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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.

Is capitalism destroying our planet? (3)

*What is therefore new in Kovel’s book (The Enemy of Nature), in contrast to the many books devoted to the ecological crisis today, is the…

Is capitalism destroying our planet? (2)

Throughout this paper* I have used the term “capital” broadly in accordance with Marxist usage to denote the process by which money (as signifier of…

Is capitalism destroying our planet?

Before answering this question, it is necessary to give some attention to the widely agreed upon evidence that it has been happening for some time,…

Technology, selective globalisation and control

How prominently does “technology transfer” to developing nations feature in the programme of globalisation? And what impact does it have outside of the West? In…

Inside the machine – taking stock of technology today

In an essay titled “Looking backward, looking forward” — in the volume, Globalisation, Technology and Philosophy (Tabachnik and Koivukoski, editors; SUNY, 2004) — Andrew Feenberg…

Germain, Baudrillard and Virilio on technology

I recently came across a wonderful essay by Gilbert Germain — in a book entitled Globalisation, technology and philosophy — on “the human condition in…

Lessons from Mexico’s drug wars

The drug wars, or massacres, in Mexico seem interminable, and irresolvable. The subject of a recent (11 July) TIME magazine’s cover story, details about the…

Desire, democracy and Deleuze/Guattari

Escaping for a while from the suffocating Turkish summer in a beautifully carpeted teashop in Istanbul near the Hagia Sophia, we marvel at the unbelievable…

Turkish delight

If at times, as Heidegger remarked, one forgets to be astonished at the very existence of the world, the the pulsating energy and sensory richness…

The growing resistance to capitalist work

Here in Thessaloniki, Greece, where the international ISTP (International Society for Theoretical Psychology) Conference has just ended, delegates seemed strangely reluctant to abandon the discussions…