Wednesday, September 26

what is is?

Last night, Judy-Bob dragged me to a biweekly session of the Dallas Philosopher's Forum which meets at a local IHOP. My last exposure to philosophy was a Philosophy 101 class I took to satisfy a freshman college requirement. I decided not to pursue this field then, and now - 30 years later - I remember why. To document last night's excursion, I made a few notes:
  1. IHOP doesn't tolerate meetings well - they had no way to independently turn off music in the meeting room without shutting it down for those who dined in the main room

  2. this group has been meeting for many years; they take a summer vacation partly because "it's too hot to meet"

  3. $4/meeting or $25/6 months (a $48 value - WOW!!!)

  4. tonight ~25 people (including 6 women)

  5. The lecturer was a professor from the University of Dallas, whose topic was "Religion and Aesthetics"
    "Both religion and aesthetics follow from the bipolarity of human existence, grounded in the sensory and ontologically referred to the Whole. Religions provide the umbrella of meaning by showing how we fit into the Whole. From ontological distance, we can learn to appreciate sensory surface aesthetically either by itself or as mediating wider meaning. The interplay between the sensory and the space of meaning is where art occurs. We will examine a few specimens of how religion and aesthetics interpenetrate in the work of art."
  6. it was a discussion of art, without any visual aids - he had trouble with a photocopier, apparently

  7. the microphone had an apparent "speaker filter" which amplified others' voices, but not his

  8. the overhead projecter (remember those?) pointed to the ceiling during most of the lecture

  9. the speaker read his ~20 page paper, but encountered noticable delays when changing pages. Didn't he number them?

  10. Wikipedia has lots of pages on philosophy, according to a pre-lecture discussion we overheard. I confirmed that later - see Wikipedia's philosophy page for example

  11. most used word: ontological - 31 times

  12. least used word: teleological - zero (I remembered it from my Philosophy 101 class)

  13. most unexpected repetition: putative - used 5+ times

  14. NeoPlatanism ("the synthesis of Christianity and Platonism into a single system")

  15. Unexpected outburst of the evening
    • Speaker:"we are conceived in (something) of animal lust"
    • YEAH!! shouts a woman

  16. Philosophers referenced: Martin Heidegger; Jean-Paul Sartre; Augustine; Aristotle; Søren Kierkegaard; Friedrich Nietzsche; Socrates; Aquinas ("a philosopher and theologian in the scholastic tradition"); Herocles of Ephesus

  17. Literary references: Walter Pater ("English essayist and art and literary critic"); William Blake ("an English poet, visionary, painter, and printmaker"); Plato's Republic

  18. Stuff it would've been handy to know before the lecture: Apollonian and Dionysian; Byzantine; Pythagoreanism; Galen; The Whore of Babylon

  19. Art references: Piet Mondrian; Matthias Grünewald's "The Crucifixion"; LeRoy Neiman

  20. Music references: Richard Wagner; Socrates and "the study of harmonics"

  21. Speaker's big laugh for the evening: "you can't stop rock and roll" related to the Berlin Wall (this had the crowd rolling on the floor)

  22. Q & A

    • q- "where would you publish this paper?"
      a- (baffled)

    • q- what do you mean by "heart of hearts?"
      a- "fundamental orientation of self to the whole"
    • discussion of "inate sense of perfection"
    • "notion of a heart" - metaphoric analysis
    • ancient iconoclasts and destruction of religious symbols
    • European cathedrals as a "portal to the divine"
    • observation: philosophers can't do basic math (4/3 v 3/4) or standup comedy
    • visible/intelligible dichotomy

Conclusion: the chicken sandwich at IHOP was edible.

1 comment:

Judy Bob said...

Ladies and Gents,

Due to some diligent work by dedicated volunteers, the Dallas Philosopher's Forum will return this Tuesday January 27, 2009.

We will be holding meetings at the I-Hop on Beltline Rd in Addison.
This I-Hop is located between Midway and Marsh. See our website for full location information.

Let's make it a great turnout so we can have the Forum return with a bang.

The next meeting of the Dallas Philosopher's Forum will be held:
January 27, 2009, 7:30 PM.

Wish you were here so I could drag you kicking and kvetching just one more time!