Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Philosophy Politics


Understanding how philosophy in Australia hangs together is like trying to understand a parasite. Universities are its' chief source of food, and so the mould grows thick in these areas. There is little cross-pollination, and each university has its own culture. (ha!)

Then, there are a couple of independant groups, colonies whose survival depends on distributed volunteer support in order to continue.

So who's who? Well, rumor has it that ANU in Canberra is the colony which is thriving the strongest, but that does little good to people entrenched elsewhere around the country. The other major centers are Monash Uni, Latrobe Uni and Melbourne Uni. I have never had an email response from anyone outside those three institutions, but judging by the websites, the University of Queensland must also have some philosophers in there someplace. Latrobe Uni seems to have by far the most active and inclusive student society.

Within Melbourne Uni, the philosophy department is a fractured and injured beast. As seems to be always the case, the students mostly get the short end of the stick, becoming jaded quickly when their ambitions to take philosophy further become frustrated by a stagnated society. They split broadly into the Analytics (currently in power) and the Continentals (have formed a splinter group called MSCP). The tensions are heightened, because the Analytics have all the jobs. Once you graduate from your honours year, you basically get forced into a situation where you have to fight for what little work there is available, and end up feeling bitter towards the establishment.

Out in the real world, there are a couple of societies. The smallest and newest are me and my friends, but we form a very vibrant group. Then there are the Existentialists, who hold to some very strange beliefs, but take great pleasure in doing so. There is an Objectivist society which might well be thought of as a kind of modern Stonemason's guild if you wanted to be satirical, and hold to the values of rationality and science. I don't think they have a secret handshake.

There us a UK mob with a Melbourne division who have semi-regular meetups in Border's Cafe.

That'll do as a very brief tour of duty. I may follow up on some of the specific groups in more detail over the coming days. Please feel free to correct me.



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10/29/2014 01:24:00 AM  

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