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Sydney’s Philosophy in the Café - Philo Agora

Every Second Tuesday at 7:30 pm
Fair Trade Coffee Company
33 Glebe Point Road, Glebe


What's coming up.....

July 8   Kees Bakhuzen:   Montaigne’s essay:   To study philosophy is to learn how to die

Since the dawn of mankind the unavoidable truth of our mortality has been an essential topic in all philosophies and religions and as such in art in all its diversity. How to deal with this truth? Which is the best way to face the fact that our life will end one day? Do we give in with full force to all the pleasures life has to offer or do we choose to dedicate our life to contemplation in an effort to overcome the unavoidable end by making our enemy into our friend? Obviously a balance of both is the most logical answer, but how do we decide what is the right balance?
Echoing Cicero's famous saying that 'to philosophize is to learn how to die', French 16th century philosopher Michel de Montaigne dedicated one of his most famous, interesting and beautiful Essays to exactly this topic, by using Cicero's quote as its title. Kees Bakhuyzen takes a closer look at what Montaigne tries to tell the reader in this essay by placing it in a wider context. Don't expect a perfect answer; the joy in thinking about and discussing this subject lies in the search for that perfect answer itself.

After studying languages at the University of Amsterdam, Kees was a teacher and journalist for twelve years before moving to Sydney in 2002. He is currently looking for ways to get back into journalism.

July 22   James Franklin: The Philosophy of Mathematics (and Infinity)

Philosophers have been fascinated by mathematics because it is the gold standard of knowledge - it's proved correct and stays that way. But what is it actually about - if biology is about life, what aspects of the world does mathematics study? Maybe it's just a language or method? The talk gives a realist view of mathematics as about a real subject matter, with examples from two areas: symmetry and infinity.

James Franklin is a professor in mathematics at the University of NSW. He is involved in the Restraint Project, a study of the virtue of self-restraint funded by the Australian Research Council. He spoke last year at Philo Agora on the development of an Australian school of Philosophy with particular reference to Sydney University. 

August 5   Stephen Juan: Philosophers Behaving Badly

Based on Rodgers and Thompson’s book of this name, Stephen briefly explores the lives of eight well known philosophers whose personal lives were, to say the least, inconsistent with and inferior to their philosophies.  Are great ideas diminished by the less than great people who formulate them? Heidegger and Rousseau along with Nietzsche, Sartre, Russell, Wittgenstein, Foucault, Schopenhauer all raise questions on the rationality of their thought.
Stephen is an anthropologist of human development and the Ashley Montagu Fellow for the Public Understanding of Human Sciences in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney

August  19  Caroline Brem: The Philosophy of Education 

Ivan Illich first told us that education and schooling were very different, one from the other. The children of the poor are schooled while the children of the upper classes – and yes, Australia is not a classless society – are educated. The talk will examine education/ schooling from the viewpoint of rights/responsibilities on the parts of both the parents and the children.
Caroline is a long time education junkie and a writer who enjoys doing research.  A regular attendee at Philosophy Café, she is currently seeking a supervisor for a PhD.

September 2  Derek Maitland: Philosophy and the Future 

Further talks scheduled until the end of the year, so keep in touch...