge and of modernity.
The focus will not be on textual exposition, but on using the images as a basis for discussion and exploration. Though there will be some connection between sessions each one will be free-standing, in that it can be followed on its own.
PLATO’s Cave     10 October
This powerful image of the non-philosophical vision as chained to an illusory world of images functioned to legitimate a despotic state. But can we use it to critique a media-saturated world?
HUME’s ‘All Things Are Loose And Separate’     17 October
It’s hard to overestimate the extent to which this Enlightenment figure articulates the most unreflective everyday commonsense. But is it really surface all the way down?
HEGEL’s Owl Of Minerva     24 October
For Hegel, philosophy can only arise when the societal order which is its object has taken final shape. Does philosophy have any leverage on the world? Is history at an end?
MARX’s ‘All That Is Solid Melts Into Air’     31 October
This remarkable image, in his paen to the revolutionary nature of the business-class, pictures capitalism as swept by waves of ‘creative destruction’. And yet … it seems so solid: which is the actuality?
ENGELS’ Escalator     7 November
Progress is not what it used to be … i.e. is not at all. The idea that history has a direction - or is even intelligible - is now routinely dissed by historians and philosophers. Is there anything at all to be saved from this notion?
DARWIN’s Entangled Bank     14 November
The Origin ends with an intricate picture of immense organic complexity generated by the operation of a single principle. This picture has been taken as a model for a societal totality. But is there such a thing?
WITTGENSTEIN’s Ladder     21 November
At the close of one of the strangest works of philosophy its author, like a Zen master, urges us to bin it once we have understood it. How come this seeming rigorous philosophy licences mysticism?
WEBER’s ‘Iron Cage’     28 November
Is Alasdair McIntyre correct in his assessment of Weber as providing the common-sense of our epoch by coupling technological reason with an irrational choice of ends?
Classes begin on Tuesday, 10 October 2006.
Meet @ 18:30 for prompt 19:00 start. Classes finish @ 21:00.
The Library, Conway Hall Humanist Centre, Red Lion Sq, London WC1.
A text for each class will be available at the preceding one. That for the first one will be available at the discussion blog for the course, here:
Further information from: 07985 ******
or www.ethicalsoc.org.uk