Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Do animals think like us?

Les animaux pensent-ils comme nous? is tomorrow’s topic at the Café Philo in Bondy (I presume that’s a town) for children, 3:30 to 5:00. (Then at 7:00 for adults there’s ‘Is there no happiness but in the moment?’.)

I like the idea of kids nipping down the philosophy caff after school.

Meanwhile in Le Havre there are ‘Philopop’ sessions, the first on ‘Education and Childhood’: ‘What are the reasons why education is necessary? what should its aim be?’’

These from the notices at the end of Philosophie magazine, which I still take (see label philosophy) down the side though rarely read much of -- there’s more than I could manage monthly even if it were in English -- 98 pages this month -- and even though there are lots of witty coloured pictures. Contents include: ‘What is life?’ ‘How could Aristotle justify slavery?’ and the monthly question this issue (‘Vos Questions’) is from ‘Nicolas, 6 ans’ who asks: ‘Clocks tell us the time but they don’t give a damn about the time. (...mais le temps elles s’en fichent). Is there a time for clocks? (or, Do clocks have a time?)’

Apparently there was an hors-série issue (?special issue) on ‘Tintin in the land of the philosophers’, about which some readers have written in with learned points arising from their great ‘intérêt tintinologique’. Perhaps I'll get it.

Debates on Obama are in this issue and topics that in this country would hardly count as philosophical, but also an article and pull-out on Voltaire, stuff on dreams and on night, interviews with philosophers, an article on Locke, book reviews (a Houellebecq novel, book by Cambridge anthropologist Jack Goody attacking European ethnocentrism and a reissue of Sartre’s Sketch of a theory of the emotions).

One gets the sense that philosophy in France is broad and capacious and that the spirit it expresses is widely distributed in French society. Striking how many of the authors are teachers not in universities but in schools.

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