This video was made over two decades ago, and was shown last week at Bob’s memorial service. Now it makes its debut on YouTube.
Archive for the 'academics' Category
On the occasion of the awarding of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, I’m reproducing over the fold a chunk of an old lecture I gave in January 2010 on the eighteenth-century debate about perpetual peace and European Union…
[it's quite long, for which, apologies, but I have made it a bit more bearable with some hyperlinks and a picture of a cat]
On Friday and Saturday, 30 November and 1 December 2012, the Philosophy Department of the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) will host a workshop entitled “Meet the Author: Christopher Brooke’s Philosophic Pride“.
This interdisciplinary workshop is of interest for philosophers and historians working on the 17th and 18th centuries. It is coorganised by the Universities of Berne (Department of General and Historical Educational Science), Lausanne (Department of Philosophy), and Fribourg (Department of Philosophy).
The workshop centers on themes from Christopher Brooke’s Philosophic Pride: Stoicism and Political Thought from Lipsius to Rousseau (Princeton 2012), with quite some interest in Rousseau.
The workshop language is English. Participation is free, but please register by 23 November.
For registration, further information and a detailed program please contact the coordinator in Fribourg: christian.maurer(at)unifr.ch; or visit the conference website.
Two new small things just published.
One is a review of Jan-Werner Müller’s recent book, Contesting Democracy for Renewal (which has a splendid new editor, Ben Jackson) and which you can get as a pdf here.
The other is a few pages of Self-Evident Truths?, edited by (the equally splendid) Kate E. Tunstall, which presents the published versions of the 2010 Amnesty Lectures. (I wasn’t an Amnesty Lecturer, obvs, but they asked me to write a short response to James Tully.)
From this week’s TLS:
It is one of the many strengths of Christopher Brooke’s fascinating new study, Philosophic Pride, that he is aware of the multifarious nature of his subject; he knows that he is dealing with a fluid cluster of ideas and themes, not as a unitary philosophical movement. Not that he has set out, in any case, to write a history of (Neo-)Stoicism; his task is both narrower and harder than that. The subject of this book is the relationship between Stoicism and early modern political thought; since there was scarcely such a thing as a worked-out body of Stoic political theory (unless we count Seneca’s fanciful portrayal of the monarchical ruler – Nero, of all people – extending the empire of reason), this means that an already elusive subject is considered here from a variety of oblique angles…
It’s a long review, too, filling all of p. 5.
Some of you will have seen this before–it appeared on Facebook a while ago–but I think it deserves a second outing: this is–I am afraid to say–Ptolemy’s reaction to my book, Philosophic Pride.
It’s been charitably suggested that he isn’t so much yawning as roaring his approval, but when the photo was taken the only vocalisation that Ptolemy could really produce was a still-surprisingly-kittenish “mew!” (though he now has a noise which I first thought meant, “I am dissatisfied”, but I now realise means, quite specifically, “I am disappointed in you”).
One of my minor scholarly ambitions is one day to write a short history of big-haired lady Classicists, from the seventeenth century onwards. But one of the reasons that this may be a more challenging exercise that it sounds is that it is sometimes hard to tell whether lady Classicists have big hair or not, given their fondness for being painted wearing large military helmets in the style of the Roman goddess Minerva.
I mentioned this to someone in Celtic Studies the other day, and she observed that lady Celticists in centuries gone by also liked to pose for portraits in flowing Celtic costumes. So there may be a significant comparative dimension to make the project a bit more complicated and interesting than I’d initially anticipated.
But I was interested in the remark about lady Celticists for another reason, which is that I’m a first cousin, six times removed, of Charlotte Brooke–not the international fetish model, but the distinguished eighteenth-century lady Celticist. And so the question immediately poses itself: did she have big hair?
Well, it seems that it’s quite a tricky question. I can’t find any images of her in any of the places you might expect to find one–in the catalogue of the National Portrait Gallery, on her Wikipedia page, in the ODNB, or in the front matter of reprints of her major work. And I’m told that although there was a likeness made of her in the eighteenth century, no-one seems to know what happened to it, whether it survived–or, crucially, whether it recorded a lady Celticist with big hair or not. So the mystery persists.
Anyway: all that is really just a long and frivolous introduction to say that while I was scratching around looking for Charlotte Brooke-related material on the web–and finding along the way that she has her own roundabout in Co. Longford!–I learned that there’s a gorgeous new-ish edition of her major work, Reliques of Irish Poetry (1789), edited by Lesa Ni Mhunghaile, and a copy arrived in the post the other day. And it’s very good indeed: really well done, and I’m going to learn a lot from it.
As well as my own book, Philosophic Pride, the same press (Princeton) on the same day (8 April) will be publishing a posthumous volume by Robert Wokler, Rousseau, the Age of Enlightenment, and their Legacies, for which I wrote the introduction. (And a very fine collection it is, too.) This is just to note that the publisher has posted a pdf of the first chapter on the website, and since it’s the chapter on orang-utans, I thought I’d copy the link here.
A call for papers / poster contributions has gone out for a session of the ‘Deer and People – Past, Present and Future’ conference to be held at the University of Lincoln between 8-11 September 2011. Further details, including submission, for this session can be found at the following conference weblink.
Deer are prime architects of landscape and environment, with the capacity to fundamentally alter and shape their surroundings. For millennia, humans have manipulated the landscape via their associations with deer – introducing them to some areas or excluding them from others. The effects of these actions may be viewed in positive or negative terms but, the results can be so dramatic as to leave lasting traces in the landscape, for instance in medieval forests and deer parks – iconic features that highlight both the cultural and ecological importance of deer to human societies.
Deer are important to human perceptions of landscape, not simply because of the physical changes that they can produce but by influencing the ways which people (from different social and cultural groups) experience, move through and think about landscape. This much is clear from artistic representations of deer and landscape which carry far greater significance than simply images of physical geography and ecosystems. This session welcomes papers, from a variety of perspectives, that seek to explore the various ways in which deer and people shape the world around us today, in the past, or the implications this special relationship might have for our future landscapes.
From A Proposal for Expanding the Dialogue around the Ideas of Muammar Qadhafi [pdf available through this page]:
2: Additional Expert Visits The project will include further visits of key experts for direct conversations with Muammar Qadhafi. For example:
• Benjamin Barber will return to clarify several questions from previous conversations with Muammar Qadhafi, including the problems with the Western term ‘civil society’ which suggests a separate, autonomous sphere separate from the sovereignty of the people.
• Lord Anthony Giddens will visit to deepen understanding of the merits and problems of direct democracy vs. representative democracy
• Frank Fukuyama remains very enthusiastic about the project and could be invited for a future visit to talk further about the challenges of direct democracy and Libya’s approach.
• We will also arrange additional visits by new experts. We have had positive preliminary conversations with Professor Cass Sunstein (Constitutional Advisor to Barack Obama) and others.
From an essay by Raymond Geuss on Richard Rorty, of which I was reminded the other day:
The very idea that the United States was “special” has always seemed to me patently absurd, and the idea that in its present, any of its past, or any of its likely future configurations it was in any way exemplary, a form of gross narcissistic self-deception which was not transformed into something laudable by virtue of being embedded in a highly sophisticated theory which purported to show that ethnocentrism was in a philosophically deep sense unavoidable. I remain very grateful to my Catholic upbringing and education for giving me relative immunity to nationalism. In the 1950s, the nuns who taught me from age five to twelve were virtually all Irish or Irish-American with sentimental attachment to certain elements of Celtic folklore, but they made sure to inculcate into us that the only serious human society was the Church which was an explicitly international organization. The mass, in the international language, Latin, was the same everywhere; the religious orders were international. This absence of national limitation was something very much to be cherished. “Catholica” in the phrase “[credo in] unam, sanctam, catholicam, et apostolicam ecclesiam” should, we were told, be written with a lower-case, not an upper-case, initial because it was not in the first instance part of the proper name of the church, but an adjective meaning “universal,” and this universality was one of the most important “marks of the true Church.” The Head of the Church, to be sure, and Vicar of Christ on earth, was in fact (at that time) always an Italian, but that was for contingent and insignificant reasons. The reason most commonly cited by these nuns was that, as Bishop of Rome, the Pope had to live in the “Eternal City,” but only an Italian could stand to live in Rome: it was hot, noisy, and overcrowded, and the people there ate spaghetti for dinner everyday rather than proper food, i.e., potatoes, so it would be too great a sacrifice to expect someone who had not grown up in Italy to tolerate life there. I clearly remember being unconvinced by this argument, thinking it set inappropriately low standards of self-sacrifice for the higher clergy; a genuinely saintly character should be able to put up even with pasta for lunch and dinner every day. I have since myself adopted this diet for long periods of time without thinking it gave me any claim on the Papacy.
One of the things I’ve been finishing off this Summer is the book project that’s been kicking around for far too long, Philosophic Pride: Stoicism and the Politics of Self-Love from Lipsius to Rousseau.
And for entertainment and instruction, here’s a slightly-squished Wordle of the full manuscript, so you can see what it’s about. (Click on it for the full-sized, less-squished version.) I like Wordles.
My goodness. Cambridge gave Harrison Birtwistle an honorary degree. Laudatio follows; translation over the fold.
artifex quondam ingenio fabrae artis celeberrimus carcerem inextricabilem aedificauit in quo reginae taurique progenies absconderetur. Daedalus, ut ait poeta,
ponit opus turbatque notas et lumina flexa
ducit in errorem uariarum ambage uiarum.
nunc adstat Daedalus alter musicus, qui labyrinthum fecit non ut in latebris ageret Minotaurus, sed ut in scaenam produceretur. nunc adstat alter Naso, qui cuiusque aetatis fabellas enarrat: en prodit nunc gibber ille parricida cui nomen non minus quam nasum dedit pullus gallinaceus; iam temporis flumine refluente Orphea miramur iterum iterumque perire; iam cothurnis indutis regem magnum simiarum puellae alterius amore uix feliciore flagrare. operibus ingeniose factis ingeniose nomina imponit; et quis nostrum molis Cretensis non reminiscitur cum ille sua describit, aut cum audimus modos immutatos iterari duplicarique,
haud secus ac plateas necnon fora lata uiator
ambiguis lustrat gradibus repetitque petitque
cursus et cunctam peragrat pedis inscius urbem,
et nunc ad tectum, nunc ad loca uisa reuersus
illa recognoscit quae iam nouisse putabat.
quod omnibus artificiis utatur quae recentioris aetatis ingenia produxerint, sunt qui uerum artis musicae iudicium sibi solis adrogantibus ea quae facit opera faciem haud minus immanem quam taurum Cnosium praebere iudicent. audire modo uellent! sed nec tamen qui Panos thorubo acclamabant eum exsibilare poterant, neque umquam haec uox singularis scit conticescere: ‘id quod possum facio,’ inquit. ‘nil est ultra.’
dignissime domine, Domine Cancellarie, et tota academia, praesento uobis Equitem Auratum inter Comites Honoratissimos adscriptum, Musices Regiae Academiae Sodalem, Collegi Regalis apud Londinienses in nomine Henrici Purcell Modos Faciendi Professorem Emeritum, HARRISON BIRTWISTLE, ut honoris causa habeat titulum gradus Doctoris in Musica.