Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Taste of Philosophy and # 98 Government

Yesterday I went on a one day 'Taste of Philosophy' course at London's City Lit college and was incredibly satisfied with the experience.
The course ran from 10:30 to 16:30 which seemed to be a good length for the contents and was really well managed. As well as considering some of the big topics we had a chance to very briefly think about some of the big modern figures, those we were introduced to were Noam Chomsky (Language), René Descartes (Mind- Body Problem) Jeremy Bentham (Utilitarianism) and Friedrich Nietzsche (of Superman  fame).
Venue for 'Taste of Philosophy'
For me a highlight was coming to see what (some of) the fuss about Nietzsche was, seems the 'God is dead Man' is lionised by philosophers to a certain extent because he exemplifies how many philosophers see their ideal self. The  facilitator of the course (a most excellent Scott Biagi) postulated Mary Bale (the cat in the bin woman) as a possible 'Superman/Oberman' and the idea of Mick Philpotts as an alternative proposed by one of the group  somewhat deflated many  'Superman' desires.

Also was very interested to see the talking parrot (Alex experiment of the delightfully named Dr. Irene Pepperberg) and reflect on the mind that this might indicate (does he 'speak'?)
(The field work with Chimpanzees is pretty amazing too -see Washoe).

All in all I'd thoroughly recommend this day, good value at £38, and gives the opportunity to throw around terms like Metaphysics existentialism etc.   and a chance to meet interesting people who are interested in the big ideas too.

Public Art Square the Block

Block Caption
Near the course venue just in Kingsway was a feature of a building that slightly fascinated me. This example of public art was commissioned by the LSE and subverts things (of course).

Big Idea 98 is Government

Progressing along from State and Politics we unsurprisingly encounter idea 98 as Government.
Crofton describes this as a mechanism to control individuals and society often but not exclusively by laws that are enforced (by the state).
There have been (and are) several forms of government these include:

Monarchy - Kings and Queens run things
Tyranny - bad people lead here
Democracy - Some say the UK has this with our voting and suchlike
Oligarchy - as applied to rich Russians living in London
Aristocracy - the toffs are in charge but it actually refers to 'Rule by the best' and was whatc Aristotle thought should happen - and in his case would be Philosophers.

Perhaps worse of all is the concept of Theocracy where religious zealots run the show - Iran might be considered an example of this