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Bert Olivier

Posts published by “Bert Olivier”

As an undergraduate student, Bert Olivier discovered Philosophy more or less by accident, but has never regretted it. Because Bert knew very little, Philosophy turned out to be right up his alley, as it were, because of Socrates's teaching, that the only thing we know with certainty, is how little we know. Armed with this 'docta ignorantia', Bert set out to teach students the value of questioning, and even found out that one could write cogently about it, which he did during the 1980s and '90s on a variety of subjects, including an opposition to apartheid. In addition to Philosophy, he has been teaching and writing on his other great loves, namely, nature, culture, the arts, architecture and literature. In the face of the many irrational actions on the part of people, and wanting to understand these, later on he branched out into Psychoanalysis and Social Theory as well, and because Philosophy cultivates in one a strong sense of justice, he has more recently been harnessing what little knowledge he has in intellectual opposition to the injustices brought about by the dominant economic system today, to wit, neoliberal capitalism. His motto is taken from Immanuel Kant's work: 'Sapere aude!' ('Dare to think for yourself!') In 2012 Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University conferred a Distinguished Professorship on him. Bert is attached to the University of the Free State as Honorary Professor of Philosophy.

South Africa reboot?

In the course of all the hype around “Rhodes must fall”, I started wondering about the logic underpinning the direction in which it has been…

Goodbye Leonard Nimoy, hello Mr Spock!

When Leonard Nimoy, chiefly known as Mr Spock in Star Trek, one of the most famous and long-running television sci-fi series, created by Gene Roddenberry,…

What ‘war’ means today

When picking up Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Multitude – War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (Penguin, 2006), again, in the light of…

Our oceans are dying

When even a mainstream magazine such as TIME highlights the fact that the world’s oceans are in imminent peril, alarm bells should be ringing loud…

Teaching and learning in the ‘network society’

Teaching at university in the early 21st century requires of lecturers that they take the “lifeworld” in which students live seriously. This lifeworld comprises what…

Nietzsche, Heidegger and creativity

In the course of preparing for a doctoral seminar on Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger, I was struck, once again, by the creative…