Sunday, 3 February 2008

The argument continued...

Once again, I was going to place my views towards our discussion in a comment, but ended up feeling like I had too much to say just for a comment. It's a symptomatic thing of people like me who struggle to shut up. I would like to say briefly that I'm finding this discussion really useful and interesting; the kind of discussion I came to uni for, but haven't had enough of. Once again, I think the blog is proving to be a terrific idea - without it I doubt we would be able to discuss such important questions with such clarity and frequency of response. Thanks to everyone for this.

Anyway, back to the mini fiery argument. I am always guilty of seeking abstract discussion of a philosophical nature. That said, I don't want to avoid the obvious need for historical argument of the type demonstrated in Friday's seminar. Like I said, I think that the approaches suggested by Sarah in response to a question about education show that there is room for all of our ideas. Some people are perhaps more interested in gritty historical and contextual information, and some people like me (and Toby, perhaps?) are inclined towards philosophically adding to or reflecting on the wider debates which More, Swift, and all of our writers were talking about, and taking advantage of the ambiguity which surrounds such a complex topic as utopia. I'm not suggesting that either approach is better, or that one ought to be ignored. We perhaps just need to make sure that we devote fair consideration to each approach in each seminar?

Essentially, I like talking about the ideas themselves, just as much as the history of them (possibly more, even, but I'm wary that I'm doing a history degree, not a philosophy one). I don't wish to enforce this on anyone, but like I say, I might always be guilty of wanting to steer the debate in a philosophical direction. I would be quite interested to know what people have made of my comments in seminars so far. Too philosophical? Not historically-informed enough? Can't remember what I said or got lost in my poor elocution? Maybe I could then increase my usefulness to you guys? This is our last module; I just want to make the most of it.

At any rate, thanks for giving me the opportunity to discuss our views towards the seminars and the best way to approach a comparative study of utopias. I very much appreciate it.

Olly.

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