Philosophy in Practice | Cape Town

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No us and them

  • Posted by Helen Douglas
  • On March 30, 2023
There is no us and them, only us. The white supremacy thing, the patriarchy thing, the class thing: binary structures of inequality and violence. The antidote? Affirming equality already here and getting ourselves together, mixing it up, messing with it. Laugh at it, blow kisses. These structures depend on division, difference. They need walls. They’re […]
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Making sense

  • Posted by Helen Douglas
  • On November 17, 2020
Like consciousness is always consciousness of something (if you believe Husserl), making sense is always to someone, to some particular first-person singular. It’s interior, private, personal. That makes sense to me. But I have to ask you, Does this make sense to you?
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underdog schmunderdog

  • Posted by Helen Douglas
  • On August 25, 2018
Beating the opponent at his own game. The pluck and courage of the underdog to outwit and overcome. Why does this strike everyone (I’m talking to you, Western culture) as a good trope? Underdog becomes top dog, it’s still a dog.
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equivocation, ambivalence

  • Posted by Helen Douglas
  • On August 17, 2018
These “mixed feelings” of yours. If you have no reason to feel the way you do, and yet you do, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no reason (you are irrational), or that you’re wrong to feel that way (you are mistaken), or that you should feel otherwise (you are dissolute).
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QA 58. “But it doesn’t work like that!”

  • Posted by Helen Douglas
  • On May 12, 2017
Annals of philosophical counselling/practice with others “But it doesn’t work like that!” I say this in response to some proposed scheme or strategy of yours. I mean that, in terms of what you want to achieve, what you are doing seems either futile or malicious because you have a mistaken view about what’s going on. […]
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QA 56. Four touchstones for thinking about peace

  • Posted by Helen Douglas
  • On July 18, 2016
For Nelson Mandela’s birthday, and because I’m reading Thula Simpson’s Umkhonto We Sizwe: The ANC’s Armed Struggle, thinking about and respecting the lives of everyone who stood against apartheid, those whose names are known or unknown, remembered or forgotten. Thinking that the aim of the struggle was peace, and how we’re not there yet. Thinking […]
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QA 52. The real world keeps us honest

  • Posted by Helen Douglas
  • On January 18, 2015
Still thinking about the need for a new mode of thinking… What is the proper relation between philosophy and science now? Last year, citing Stephen (Philosophy-is-Dead) Hawking and Martin Heidegger, I wrote about “the end of philosophy” in the triumph of science. Given the massive productivity of scientific theory and technology and a world in […]
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QA 51. Optical illusions, the political economy of

  • Posted by Helen Douglas
  • On December 1, 2014
One image that can be seen in two distinct ways, but never both at once. Faces or a vase? Duck or rabbit? Crone or maiden? Someone shows you: See, the old woman’s chin is the young woman’s throat! All of a sudden, you do see. You start to switch the two back and forth, grinning like […]
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(QA 48 revisited.) conception, in other words

  • Posted by Helen Douglas
  • On June 1, 2014
Heidegger says you must be born again. No, that was Jesus. Even Heidegger, then. As philosophy will be born again from a thinking mother. Philosophy’s first birth was attended by the son of a midwife. He himself practiced husbandry. A ranchero. Pedagod who knew which theoria should be brought to bear and which aborted. A miscarriage, God’s […]
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QA 48. Think, again (The end of philosophy)

  • Posted by Helen Douglas
  • On May 30, 2014
In 2010, Stephen Hawking pronounced philosophy dead: “Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.” But he had not kept up with Martin Heidegger, who already said this in 1964, in “The end of philosophy and […]
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