A Forum for and the Background of the Mediation of Dialogue in Ancient and Modern Academies

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Alkinoos Ioannidis: Rainfall

Another gem of a different genre in modern Greek music.

Αλκίνοος Ιωαννίδης released his new album (Νεροποντή), which we patiently awaited the last five years. His lyrics are more songs than poems this time (in comparison to his last works "Ανεμοδείκτης" and "Οι Περιπέτειες ενός Προσκυνητή"), his orchestration even more mature and richer in various elements. His voice can, as always, follow all rhythms, may they be rock, jazz or traditional appropriated in a deeply personal manner.
Dearest greetings to the friends in Athens who enjoyed his concert.
One piece extracted:


For the instrumentally fuller version of the same song:


Friday, 24 April 2009

Eleni Karaindrou. Dust of Time.

As we are in the field of music, let me introduce a small piece of Eleni Karaindrou's new release, which I highly recommend. The more "Greece's tenth muse" composes, the more she confirms this characterisation that Time International assigned to her. Above all, she is extremely capable of turning into music all colours and shades of nostalgia. Her collaboration with the film director Theodoros Angelopoulos has been proved very fruitful: two reasons for my modern Greek pride!



Love Minus Zero

...And for a break, updating the never out-of-date pieces (thanks Jakub!)...



Friday, 3 April 2009

Appeal to whom it may concern

Dear all,

According to my very last posts, I should be postponing my decisions on how to write about vexed issues on Platonic philosophy. But here I come, a couple of hours afterwards, so as to share my question on Plato-exegesis:

You will see that I am coming into the matter at a snail's pace. For now I am beginning with a question on method and hermeneutics rather than on content. The general background against which this question suggests itself or, to be sincere, disturbs my peace in the last days: It is often used as an argument in support of a (Plato-)interpretation that it provides economy of expression or it avoids a more complex story. The concrete context: I am learning a lot right now from Anglo-Saxon literature on the Sophist (John Ackrill, Michael Frede, G.E.L. Owen, Lesley Brown so as to mention only some of the most indeed dedicated contributors to the Sophist's minefields).

I am far from seeking an argument against this exegetical principle as I always appreciate interpreters who have a story to tell or, even better, a theory to provide. But still I am underlying the necessity of our continuous reflecting on and challenging our principles, and asking where from we approach Plato’s texts each time.

May we let Ockham rest and ask “Plato”? Even if we are not allowed to repeat Plato's written word and in this way nurture the illusion we have found Plato, let us ask the question, bearing in mind that he himself prompts us to interpret and (re)construct his solutions. Would he plead for more economical solutions rather than more complex ones? The answer I would initially tend to give is a negative one, based upon his digressions accompanied by his reflection on the proper length of argumentation and his distinction between two different kinds of measure (Plt.). Of course, it is not easy to discern how long each argument and explanation should last in each case.
On the other hand, isn't Plato the one who presents his theory of the greatest kinds as the one that should offer an answer not only to the Parmenidean ontology but also the late-learners' riddles and various sophistical paradoxes and triffles? You may say he failed and it is indeed an arduous endeavour to present that he did not. But even if he failed, he attempted to solve all these problems at once with the aid of his peirastike dialektike.
And moreover, isn't he the philosopher who provided a theory of an "Über"-science of dialectics and of two principles which prevail all parts of reality? Aristotle wanted himself to mediate between this too economical theory and Speusippus's proposal, who introduced different principles for each field of reality and thus composed its very bad tragedy (cf. Met.XII)!
Not only Cherniss praised Plato's economical theory of ideas but also the Tübingen School. Am I bringing the German School and the Anglo-Saxons closer than I should? I can reassure that provocation was not my intention.

Could you help me overcome this dilemma of mine or enrich its dialectics, and contribute to “my” Plato  perhaps with more argument?
Struggling with the Sophist in my chamber, I desperately needed some gasp for dialogue. Thank you for even listening to my question.

Yours sincerely


Thursday, 2 April 2009


While postponing decisions on philosophical (internet) writing, I would still like to talk about some more playful issues. A cine-gang is being formed in Cambridge and I am happy to be one of its members. In our attempt to go beyond, or just have a break from, Plato and other dear fellows, we end up finding ourselves caught up in discussions on whether the dialectician should be not only the best rhetorician and dramatist but also a cinema director of the same high level! Not to mention the question which ontological status we should attribute to the cinematic images: Should we degrade them into the shadows the imprisoned people watch in Plato's famous cave? Or should we allow the later Plato to draw a distinction between good and bad cinema?
We are thankful to "Arts Picturehouse" in Cambridge for screening some gems in the history of cinema. Last Sunday it was Hitchcock's "Notorious" (1946): A simple plot of a spy-thriller combined with a love-story that has a happy ending (the prince saving the princess in peril of her life). Hitchcock created his masterpiece upon a not all too complex story and so inspired the entire French nouvelle vague.
It was a rare joy to watch this film and at the same time recognize some of the mental "children" that stemmed from it. The introductory scene in "Vivre sa vie" (Godard, 1962) was not something revolutionary after all, at least had a precursor. There Godard places his protagonists with their backs against the camera and it takes quite a while till we are allowed to see them. Hitchcock had already dared to produce such an amazing effect: Grant observes the party-atmosphere in Bergman's house in the initial scene, turning his back upon us. Every great artist knows how to learn from and appropriate tradition in interesting and genuine ways. Another reason for watching this film from time to time is the way the director captures Bergman and Grant's potential and transforms them. By comparison to other more popular moments of theirs, we can very clearly see the difference. Not to mention the movement of the camera: decisively focussing and nonetheless decent, not pointing out but letting you free to draw your connections.

PS1: Francois Truffaut wrote a book about Alfred Hitchcock, which includes most valuable interviews on his films: Le cinéma selon Hitchcock (1966). The German edition is to be found in Amazon:
PPS: I happen to depart from the widespread sympathy for the film that was awarded with the Golden Palm at the Cannes Films Festival 2008 (Entre les mures/The Class). Though it is a very good documentary, I miss a more ambitious unity that any film should have, one way or another (sorry for not being sufficiently post-modern). To just reproduce reality so closely as possible cannot fulfill a film's task. Neither reality nor the art of cinema need this kind of slavish representation. After Hitchcock, everything comes to fall into its own place.