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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.

The normalisation of the unthinkable

We live in apocalyptic times. This is the considered belief of an extraordinary contemporary philosopher, who also phrases it as Living in the End Times…

Women and unconventional morality

The implications of the heading, above, are not as simple as it may appear. I can imagine most feminists immediately reminding me that adopting a…

Mirror wars

The crime novel I referred to in my last post (The diversity of individuals), Leif Persson’s Between Summer’s Longing and Winter’s End) is a real…

The diversity of individuals

Some individuals are gregarious, and others are solitary. It is probably also the case that there is a group in-between these extremes – those people…

Working class hero

If one takes a good look at John Lennon’s song Working Class Hero it must dawn on you sooner or later that, just like the…

Are we facing an ethical vacuum today?

In Living in the End Times (Verso, 2010, p. 324), the man who has been described as the “most dangerous philosopher in the West” (New…