NEW SCARE CITY

It's a fictional streetscape we wander, here, a metropolis whose buildings, boulevards, and back alleys are in a constant state of flux. This is every place, and yet, no place at all - a city of dreams and a dream of a city.

Here, we explore the life and work of Ivan Illich and his circle of collaborators. There's no comprehensive index to the articles published, but we invite you to use the Search box, to the left, and to explore the Archive links that appear at the bottom of each page. Comments are welcomed.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ivan Illich and Nietzsche

A professor of philosophy at Fordham University has written a paper with the title "Education and Exemplars: On Learning to Doubt the Overman." Babette Babich opens her paper so:

In what follows I treat Ivan Illich’s Deschooling Society as a general prelude to a discussion of Nietzsche’s philosophical engagement with his classical philology, a profession which he argued to be essentially pedagogical, one of a piece with cultural formation, understood as Nietzsche liked to put it as actively “getting” oneself a culture. Such cultivation is antithetical to the “schooling” Illich criticizes. I then take this educational point further by exploring the notion of the exemplar for Nietzsche as he analyses it in “Schopenhauer as Educator.” I conclude with a critical reading (or philologically contextual “de-schooling”) of the standard understanding of the meaning, the who, of Nietzsche’s Übermensch.

We won't try to summarize the paper as we wouldn't be able to do it justice. Twenty-six pages long, it appears mainly to discuss Nietzsche, whose philosophy, we gather, is one of Prof. Babich's specialties. (Among other things, this interest has led her to look closely at a certain YouTube video of KD Lang singing Leonard Cohen's song "Hallelujah"; in an hour-long, supremely erudite and slightly mischievous video available for viewing at the Fordham website, she discusses the YouTube phenomenon in general, this video in particular, and Lang's art and eroticism. The text of this lecture is available here, with many footnotes.)



Prof. Babich's paper about Illich and Nietzsche appears as a chapter in a book, Education, Dialogue and Hermeneutics, by a Paul Fairfield ($130 at Amazon), and also is available in PDF format off the Web.

The professor describes herself as "a friend of the late Ivan Illich (of the telephone and letter variety: we never met in person), … I find his views unsettling. I have yet to recover from the shock of reading (just reading) H2O and the Waters of Forgetfulness and I have yet to stop teaching it in my classes on technology and environmental ethics just because of its uncanny rightness (and for the same disturbing reasons)."

Prof. Babich has written another paper, "Nietzsche's Post-Human Imperative: On the "All-too-Human" Dream of Transhumanism," which appeared in The Agonist, a journal about Nietzsche. It also refers to Illich and his thoughts on education.

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Moi

Santa Rosa, California, United States
Writer, photographer, music fan; father and husband living in northern Calif.