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Editorial Issue number 3 February 2018-01-28



This issue contains the third centrepiece lecture from the first volume of the Trilogy: “The World Explored, the World Suffered: The Exeter lectures”. The lecture is given by Glynn Samuels. It is an excursion into the hinterland of Religion, Philosophy and Education. Glynn fears the worst for his friend Jude Sutton whose life is spiralling out of control and he publicly reflects on the human condition in relation to the inevitable infinite suffering that surrounds it. There is no answer to such a condition and suffering except a Stoical faith that Good will somehow emerge from the vortex of chaos of a life that can so easily be thrown away. He reaches forlornly for some earthly comfort and finds it in Bach, Freud and Wittgenstein. Here is his tribute to his favourite composer:

“In this regard Wittgenstein points to the industry of Bach, one of my favorite composers, and points out the “logical” or “grammatical” relation of industry to humility and suffering. B ach could really listen to music with the ear of an exploring sufferer and produce it for the hands of suffering explorers too. I personally cannot hear what I hear in Bach in very much of our popular music. Bach in his music is like the tightrope walker w ho is so high up in our cultural heaven supported by almost nothing but a little thread which seems impossible to walk upon: and yet he is up there moving across the space of our cultural sky. It’s almost as if he has wings. This is why Bach’s music is rel igious music, ladies and gentlemen. When one reads the Bible one gets the same feeling from the way the language is used. It is used like music, coming from writers who suffer infinitely, moving across the heavens with the greatest of ease, as graceful and as purposeful as an angel: the words of Solomon, the words of Ecclesiastes may sometimes land to the sound of softly flapping angels wings, but mostly these words are like the swifts flying on their secret missions.”

The second lecture is taken from the as yet unpublished volume two of the trilogy subtitled “The Birmingham lectures”. It is a lecture given by Harry Middleton who has moved to Birmingham to lecture in Psychology. His first course is attended by Robert the protégé of Jude Sutton who died in a canal in Venice. Harry too is in mourning for his friend and has himself a history of alcohol and drug abuse. He has embraced Kant and Wittgenstein as a consequence of his friendship with Jude and says the following in his first lecture:

“But what would be an example of a psychological investigation which took into consideration a reflective philosophical approach? Toward the end of the 18th century, Kant actually produced a text book for a discipline which he termed “Anthropology”. This work was designed to facilitate the political task of preparing the citizen for a cosmopolitan existence. Philosophy, for Kant, was a cosmopolitan affair which could be characterized by 4

fundamental questions: What can I know? What should I do? What may I hope for? and What is a human being? This last question is the concern of Anthropology specifically but there will be a relation to the first three questions too. The Anthropology claims that investigations into human nature can take two forms: either physiological(what nature makes of man) or pragmatic(what man as a free acting being makes of himself or can and should make of himself). Physical anthropology is scientific and based on observation or introspection. Kant is rightly suspicious of this latter line of investigation because of the difficulties of the fact that the very act of observing changes the behavior that is observed(presumably introspection also changes the activity it is relating to). If this is correct it is an amazing indictment of the experimental psychology project that was to be launched in the next century almost a hundred years later. The freedom of the will is not a variable that can be controlled or manipulated. It is incredibly difficult if not impossible to grasp the essence of human nature. But almost paradoxically Kant does think that we can profitably pursue the line of investigation suggested by pragmatic philosophy, namely, the question of what man can or should make of himself.”

The third essay is an excerpt from a forthcoming work “The World explored, the World Suffered: An Introdution to Philosophy course”. The previous two issues of this journal dealt with Pre-Socratic Philosophy and this issue deals with Socrates and argues that the Historical Socrates exists very much as our tradition has characterised him. The Introduction will attempt to construct a thread of continuity between a number of the Great Philosophers beginning with the Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle continuing with Hume Kant Hegel and Marx and resting with Freud, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Merleau Ponty, Sartre, Arendt, and Ricouer.