Dear All, After 65 sessions of philosophy, I guess we can start again, that is, really BEGIN with the purest of the pure of philosophical works, Plato’s Parminedes. For a comprehensive summary, see:http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-parmenides/and Jowett translation, see:http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/parmenides.html If you are a PhD candidate and you are looking for an argument, or wondering how we can understand anythingentirely, then you might try reading the Parminedes. I’ve tried many times to read this dialogue straight through but it gives me a throbbing headache within a few pages. I understand completely Parminedes’ (the old great philosopher in the dialogue) reluctance to engage in dialectic because as an old man, he thought it was just too exhausting a mental exercise.
But aside from the mental gymnastics—and it is, of all the Platonic dialogues except perhaps the Theaetetus—the toughest to comprehend, it provides a climb up a mountain with sheer drops into the abyss, free climbs to peaks of consciousness which are few and far between in the history of world literature.
One way philosophers have reacted to the Parminedes was to build the neo-Platonists mystery schools of the second century AD – see for example, Plotinus’ eternal Enneads.
But modern philosophers have usually tried to evade the Parminedes or have found solace in attempting to negate his most profound premises. Example, Badiou claims that his philosophy in Being & Event is an extension of Parminedes by negating Parminedes’ central position which is:
That no argument whatsoever can define the One (and for this reason, the One exists) …kinda.
If this sounds like no way to argue for the truth, then you probably have the right attitude to enter the Parminedes. All great philosophers in the Western tradition have bowed to the Parminedes. This session is to try to find out why.
Afterwards we will head to a nice place in the area for tasty food and drinks.
Ps.: The event will take place at the usual time from 6-8pm in room 5.16, 309 Regent Street, University of Westminster.