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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.

On UFOs and (psychogenic) perception

The recent declassification of previously secret documents by the FBI, and the availability of these on their so-called Vault website, have given the public access…

Shoot the boer: Is meaning ever conclusive?

In the course of reading some of the reports on Julius Malema’s hate speech trial, it struck me that there was something that was woefully…

Some lessons for ecological sustainability

Last night I was privileged to listen to naturalist and film-maker David Attenborough (famous brother of the equally famous Richard Attenborough) who is visiting South…

David Harvey on the recent financial crisis

In his recent book, The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism (2010), David Harvey — Distinguished Professor at City University of New York…

The tsunami in Japan: Reality versus simulation

In an age when sophisticated new technologies enable engineers, architects, medical doctors, physicists and molecular biologists to simulate virtually everything that their respective disciplines pertain…

Do you get me?

Protest on the part of the citizens of a country is a way of making their displeasure or grievances known to governing authorities, whether these…

Our society of constant (self-) evaluation

If anyone ever wondered what Foucault’s description of modern, “disciplined” society as one structured by “hierarchical observation”, “normalising judgement” and the “examination” amounts to in…

Egypt: The crisis of modernity all over again?

It is possible to place the incipient revolution in Egypt in a wider historical and philosophical framework — one that is very illuminating regarding its…