Not School Proposals for January

Merleau-Ponty! Buber! Lacan! Physics! Aesthetics! The Residents! Derrida! Deleuze! Searle! Pynchon! DeLillo!

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The holidays have definitely made it more difficult for me at least to be on top of my Not School activities, but nonetheless the new month is immanent, and I thought I should convey to those not currently monitoring the Citizens' Forum what new groups look to be on the horizon:

1. Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception. Intrigued yet unsatisfied by our treatment of M-P on the episode last year? Here's your chance to take a giant leap into his major work Phenomenology of Perception, and see if it fulfills the promise of its hype. The group promises to be a multi-month endeavor, but that doesn't mean you have to commit to more than the first month. Note that the group leader for this (Will Yate) has also proposed one on Husserl, though he hasn't yet gotten any takers.

2. Martin Buber's I and Thou (led by me). This will be PEL's episode #71 (which will be released in Feb.), so be prepared for once! This is a fine bit of existentialism which, unlike Sarte's and Camus's, supports a buxom ethics and is not hostile towards religion (even while it seems not Jedaism-centric in the way that Kierkegaard relies exclusively on Christianity).

3. The Lacanian Subject by Bruce Fink (led by Wes). For our Lacan episode (which MAY come out in March), we'll likely be reading this book along with a bit of actual Lacan, as the book is a very clear explication of this difficult thinker. It's about 150 pages long, to be read by the end of Jan. (with discussion as we go) and a Skype discussion to be recorded in early to mid-Feb.

4. Topics in the Philosophy of Physics, starting in January with a short reading: “Can We Dissolve Physical Entities into Mathematical Structures?” by Cambridge trained Chinese-American philosopher of physics Tian Yu Cao, from 2003. The arguments focus on the interpretation of and relationships between: physical entities, mathematical structures, and ontological primacy in physical theories. This will likely be part of an ongoing exploration in this area.

5. The Music of the Residents: OK, I've just proposed this as a lark. The Residents are an avante garde yet lowbrow group that I like that's been putting out weird music with often philosophical librettos since the early 70s. If you want a study group that doesn't require you to do any more than look at some YouTube videos over the next four weeks and spout off some theories of what art is, this is a good one for you... I'm hoping this will ramp up into a full philosophy of art group in the coming months. Here's a taste:

OK, beyond this point we're into speculation and into ongoing group activities:

-The Philosophy and Literature group will be starting another book soon; I believe it's between Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo right now, but you can join in and have your vote counted.
-The Deleuze group has assigned Ch. 3 of A Thousand Plateaus to be read by Jan. 1.
-The Philosophy of Mind group is continuing through Jan. to read John Searle's "Mind: A Brief Introduction."
-The Derrida group looks like it will be continuing on into chapter 2 of Writing and Difference.
-The "What Is Philosophy?" group focusing on friendly introductory readings has not that I've seen proposed no activity for January, but I'm betting someone will step up as the new group leader to make something happen, as there's always demand in this area.

No doubt we'll see some more activity and proposals over the coming week as people recover from the holidays. Members should keep an eye on the Citizens' Forum. Non-members should sign up now!


  1. Profile photo of Will Yate says

    Sadly I can’t make the time for Buber, but I just wanted to commend you for introducing the phrase “buxom ethics” into the language. Like Shakespeare’s juiciest, it has that timeless quality that makes you wonder how the language ever got on without it. Hat’s off!

  2. Glen says

    Holy balls that’s a lot of continental-ish stuff. Good for you although Lacan is a nightmare from hell.
    Searle is fun to read if only because he writes like he talks (aka a bit of an arrogant prick that you respect anyways).

    Any chance you will ever read someone really fucked up like Luce Irigary? Had to to read her for my continental class. Lot’s of weird stuff about the phallus worship and how it pertains to female liberation. It’s actually quite torturous but fun to decode and the constant references to genitalia make it something of a classic, particularly if you try to slog through it with a bit of jack daniels and a coka cola chaser.


    • Genevieve says

      Make the proposal, Glen. I would totally join an Irigaray drinking game group. Lets read and discuss some feminist theory and every time someone says phallus, mother, virgin, prostitute, or Patriarchy we will all take a shot!

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