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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.

Is there a need for cyber-ethics?

The recent spate of events where governments, magazine-employees and various other social actors have acted in ways that have invited spirited debate about the justifiability…

Was Heidegger right about technology?

When reading a text by Martin Heidegger, who died in 1976 at age 86, one is usually – provided one reads it carefully and attentively…

The network: Towards a new way of life

In his insightful study of ancient philosophy, Philosophy as a Way of Life (Blackwell, 1995), Pierre Hadot disabuses one of the notion that philosophy was…

Climate change: Red alert in the Anthropocene

It is fitting that “Anthropocene”, the term coined just more than ten years ago by Paul Crutzen, a Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist, denotes the new…

Capitalism, calling a spade a spade

Today I had the privilege of listening to two of the best conference keynote addresses I have heard at an international conference for a long…

Cyber warfare

In The Information Bomb (Verso, 2005, p. 62), Paul Virilio says the following: “ ‘He who knows everything fears nothing,’ claimed Joseph Paul Goebbels not…

When fact imitates fiction: The Snowden case

In the history of (especially moral) philosophy, a recurrent theme involves the tension between the affirmation of so-called “free will” on the part of humans,…

The cult of the toned female body

When Gilles Deleuze claimed that what Foucault had theorised as the panoptical, carceral society of disciplined, docile bodies — economically productive and politically impotent —…

The recurring historical struggle for freedom

Several things that I experienced recently contributed to a renewed reflection, on my part, on the meaning of freedom. Much has been written about it,…