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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.

Criminality of the brutal variety

By the term, ‘criminality’, I don’t simply mean the perpetration of crime, or criminal acts; I have in mind something far more fundamental, even primal,…

Education policy and the future of water

On Tuesday, I watched a video on the deteriorating water situation in the Arabic state of Jordan, which foregrounded to me the imperative, that countries…

Why women suffer in our society

I have written about the position of women in our patriarchal society from various perspectives on this site several times before – in the context…

The resurgence of anti-Semitism

The spectre of anti-Semitism is once again stalking us, according to Vivienne Walt (TIME, July 1 2019, p. 33-37). Unbelievable, one might exclaim. Not really,…