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Archive for May, 2010

(For those needing background information on what’s been happening at Middlesex, please go here.)

A new petition aimed at reversing the shameful decision to close Middlesex’s philosophy department has been composed. The petition, which is authored by Todd May and John Protevi, is a pledge for an academic boycott of Middlesex unless the philosophy department is fully reinstated. Please take a moment to sign the petition, and include some location or institutional affiliation so that an international outcry can be registered.

You can find the petition here.

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I’m reading Kierkegaard’s excellent Two Ages right now, a book in which Kierkegaard offers an aesthetic interpretation of the work of Danish novelist Thomasine Gyllembourg (the book is at first a review of her work Two Ages, but also reviews other works of hers). After the review, Kierkegaard turns to critique the present age, which is what most commentators (including myself) read the book for.

I’ve just finished a part where Kierkegaard describes a fight that he witnessed, and I find it particularly humorous and difficult to imagine, especially the part where Kierkegaard describes his intervention.

I once witnessed a fight in which three men shamefully mistreated a fourth. The crowd watched with indignation; their hostile muttering began to spur them to action: some of the crowd converged on one of the assailants and threw him down, etc. The avengers thereby exemplified the same law as the assailants. If I may be permitted to interject my own incidental person, I will finish the story. I approached one of the avengers and attempted to explain dialectically the inconsistency of their behavior, but apparently it was quite impossible for him to engage in anything like that, and he merely repeated: “He had it coming. Such a scoundrel deserves three against one.” This borders on the comic, especially for the person who did not witness the beginning and then heard one man say of the other that he (the lone man) was three against one, and heard it the very moment when the opposite was the case–when there were three against him. In the first situation there was the comedy of contradiction in the same sense as “when the watchman said to a solitary person: Please break it up! Disperse!” The second situation had the comedy of self-contradiction. I gathered, however, that it was probably best for me to surrender all hope of ending this scepticism lest it be continued against me.

Kierkegaard, Two Ages (Princeton UP), pg 87.

Perhaps in the coming years we will see a new kind of superhero, who explains (dialectically) the inconsistency of bad guys’ actions.

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It’d be hard to believe if the administration at Middlesex University wasn’t so predictable in their pattern of cowardly bullying. Today, Profs Peter Hallward and Peter Osbourne were suspended along with some students due to activities in the recent occupation at Middlesex. A clear pattern of cowardly deceit and strongarming is emerging from the administration, who initially called a meeting with students to discuss the decision only to cancel at the last minute with no notice. Later, misinformation was given to the media about protesters causing broken bones, and now, in a move that should incite all of us committed to academic freedom, the administration has suspended two Professors from having entering the premises of Middlesex or having contact with other faculty or students without the permission of Ed Esche.

Sadly, Mr. Esche asked for no one’s permission when he set out on a path of neoliberal destruction against his own University. He also did not seek permission from anyone to cancel the meeting that he called.

The assault on education must be resisted.

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I’ll probably be here for the foreseeable future. It’s been a whirlwind lately with graduation from college and various transitions. I’ll be preparing to move as soon as I can find a place, and doing some leisure reading and prep for Kierkegaard camp this summer. Blogging will probably be sparse for a while, as I’m generally trying to relax and recollect as I move into a new stage in life.

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