Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. Everything has been figured out, except how to live. One always dies too soon or too late. And yet, life is there, finished. The line is drawn, and it must all be added up. You are nothing other than your life. There is only one day left, always starting over. It is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk. We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are, that is the fact. When you live alone you no longer know what it is to tell a story: the plausible disappears at the same time as the friends. You let events flow by too.Suddenly you see people appear who speak and then go away; you plunge into stories of which you can't make head or tail. You'd make a terrible witness. It is true that people who live in society have learned how to see themselves in mirrors as they appear to their friends. Luckily, I only have a few...

Dr Shaw is a lecturer in Further Education at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk. She also offers philosophy courses at the School of Continuing Education, Lifelong learning, at the University of Liverpool. In 2015, she has completed her Doctorate in philosophy with a focus on existentialism, the equilibrium doctrine and narrative. She has worked as a teacher of English and Comparative literature and Philosophy at The American University in Cairo, Egypt where she also obtained her BA (Hons). Dr Shaw has an MA in Philosophy and Literature from the University of East Anglia where she also taught on a number of humanities subjects. Whilst working in North Wales in Further education, she gained a PGCE aimed at teaching in FE and HE sectors. Dr Shaw moved to Liverpool in 2010 where she now resides.

Interests: Existentialism, Narrative, Comparative Literature, Feminist Thought, Public Speaking, Arab Existentialism, Philosophy of Education, Art, Music, Film and Theatre, Greek Mythology, Existential counsellor and psychotherapist.


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

World Philosophies: University of Hull's 2nd Annual Philosophy Graduate Conference

On 20th and 21st June 2013 I have had the pleasure of attending and presenting a paper at University of Hull's 2nd Annual Philosophy Graduate Conference titled "World Philosophies", held at Wilberforce Building. The conference which was organised by Postgraduate student, Joshua Gray, was with no doubt a success. The aim of the conference was to allow analytic philosophy to engage with other philosophies from around the world. Papers presented varied both in style and tradition which highlighted the need for dialogue between analytic and continental philosophy.

The issues which the conference highlighted were firstly, that post-graduate students today should have an understanding of where their own research stand within the wider philosophical canon. Keynote speaker, Dr Katherine Morris (Oxford) questioned "who is to say which philosopher is within such canon." It was evident that everyone present can sense that there was indeed a "gulf between Western and non-Western philosophies", but the reasons for it were yet to be discovered and, hopefully, overcome in the coming years. On the brighter side, some of the attendees presentations had underlying links and shared some common traits. It was a step into welcoming other philosophies, keeping an open mind and showing appreciation to speakers' efforts.

From  my perspective, the conference also highlighted a void- if not flaws- within the British academic system- or more specifically within the study of philosophy. Naturally, not all attendees of the conference share the same educational or intellectual background. And if the conference is open to the general public, then students should be aware that their work must be accessible to in a way which would make sense to all and would touch upon important issues in regards to one's humanity. After all, this is what makes philosophy appealing in the first place; that is the fact that it talks about us, our feelings, our existence and how we cope with our surroundings. We are approaching an era where people have started losing the will to read complicated texts or be patient enough to untangle its contents. In the past, philosophers have managed to get away with, for instance, lousy writing style, jargon, complicated or borrowed words. But today... we write for "the people" not "at" the people. I, thus, predict that the ordinary language philosopher will be, within the next couple of years, the public's popular choice.

Another aspect that the conference highlighted is the language in which postgraduates students use today to engage with one another or with the public. There is no doubt that one always feels he/she is under scrutiny from the "other". All I could think of at the time, when someone complained that he was terrified that a specific person would be the first to "pick" or "question" aspects of the content of the presentation, if not the validity or importance of the work, is to say "relax & who cares". Of course I have reached this attitude after experiencing the same feelings on numerous occasions and telling myself instead "prepare to wow them" rather than "prepare to be attacked" and worrying that my presentation is an opportunity for others to find fault in. It is our inner projection that drives us forward, our passion and belief in what we do is the key to our success. Perhaps the one thing that we, postgraduates, are not taught is how to look after our well being and to believe in ourselves. It is not a battle of words or who is right or wrong here, or even who is more deserving of our appreciation than another. The reason why the Greeks sat around a table all together during a symposium, all equal, was to show exactly that; solidarity, equality and appreciation or finding worth in one another. So why is it becoming so difficult today?

All in all, I had a great time meeting a lot of people who I am hopefully going to keep in touch with....As for my research, it's only the beginning of a life time passion so bring it on!

No comments:

Post a Comment