What is Stand Up Philosophy

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This blog charts my attempts, in whatever way I can, and whenever I can, and as honestly as possible, to stand up for thinking - real thinking, whether in philosophy or politics, or maths - Because thinking needs standing up for!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Crystalizing the Probelm

There is nothing like philosophy to make one rethink a problem or at least understand it in a different light. Take this piece on Heidegger. It takes the form of an ad-lib lecture, to a mixed audience at the end of night of poetry. The aim of the piece is to pose a problem, or better still shine a different light on a problem we all know so well. It introduces the idea of Being (as opposed to ideas such as identity or the Human Soul) and shows how that idea in itself  creates a modern imbalance in our understand of our own lived time. But also how that imbalance itself creates problems of responsibility to the future. It finally poses a partial solution to that problem, a solution that is at best partial and problematic.
 This second set of problems, are highlight about half way through, where I link arguments from Being and Time back to Fascism (an old argument). The point being then that the 'solution' to the problem of responsibility, like the original Heideggerian version, is at risk from fascism and eventual irrelevancy. This second problem is deliberately left implicit (it was the end of the evening and I did not want to depress anyone), and yet it makes the end this piece more open than perhaps the audience would have expected.
 The experience therefore allows one to understand a problem, poses a solution and then queries that solution, and does so in under  five minutes, and while leaving a lot room of arguments and different reactions. In short it is the kind of high velocity that philosophy does so well.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Standing up for Freedom - the incite remix!

  'Matthew Hammond jumps about the stage making theatre out of all those books you meant to read but never got around to...'

Where does the idea of freedom come from?
   It is after all, very much the word for our time. We are told, in the West, that we are the 'Free world', we feel ourselves to be free, and more than that, we expect, or demand, that others whatever the culture or nation, desire our kind of freedom. 'Freedom' has become then not only a political  maxim, but also the defining factor of identity for people and nations. So much so, that the history of our times, feels itself to be, at our time, the very history of freedom, and its triumph.
   And yet how did this happen? How did freedom reach this pivotal role in our minds and our world? What great dramas and great minds created this idea for our times? In a unique one man spoken word show,  I aim to take you back through the two thousand year history of the idea of freedom. Recreating with a mixture of intense poetic monologues, humourous tales, and dramatic stories, the minds and the moments that gave us our freedom, that made us the individuals we are today.
   History and thought has seldom felt so fun and engaging; But at the same moment current debates, and modern problems are seen not merely as are they in the here and now, but also as they are part of a  two millennia adventure, right into the heart of being human.

To see more about standup philosophy, see my video at: http://youtu.be/4hGZulSP4Yw

To see more about this show - see this promo at: http://youtu.be/APLah_qlWa8