Words&Statistics – “Fact” and post-truths

What happened in 1965? After that date, the word ‘fact’ has decreasingly been used in books. But how come? Did the ‘post-truth’ world start not with social media, but maybe with the rise of relativism and existentialism?

A reflection by Nicole des Bouvrie.

Philosophers deal with words, often in etymological sense, in that they try to understand the meaning of a concept by looking at the history of a word, how it was used, what roots it has. But there is another way in which words are interesting, also for a philosopher: quantitatively. Continue reading “Words&Statistics – “Fact” and post-truths”

Affirmative action & the continuation of sexual difference

One of the fundamental errors in this method is that is continues the definition of members of the disadvantaged group based on them not-belonging to the norm.

One of the ways to overcome the inequality between men and women (and also regarding other minorities, but I will focus on gender here), is the idea of affirmative action – a type of discrimination that favors members of a disadvantaged group. The idea is that this would lead to a reality in which there will be more women in higher positions, in order to stop men from being promoted instead of women.

There are quite some problems with this approach. And one of the fundamental errors in this method is that is continues the definition of members of the disadvantaged group based on them not-belonging to the norm.  Continue reading “Affirmative action & the continuation of sexual difference”

Can women think?

Wednesday, November 30th 2016, I’ll give a talk at the University of Maryland about the question “Can women think?”

Why are there so few women philosophers? In most fields of the humanities there are about the same number of women as men, yet the number of women in philosophy looks more like those in mathematics and physics. Why is that? Is it because women cannot think? Is it simply because, as Hegel puts it: “Women can, of course, be educated, but their minds are not adapted to the higher sciences, philosophy, or certain of the arts …. The difference between man and woman is the same as between animal and plant.” (Hegel, Philosophy of Right, 1820, par. 166, note)

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Continue reading “Can women think?”

The Burden of the Freedom to Philosophise

“…freedom to philosophise can not only be granted without injury to Piety and the Peace of the Commonwealth, but that the Peace of the Commonwealth and Piety are endangered by the suppression of the freedom.”

The chairperson of the Dutch parliament has some books standing on her desk, an old Wikipedia article informed me. Three books that symbolize – well, something. An importance, a specific guidance, a reminder of the standards we set ourselves? The million-dollar-question is of course: which books are these? Continue reading “The Burden of the Freedom to Philosophise”

Why again do we want this ‘freedom of speech’? Or: reading Spinoza

Watching the news, reading social media contributions, I more and more come to the conclusion that it might be time to end our persistent liking of this concept, the ideal of freedom of speech. In a world where opinions create problems, perhaps it is time to stop having opinions altogether. Especially when having an opinion is seen as ‘doing something’, as ‘contributing something’ to society. Thus, the main problem I have with the ‘freedom of opinion’ is that is seems to warrant a liberty through which people feel entitled to say whatever they want, even if it hurts, even if it confirms prejudice and ignorance.

When we take into account that we are mostly limited in our thinking by the world in which we find ourselves, then we must conclude that our opinions can only be a confirmation of who we already are, of what we already know.

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Continue reading “Why again do we want this ‘freedom of speech’? Or: reading Spinoza”

Prologue to publishing the dissertation

It is because of the inner calling to reach for a new that is unrelated to the present, for that which lies beyond the realm of the possible, that I started out on this path and will continue to do so, in order to search for some form of truth while facing evidence that truth does not exist, to search for meaning in a meaningless world, to search for change in a world that is nothing more than eternal repetition.

At some point you’re ready to start working on it. The publication of what you’ve worked at for so many years. But rereading the prologue, I feel I’m finally ready to part with it. It has taken some time, some distance, it has taken writing another book in the meantime. But I’m ready to look into the long and arduous road of publishing The necessity of the impossible…

Here the prologue for your consideration: (And publishers are welcome, of course!)

“By choosing to write about the desire to reach the impossible and the closely related illusion of change, I have chosen to fail. To fail in life. And synonymously to fail in thinking.

Continue reading “Prologue to publishing the dissertation”

Podcast – “Don’t know. Ask!”

For those interested to know (hear) a little bit about what I think about now and again… I was interviewed and the resulting podcast by Nadja Schnetzler is now online!

For those interested to know (hear) a little bit about what I think about now and again… I was interviewed and the resulting podcast by Nadja Schnetzler is now online!

Some of the topics discussed:
What are good ‪#‎questions‬? True friendship is with those who are different from yourself. How we don’t see the other for what they have to offer us: their otherness. The importance of boring questions. Collaboration and Bahá’í consultation. And about the need for humbleness.

This link takes you directly to the podcast: http://word-and-deed.org/…/collaboration-booster-episode-4…/

To create something new we need the radical other