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A Dance with Chance – isn’t that what life is all about

May 27, 2015

Alison Waters photo

Thursday evening sitting in an exquisitely elegant and opulent 18th century inspired apartment just off Chapel Street owned by Tony Venios, I fell into conversation with two young women about philosophy. We could imagine that we were at a Paris salon in the 18th century discussing ‘The Enlightenment.’ This movement advocated rationality, as a means to establish an authoritative system of ethics, aesthetics, and knowledge and the great rarity was that it included women.

We later discussed Philosopher Heidegger assertion in ‘Being and Time‘ that our creation of ourselves in the present “is based both on our past actions and on the choices that we make while projecting ourselves into the future.” As the 18th century philosopher David Hume suggested, “we never confront ourselves directly, let alone someone else’s.” Instead “we stumble on some perception” of an inferred self” (Alison Kennedy, one of my conversationalist has an exhibition at Rubicon Gallery this week exploring some of Heidegger’s ideas)

While delicately munching delicious pink meringues and sipping French Earl Gray tea in elegant bone china cups we discussed the moral ambiguity of famous philosophers – including Heidegger who was for a time a member of the Nazi Party in the 1930s and Sartre and his fellow philosopher and companion Simone de Beauvoir

In the recent published letters between Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre there is no disguising the fact that that she ‘seduced a string of her young female philosophy students before introducing them to Sartre.’

Yet in de Beauvoir’s book ‘The Ethics of Ambiguity‘ Simone de Beauvoir argues that it is only by insisting on ‘the dignity of today’s human beings that the dignity of those to come can be secured’. Who can argue with that in the light of the refugee crisis in particular?

 

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