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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.

Jacques Ranciére – the philosopher of equality

It was about time that someone restored equality to its rightful place in the constellation of philosophical concepts, after decades of the valorisation of “difference”…

Know how to dare!

In Commonwealth (2009) Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, in their criticism of what they call the “republic of property”, and en route to the conceptualisation…

Rocking the cultures of the aftermath

Muse is a rock band with a difference. That was true of Queen as well, and it is no accident that Muse counts this redoubtable…

Tracking the aftermath of the financial crisis

In Aftermath: The Cultures of the Economic Crisis (Oxford, 2012), Manuel Castells, Joôa CaraÇa, Gustavo Cardoso (editors) and a number of colleagues from the social…

What ‘wisdom’?

Can humanity today show itself capable of developing a way of life that may be called, against all odds, one marked by WISDOM? This seems…

Homo and Gyna Consumens

One of the most perspicacious social theorists of our time, Zygmunt Bauman, has given us a compelling, if not wholly original sketch of the contemporary…

What is enlightenment?

The question has sometimes been asked (and answered) in philosophy, whether the historical Enlightenment has been sustained. Adorno and Horkheimer, for instance – in Dialectic…

Validating Ian Parker’s work

The following is an excerpt (posted here with editor Grahame Hayes’ permission) from a longer review I wrote for Psychology in Society 41 of Ian…