Tuesday, March 29, 2016

3 My recent Prague venture

On the 25th of February I wrote to Dr Jakub Jirsa, the Director of the Institute for Philosophy and Religious Studies at the Faculty of Philosophy at Charles University:

‘Yesterday I put on my website www.juliustomin.org two essays: ‘Plato’s defence of the Forms in the Parmenides’ and ‘’Plato and Dionysius’. Both can be found under the heading Texty v češtině (Texts in Czech). In both these essays I view Plato in a new way, and as such they need to be discussed. Therefore, I am addressing you with a request to allow me to present these two essays at your Institute. It would be great if you or another Platonic scholar opposed my views on Plato in discussions which I presume will follow my presentations. I hope you will respond positively to my request.’

Dr Jirsa replied: ‘Thank you for your offer. I have decided not to use it.’

I responded: ‘May I ask you to justify your decision?’

To this request I received no answer; I spent the rest of my days in Prague addressing Czech academics, beginning with the Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and the Rector of Charles University, asking them to support me in my two requests addressed to Dr Jirsa, but to no avail. Before returning to England I wrote a short piece ‘K zamyšlení’ (‘For thought’, in English perhaps ‘Something to think about’) in which I wrote:

‘If you look at my website, you will find that I have devoted a number of years to Plato, Aristotle, and the whole cultural heritage of Ancient Greece. I can see that it is in a sense unfair to ask philosophers at the Institute for Philosophy and Religious Studies who have so much else to think about – their careers, grants, writing and publishing, research stays at foreign universities – to discuss Plato and Aristotle with someone who devoted almost fifty years of intensive work to the subject. But is it fair to the students of Charles University to deprive them of the possibility to attend and take part in such an event?’

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