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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.

Naomi Klein on disaster capitalism

Naomi Klein’s recently published book The Shock Doctrine is itself a shocking revelation of the cynicism underpinning the relentless manner in which what she calls…

Private healthcare, or health-needs exploitation?

The recent announcement by private healthcare groups (Netcare, Medi-Clinic and others) that their ward and theatre fees would rise considerably (between 8% and 33%) this…

Another step into the 21st century

Towards the end of 1999, Time magazine published a special edition that looked ahead to the new millennium. Among others, it contained an article that…

Theory and practice

In a previous posting (The critical task of universities) I wrote about, among other things, the society-critical task of universities, as well as the place…

The critical task of universities

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the educational task of universities is fundamentally twofold: first, to train and prepare students for a specific…

Alea iacta est …

Now that the die has been cast — a predictable roll of the dice, mind you — all South Africans who care about their and…

What makes a leader?

Leadership is an elusive quality, associated, at times, with different, even contradictory qualities. In a patriarchal context, people often seem to attribute personal traits such…

Neo-what?

I was quite surprised that so many commentators on my previous piece “A shift of emphasis?” focused, to a large extent, not on my argument…

A shift of emphasis?

The neoliberal economic option, in conjunction with a liberal-democratic political practice, appears to have been the direction in which the ANC government under the leadership…