Stoicon-x, a convention for stoics and people interested in stoicism, is taking place in Melbourne on 30 October 2021.
The event features a keynote from former NSW Premier Bob Carr, while Deakin’s A/Prof. Matthew Sharpe will be interviewing Australian tennis great Pat Cash.
Stoicon-x is designed for people interested in taking their first steps on a journey to a Stoic life or for those who are already living a Stoic life and want to delve deeper into how and why it’s a valid philosophy for life in the unfolding world of covid.
The Ancient Greek philosophy has seen a revival in the last decade, which has rapidly accelerated during the pandemic. Is Stoicism, with its focus on emotional regulation, acceptance and self-awareness, the key to greater resilience during lockdown?
The program can be downloaded here, via the ABC Listen app, or via your preferred podcast platform.
In this first ever introduction to philosophy as a way of life in the Western tradition, Matthew Sharpe and Michael
Ure take us through the history of the idea from Socrates and Plato, via the medievals, Renaissance and Enlightenment thinkers, to Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, Foucault and Hadot. They examine the kinds of practical exercises each thinker recommended to transform their philosophy into manners of living.
Philosophy as a Way of Life also examines the recent resurgence of thinking about philosophy as a practical, lived reality and why this ancient tradition still has so much relevance and power in the contemporary world.
How has the proliferating use of bibliometrics as a means to evaluate academic research shaped academic subjectivity? How are bibliometrics being used as a new technology of neoliberal, biopolitical governmentality, alongside the host of other ‘metrics’ (led by biometrics) that have emerged in the last two decades? What of most importance has been lost in the use of marginalia by scholars as a personal and political act? Does the production of neoliberal subjectivity and the power of bibliopolitics within academia exaserbate the two tier system of tenured and adjunct labor in higher education? Are there ways to resist the bibliometric regime and its multifarious form of surveillance and subjectivity formation? If so, what channels and modes of organizing should we be thinking about to resist our current trajectory?
Congratulations to Dr Andrew Kirkpatrick, who graduated with his PhD on 22 April after the successful examination of his thesis, “Whitehead and Merleau-Ponty: Toward a Process Phenomenology.” Well done Andy!
A/Prof. Patrick Stokes has just written, produced and presented a radio documentary, ‘The Lost Boys of Daylesford,’ for ABC Radio National’s ‘The History Listen’ program:
On a clear, cold Sunday in June 1867, three little boys wandered away from their home near the town of Daylesford, on Dja Dja Wurrung country in central Victoria. Over the next six weeks the boys’ story gripped the colony, and made newspaper headlines around the world. Over a century later, the case continues to capture the imagination of locals and visitors to the region. Philosopher Patrick Stokes heads to Daylesford to find out why the lost children story has such enduring and haunting resonance.
A/Prof Matthew Sharpe will be presenting a University of Sydney Critical Antiquities Workshop on ‘Lucian (or Lycinus) on how (not) to choose (a) Philosophy’, Friday 5 March 11am-12:30pm AEDST:
Lucian’s Hermotimus has attracted comparatively little critical attention. Yet it is one of Lucian’s longer texts, and of all of his texts, the closest in form to a Platonic, Socratic dialogue. Hermotimus, an aspiring Stoic, converses with the more sceptical Lycinus, who affects concern to understand how Hermotimus came to choose this philosophical way of life, and not others. Why did Hermotimus become a Stoic, rather than an Epicurean, or Platonist, etc.? If he knew enough to choose a philosophy wisely, wouldn’t that only be possible if he were already wise? He would then not need a philosophy at all. But if he didn’t know enough to be sure the Stoic path was the true way to wisdom, won’t his decision to become a Stoic have been little more than a stab in the dark? Philosophy will hence not be meaningfully different from a religion or superstition. By posing this dilemma, I will contend, this artful dialogue asks questions which remain relevant for young students today, as they are confronted with competing philosophical and theoretical perspectives which bid for their allegiance. In this way, it echoes and aims to complement Plato’s educational reflections, as certain signs in the text flag. The dialogue in addition poses dilemmas also for us as teachers, in differentiating between philosophical training and indoctrination to one or other sectarian perspective. If there is no good reason to become a Platonist rather than a Bourdieuian, a Camusian rather than a Agambenian, etc., or if any such reasons can only emerge having studied for many years in one perspective or another, aren’t we forced to admit that the love of wisdom is groundless, founded on an arbitrary leap of faith, perhaps nudged along by charismatic teachers? I argue that at several moments, Lucian’s dialogue suggests a different possibility, but one which turns upon a self-reflective turn from content to form: to learn to philosophise in a way which is distinguishable from what we would call ‘blind faith’ is to learn to be able to ask questions, and above all, to learn to question the epistemic bases of one’s own beliefs, and even to be courageous enough to retract them in the face of rebuttal. But this is uncomfortable, unglamorous, and social factors also push against it. So, it is telling that Hermotimus ends the dialogue by wishing to leave philosophising behind altogether.
ABSTRACT: Enactivism has greatly benefitted contemporary philosophy by demonstrating that the traditional intellectualist ‘act-content’ model of intentionality is simply insufficient, and showing how minds may be built from world-involving bodily habits. Many enactivists have assumed that this must entail non-representationalism concerning at least basic minds. Here I argue that such anti-intellectualism is overly constraining, and not necessary. I sketch an alternative enactivism which draws on Peirce’s pragmatic semiotics, and understands signs as habits whose connections with rich schemas of possible experience render them subject to increasing degrees of self-control. The talk’s key innovation is to align this cyclical process of habit cultivation with Peirce’s representationalist icon-index-symbol distinction, in a manner which I will explain.