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

Monday, 11 May 2009

Back to Business: The Phaedrus in Cambridge

Against the background of catchy sounds and rhythms, it is time to return to the business (so ἐπιτήδευμα) of philosophy. As I promised, here is a picture I can draw of the past Colloquium on the Phaedrus:
Plato has taught us to philosophize on types and thoughts rather than on persons. I will thus allow myself to avoid any references to living scholars. We should express though our special thanks to Jenny Bryan and Helen van Noorden for organizing this meeting.

So as to sum up the moral of the conference in my own words and according to my understanding: There are no absolute boundaries between the hermeneutics on the different sides of the Channel, although there are still proponents of two-world theories or rather prejudices. As I happen to be neither harmonist nor harmonizer, I do not want to level any differences. I am just asserting that this conference may have been held in Germany as well. The reading sessions were, as expected, very fruitful, on some occassions even stronger than given papers.
Schleiermacher was present, as always in current Anglo-Saxon context. Once more it proved to be problematic and intriguing to integrate the relation of philia and eros as well as mania into their cultural environment and to fathom the relation between rhetoric and dialectics.
Surprisingly for me, even one kind of Derrida's reading was represented. I remind that a number of academics from Cambridge University tried to stop the granting of his Cambridge doctoral degree (1992). They were out-numbered when it was put to a vote, which happens very rarely indeed in such a procedure. As far as interesting political gestures concern, it seems to me that the following question suggests itself: Are we able to, and, if we are, should we put Dadaism into a museum? The answer I am inclined to give is a negative one I am afraid.

The weather is all Greek to me for the time being and the Sun-days spent in the famous orchard in Grantchester are recreative...



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